ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize

Contents

Previous winners and finalists: 2020

Winners

Outstanding societal impact

Winner: Professor Yvonne Jewkes, University of Bath

Project: Redesigning prisons to foster rehabilitation and hope

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

Research into the impact of penal architecture on prisoners and prison staff has changed thinking on custodial design and led to investment in more progressive and innovative prisons in:

  • the UK
  • the Republic of Ireland
  • Australia
  • New Zealand.

Outstanding business and enterprise impact

Winner: Professor Arjan Verschoor and Professor Ben D’Exelle, University of East Anglia

Project: Designing insurance to give smallholders a safe way out of poverty

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

Research into how Uganda’s three million smallholder farmers perceive risk led to the development of a new drought insurance scheme, subsidised by the Ugandan government.

The scheme now protects more than 225,000 smallholder farmers against the risks to their livelihoods posed by drought, pests and poor quality seed. It also boosts productivity by providing smallholders with the confidence to invest in their farms.

Outstanding international impact

Winner: Ending the Reading Wars

Team application:

  • Professor Kathy Rastle, Royal Holloway University of London
  • Professor Kate Nation, University of Oxford
  • Professor Anne Castles, Macquarie University.

Project: Employing the science of reading to improve literacy worldwide

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

Research outlining the science behind how children learn to read is transforming the way reading is taught in classrooms around the world. It is helping potentially millions of children improve their life chances through better literacy skills.

Outstanding public policy impact

Winner: ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton

Team application:

  • Professor Jane Falkingham
  • Professor Maria Evandrou
  • Professor Ann Berrington
  • Professor Jakub Bijak
  • Professor Corrado Giulietti
  • Professor Peter Smith
  • Professor Athina Vlachantoni
  • Professor Jackline Wahba
  • Teresa McGowan
  • Becki Dey.

Project: Improving data: strengthening the evidence base for policy

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

The ESRC Centre for Population Change, through collaboration with the Office for National Statistics, has improved the accuracy of current and future population estimates for the UK. This provides policymakers, planners and businesses with better evidence on which to build policy and plan public services as well as accurate data for business decisions.

Panel’s choice

Winner: Emla Fitzsimons and Praveetha Patalay, UCL

Project: Adolescent mental health: improving young people’s lives using evidence from national cohort data

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

An estimated 16% of all 14-year-olds in the UK in 2015 suffered from mental ill-health. Research which identified the scale of mental ill-health among the UK’s adolescents, and studied its drivers, has focused national attention on the problem. This has prompted new government policy and strategies for improving young people’s mental health.

Lifetime achievement

Winner: Professor Lord Richard Layard, London School of Economics and Political Science

Project: Public policies for employment, skills, wellbeing and mental health

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

This year, ESRC is recognising Professor Lord Richard Layard with a lifetime achievement award to celebrate the outstanding contribution he has made to social science and society in the UK and beyond.

Through his work as founder and director of ESRC’s Centre for Economic Performance, and currently co-director of the centre’s community wellbeing programme, Lord Layard’s research has shown how better wellbeing can improve lives and the economy.

He co-founded the ‘action for happiness’ campaign and his work has resulted in an initiative to improve access to psychological therapies. The impact of Lord Layard’s work can be seen in:

  • education
  • employment
  • mental health
  • climate change.

His influence is felt in:

  • academic research
  • public policy
  • community engagement
  • the political spectrum.

Finalists

Outstanding societal impact

Finalist: Professor Marianne Hester, University of Bristol

Project: Justice, inequality and gender-based violence

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

Research into the impact of gender-based violence on victim-survivors and their experience of justice has led to:

  • greater protection for survivors of domestic abuse and their children
  • new understanding of what victim-survivors of gender-based violence seek in terms of justice
  • improved advocacy, training and support by specialist services such as Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis.

Outstanding societal impact

Finalist: Professor Alice Sullivan, UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies

Project: Reading for pleasure boosts cognitive development

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

Research that shows reading for pleasure helps children perform significantly better in maths as well as English. This has directly influenced national and international policymakers, literacy organisations and schools to generate, fund and implement reading for pleasure campaigns and initiatives that have benefited the learning of millions of children worldwide.

Outstanding business and enterprise impact

Finalist: Dr Anna Remington, UCL Institute of Education

Project: Enhancing the employment of autistic individuals

Video credit: ESRC
On-screen captions and an autogenerated transcript are available on YouTube.

Only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time employment in the UK, with lost employment detrimental to quality of life for the majority of autistic adults who would like to work, and costing the UK over £9 billion a year.

Research into how to improve employment opportunities has changed public perceptions around autism, increased recruitment of autistic people, and changed culture and practices in a number of UK and international organisations.

Last updated: 26 July 2022

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