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ESRC Impact Acceleration Accounts

Having taken part in a competitive application process, we are one of 26 research organisations in the UK to be awarded an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This funding, covering 2019-2023, is the second wave of IAA funding awarded to the Institute and gives us an exciting opportunity to consolidate and build upon some of the successful activities and partnerships we developed over the first wave (2014-19).

IAAs are block awards made to Research Organisations (ROs) to accelerate the impact of research. They also allow Research Organisations to respond to knowledge exchange opportunities in more flexible, responsive and creative ways than centrally-administered schemes and are intended to benefit not just those within the ROs but a wider network of stakeholders and partners, ensuring that capacity building and knowledge exchange takes place where it has the best opportunity for impact. 

The IAAs funding are being used flexibly and rapidly to support the following key areas:

  • Building relationships and networks with potential users of research to facilitate co-production of knowledge and maximise impact
  • Movement and secondment of people between Research Organisations and user stakeholders
  • Support for researchers to build networks with potential users of the products of their research, and further work to establish ‘proof of concept’ for their innovations
  • Drive culture change in Research Organisations to promote knowledge exchange and improve related skill sets and capabilities
  • Improve engagement with the public sector, civil society, industry (including SMEs, local business and the Technology Strategy Board) and publics

Accelerating our impact

As a small and entirely project-funded organisation we often do not have the resource to pursue impact after projects are complete or on a reactive basis, and breaking into new areas can be very difficult. The IAA will allow us to pursue impact in some areas where we have not had the resources to invest in the past – notably the corporate sector and local government. It will allow us to invest in equipping our staff to maximise impact and make more use of previous research and accumulated knowledge in pursuing impact.

This initiative provides us with a welcome opportunity to greatly improve the way in which we understand, communicate, engage and co-operate with key stakeholder communities such as those in central and local government, business, the third sector and the wider publics. We actively seek partnership opportunities to achieve impact, and are able to support a wide range of activities such as public events, secondments (in and out), high-level meetings/roundtables, seed funding to build networks and support future projects, training and the production of new and innovative materials and tools for impact. Where there is potential scope for impact, we can also provide researchers with seed funding to build networks and support future projects.

For the second wave, 2019-24, we are placing particular emphasis on activities that include early-career researchers or partner organisations.

We very much welcome the chance to build upon existing activities and to identify and respond flexibly to new impact opportunities. If you would like to find out more about current activities and projects or wish to discuss partnership opportunities, please do not hesitate to get in touch: iaa@ifs.org.uk / 020 7291 4818. 

Managing the IAA

The IAA management team will work closely with the IAA Steering Group, with IFS researchers at all career stages and with other Research Organisations with IAAs to ensure that this award is used to maximum effect.

Paul Johnson, IAA Grant Holder and project lead
Carl Emmerson, Robert Joyce and Helen Miller, IAA research leads
Bonnie Brimstone and William Ansell, IAA administration leads