Leeds Social Sciences Institute

Social Sciences Impact Acceleration Account

In this section:

Introduction

Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI is pleased to announce the launch of its  university-funded Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), which has been developed in association with the ESRC,  to encourage and support research with impact across the social sciences. The IAA will run for three years (from 2015-2018) and is designed to support social scientists in engaging with external partners and maximising the impact and influence of their research on society and the economy. The Leeds IAA will benefit from membership of the ESRC IAA network and oversight.

A key aim of the IAA is to maximise the impact and influence of social science research on non-academic partners, therefore the majority of the budget has been set aside to support high quality impact projects developed by social science researchers at Leeds via an open competition.

The Fund will support the following strands of activity:

  1. Responsive mode impact fund providing flexible funding (between £2-15k) for cross-disciplinary projects that demonstrate strong user engagement
  2. Knowledge exchange fellowships facilitating the movement of people between external organisations and the University which build and strengthen relationships (with up to £10k allocated to each exchange)
  3. PGR research placements supporting short-term external placement opportunities for postgraduate researchers (including a bursary up to £1,950 for each placement)

Each strand has a clear set of key performance indicators (informed by RCUK IAA reporting matrix) which will be used to monitor and report on progress

NEW OPPORTUNITY: UK Parliament hosted Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme – the UK Parliament is piloting an Academic Fellowship Scheme (with an indicative  budget of up to £10k per placement) that will offer academic researchers at every stage of their career the rare opportunity to work on specific projects from inside Westminster’s walls. This call is now OPEN and can be on any topic and related to any area of Parliament.  Applications will be subject to a two stage process, please visit our website for further details.

** PLEASE NOTE: All projects must be completed before the 31 March 2018 **

IAA Objectives

A key objective of the scheme is to provide match funding to support short-term projects with external, non-academic partners in order to share risk, demonstrate applicability of research and develop new relationships. All projects must have at least one external, non-academic partner that is making a contribution to the project (either cash or in-kind). External partners could include national and international businesses, public and third sector organisations, or community bodies. This fund will not support academic-academic collaboration.

We are looking to seed new relationships and partnerships with external organisations, although a new partnership is not a requirement for accessing funding. This support is particularly aimed at getting new/early relationships started where:

  • The academic PI is new to working with non-academic partners,
  • The external partner has not worked with the University of Leeds before, or
  • The project will create a step-change in the relationship with an existing partner.

Application and Award Process

There will be up to four calls for proposals during each academic session. Details of the call will be published on the LSSI website and will also be circulated via the email research networks (esslnet, artynet, mednet).

Prior to submitting an application, please refer to the specific eligibility and assessment criteria for the responsive mode impact fund, knowledge exchange fellowships, or PGR placements strand.

Applicants must have the support of his/her Head of School / Supervisor and all applications must be submitted with a letter of support from the external partner, which demonstrates a clear understanding of the planned program of work and expected benefit the project will bring.

Closing dates for applications

Completed forms should be submitted electronically to s.kennedy@leeds.ac.uk

Applications will be considered by the IAA Review Team. Panel members will include: the IAA Director (Director of LSSI); two LSSI Deputy Directors; two representatives from the LSSI Steering Group, IAA Manager, EPSRC IAA Business Engagement Manager, plus external partners.

The IAA Manager will notify applicants of the award panel’s decision, and the relevant Faculty Research and Innovation Manager will be advised of awarded proposals. The award-holder will be required to provide confirmation that the project has been considered by the host department’s ethics committee.

Once the approved project has been confirmed, an account code will be assigned to the project, through which all project related costs should be charged. The award-holder is responsible for managing and reporting on expenditure.

Terms and conditions of funding

By accepting the award, successful applicants are agreeing to the following terms and conditions:

  • Successful projects will be listed on the Leeds Social Sciences Institute website
  • Award-holders will engage with LSSI to monitor project progress both during the life of the project and post project to allow the reporting of outcomes and capture of (potential) impact. This will include making non-confidential aspects available to assist with the development of promotional materials.
  • Award-holders will be required to submit a two–page final report (template provided), outlining how the objective of the project and the relevant KPIs have been met and future plans within one month of the project completion date.
  • Recipients of funding must ensure that the University of Leeds IAA is credited as providing support for the activity in any outputs
  • Award-holders will be expected to participate in future capacity building events to share their experience and develop expertise
  • The award is non-transferable
  • All expenditure must comply with the University’s financial regulations

Timetable

Applications will be considered on a bi-monthly basis.

