Skip to main content

Economic and Social Research Council awards Leeds Social Sciences Institute Impact Acceleration Account funding


Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI) has been awarded Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding of £1.25m from April 2023 for 5-years. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funder of economic, social, behavioural, and human data science research.  IAA’s accelerate the impact of economic and social science research within UK Higher Education Institutions.  This is the second successive ESRC IAA that the University of Leeds has successfully been awarded. 

The funding will strengthen our interdisciplinary social science research

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Nick Plant, said: 

   “It is a great achievement to receive this funding.  It will support our excellent research community in maximising the impact our social sciences knowledge and research has on the many societal challenges we face.  Over the next 5 years, the funding will strengthen our interdisciplinary social science research and help establish new partnerships to accelerate the translation of our research outputs into direct benefits for society.” 

The awarding panel at the ESRC acknowledged the ambition of LSSI’s plans in demonstrating their commitment to affect a step-change in social sciences impact and the engagement culture at the University of Leeds.  Specifically highlighted were the plans to build on LSSI’s previous IAA award and the notable strengths of the interdisciplinary social science research already taking place.  The planned capacity building, responsive and strategic activities were judged to advance a comprehensive portfolio of activities that will advance the transformation of non-academic user engagement.  LSSI’s broader vision for a harmonised University of Leeds IAA, comprising ESRC together with Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC) was also noted by ESRC to further strengthen the impact agenda and culture at the University of Leeds. 

Dr Briony Thomas used her joint appointment at the School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Design to expand her Creative Science in Schools project, using IAA funding to broaden teaching methods across the school science curriculum.

Director of LSSI, Professor Louise Waite, welcomed the news of the IAA funding: 

  “I am delighted that this funding will enable LSSI to continue to support social science activities across the university.  We have already supported a wide variety of projects by assisting researchers to build relationships and networks to facilitate co-production of research, increase public engagement, and maximise the impact and influence of their research.  Over the period of the last IAA, we awarded IAA funding to 77 projects, and some of these are detailed in the LSSI Impact Report 2021-22. We are looking forward to rolling out the next stage of this exciting opportunity.” 

Dr Julie Firmstone, School of Media and Communication, used funding from the IAA to engage the UK public in discussions about ethical journalism, submitting her evidence to the press regulator, IMPRESS, and reporting her findings.

For further details of the work undertaken by the Leeds Social Sciences Institute, please visit our website  

To read the full ESRC IAA funding announcement click here