press release
Published: 15 February 2019

University of Surrey awarded £900,000 to develop impact of social science research

By Laura Butler

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has announced that the University of Surrey is one of 26 successful research organisations across the UK to be awarded funding for an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA).


This ESRC IAA fund will see the University receive £900,000 to spend on generating more ambitious and valuable impacts from its portfolio of prestigious social science research.

The funding, to be spent over the next four years, will support University researchers and Post Graduate Research students to develop more effective collaborations with businesses, policy-makers and other industry sector groups, increasing the contribution of Surrey social science research to solving societal and economic challenges.

Enabling this closer relationship between the University and these external partners will also lead to more effective co-creation of future research, helping ensure a more direct response to current and future societal needs, for example, by exploring the implications of ethics and future AI technologies or through investigating how travellers can be ‘nudged’ to better protect the privacy of their data.

The IAA funds will be invested across a specially designed programme of coordinated activities designed to provide a step-change to Surrey’s impact generation and knowledge exchange activities. This will be led by Professor Graham Miller, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Professor of Sustainability in Business in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, who said:

“Building on the excellence of Surrey’s existing social science research, this is a brilliant opportunity to transform the visibility and stature of our social science impact, and for our academics to develop research that will benefit society and shape the future.”

Researchers will be able to bid for funds to support exploring new partnerships with businesses and other organisations, and to enable Surrey research to make a difference in society. The IAA will also provide a suite of training and networking activities to participants both within and outside the University, to build capacity to ensure the future sustainability of social science research, knowledge exchange and impact. The result will be better networks for delivering impact and to support future outstanding research achievements.

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