The provisional closing dates for 2015/17 are as follows:

Closing date for applications Assessment panel
17:00, Friday 20th November 2015 – CLOSED Week commencing 23rd November 2015
17:00, Wednesday 10th February 2016 – CLOSED Week commencing 22nd February 2016
17:00, Wednesday 13th April 2016 –CLOSED Week commencing 25th April 2016
17:00, Wednesday 22nd June 2016 – CLOSED Week commencing 11th July 2016
17:00, Wednesday 12th October 2016 – CLOSED Week commencing 24th October 2016
17:00, Friday, 2nd December 2016 – CLOSED Week commencing 12th December 2016
17:00, Monday, 6th February 2017 – CLOSED Week commencing 13th February 2017
17:00, Friday, 31st March 2017 – CLOSED Week commencing 10th April 2017
12:00, Friday, 2nd June 2017 Week commencing 12th June 2017

Responsive Mode Fund

Application form

Next closing date for applications: 12pm, Friday 2 June

The purpose of this strand is to provide flexible funding for cross disciplinary projects that demonstrate strong user engagement with potential to impact on policy and / or practice in the private, public and third sectors. The fund will support activities such as building relationships and networks with non-academic partners; the development of activities designed to apply previously funded research to policy and practice issues; the co-production of knowledge; or, policy or evidence seminars /workshops.

Collaboration with non-academic partners

All projects must have at least one external, non-academic partner that is making a contribution to the project (either cash or in-kind). External partners could include national and international businesses, public and third sector organisations, or community bodies.

Funding

Projects are likely to differ in scope and scale; the IAA will typically fund projects up to £15k, however consideration will also be given to more ambitious and innovative projects which exceed this maximum threshold.

The funds can be used to support existing staff employed by the University (in terms of buying out any teaching cover) or to recruit new members of staff (on a temporary basis) if necessary to meet the skill requirements of the role, providing this can be achieved in an appropriate timescale for the implementation of the project. Projects can be carried out on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on the nature of the work. Projects may involve one or more researchers. Awards may span multiple financial years and will be supported for up to a maximum of 12 months.  Please note: the award will only cover directly incurred costs associated with the project.

We are also keen to support small grants with pump prime funding (in the region of £2-3k) to support events/meetings which bring together academics with external stakeholders. These grants are intended as a first step in developing new or strengthening existing collaborative relationships with non-academics. It is anticipated that five pump-prime projects will be funded each year.

Eligibility criteria

  • Project proposals must align to the ESRC’s disciplinary remit
  • Applications are invited from any research active staff in the social sciences (whether or not they are ESRC grant holders) who, at the point of application, hold a current contract of employment as an independent researcher with the University of Leeds.
  • Other universities can be co-applicants however, if the other institution is part of an existing IAA network, co-funding is expected from the co-applicant’s institution
  • All projects must have at least one external, non-academic partner that is making a contribution to the project (either cash or in-kind)
  • Current ESRC grant holders are able to apply to the IAA however it in is not anticipated that the fund will support project specific activities which would normally be included in Pathways to Impact
  • Projects should have the potential to deliver economic and /or societal benefit to UK organisations or citizens outside academia
  • Awards will not be made available to fund new research or consultancy, however funding is available to support the development of new research collaborations which have the potential to lead onto externally funded research grant applications.

Eligible Costs

The award will only cover directly incurred costs associated with the project. Applicants should provide a detailed budget and justification of resources with their proposal. Estates, indirect, building and refurbishment costs are not eligible for funding. Successful projects will have an account set up for these costs.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications must be submitted on the relevant application form. All applicants are advised to consult the IAA Guidelines.

Applications will be considered on a bi-monthly basis so that the process is able to flexibly respond to less predictive unforeseen issues in a timely manner.

