The ESRC requires that the IAA funds are to be used flexibly and rapidly to support knowledge exchange and impact and should include substantive user engagement, for example:
- Building relationships and networks with potential users of research to facilitate co-production of research and maximise impact – i.e., building relationships that might lead to new research and inform the ‘pathways to impact’ of a future research grant application.
- Movement and secondment of people into and from external organisations and user stakeholders.
- Support for translation, application, and utilisation of existing research findings to enhance their impact and to enable researchers to build networks with potential users of the outcomes of their research, and further work to establish proof of concept for their innovations.
- Improve engagement with the public sector, policy sector, civil society, industry (including SMEs and local business) and the public.
To ensure IAAs can be used to fund a diversity of knowledge exchange and impact activity, the following are ineligible for support through the IAA:
- Large ESRC investments (e.g., Centres, Large Grants, Infrastructure Investments).
- New research - i.e., the collection and/or analysis of new primary data. The awards are not the continuation of research. Applications should therefore focus on the development of impact activities and outputs and not on research. Applications which read like research grant proposals re-drafted for IAA purposes are less likely to be successful than projects which clearly comprise development of findings and ideas toward impact.