Assessment criteria

Applications will be will be judged and prioritised against the following assessment criteria:

Assessment criteria Comments Weighting
i) External partner

 

  • Is the PI new to collaboration with non-academic partners?
  • Is this partner new to the University?
  • If with an existing partner, does the project make a step change to this relationship?
  • Is there a letter of support showing clear commitment to the Research Impact project?
  • Will there be any financial or in-kind contribution from the external partner?
10
ii) Project summary

 

  • Is it clear what ‘problem’ this project hopes to address and how this will be achieved?
  • Is this a clear knowledge exchange project, where the partners are working together on the exploitation of funded research outputs? This could include the development of a novel product or process, or to open up a new area of research or commercial venture, or to develop an area of public policy.
10
iii) Project plan

 

  • Are there clear and SMART objectives for the project? (SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).
10
iv) Outcomes and impact

 

  • Could this project result in impact that can deliver significant economic, environmental and/or societal benefits for UK citizens or reach a large number of beneficiaries, or both? What are the expected impacts from this project and how do you plan to deliver the intended change?
  • Are there appropriate plans in place to maximise this?
  • For non-UK partners, is their realistic potential for net benefit(s) to the UK?
  • How will the impacts be monitored /evidenced?
10
v) Follow-on plans
  • Is there potential for the project to lead to the development of a longer-term partnership?
  • Is there a plan for this collaboration/relationship to continue – in any form – after the duration of the project?
10

Knowledge Exchange Fellowships

Application form

Next closing date for applications: 12pm, Friday 2 June

The aim of the Knowledge Exchange Fellowship scheme is to facilitate interactions between external organisations and the University which build and strengthen relationships and facilitate knowledge exchange. The scheme will provide academic staff with an opportunity to work with a non-academic partner at their site, of for a non-academic partner to work on a project at the university for up to 12 months on either a full-time or part-time basis.

External partners may include industry, business, public sector/government organisations or third sector organisations.. We are keen to support applications that focus on building and strengthening relationships between the University and external partners across the Leeds City Region.

For outgoing exchanges, the scheme supports salary buy-out to allow researcher to spend time at the partner organisation. It is critical that the sabbatical does not impact on the delivery of the PI’s existing commitments and this should be managed with the current sponsor (e.g. via project extension) or Head of School. Match funding would be expected from external partners for secondments which extend beyond 6 months.

For incoming projects, this scheme will provide funding to enable individuals from external non-academic organisations to visit University of Leeds and be embedded within departments or research groups for an appropriate length of time. Visiting Practitioners will be expected to have a planned programme of KE or engagement activity for the duration of their time at the university. PIs must discuss secondment preparations with their Faculty HR team to ensure correct arrangements are put in place prior to the start of the project, e.g. access to buildings/systems necessary to carry out project.

Tom Knowland, Leeds City Council’s Head of Sustainable Energy & Climate Change, was seconded to the University of Leeds’ Sustainability Research Institute to develop and share knowledge and best practice in developing a low carbon economy and supporting low carbon / high quality lifestyles. In this video he discusses the benefits of a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship as well as offering some practical hints and tips on how to secure one.

Funding

The scheme will cover directly incurred costs (for example research assistants) and reasonable travel and subsistence costs up to a maximum of £10k per secondment, however consideration will also be given to more ambitious and innovative projects which exceed this maximum threshold.

Eligibility criteria

  • Project proposals must align to the ESRC’s disciplinary remit
  • Applications are invited from any research active staff in the social sciences (whether or not they are ESRC grant holders) who, at the point of application, hold a current contract of employment as an independent researcher with the University of Leeds.
  • Collaborations may be either early stage interactions or well-established partnerships.
  • There must be a clear case for further development of the relationship via a KE project.
  • Fellowships outside the UK are eligible, however all external partners should have a significant presence in the UK, e.g. manufacturing and/or R&D base, and the activity should be able to deliver benefit to the UK. Projects with external partners with no UK presence are eligible providing that the project can demonstrate clear potential for delivery of a net benefit to the UK
  • A KE fellowship is dependent on the partner signing an appropriate secondment agreement with the university
  • The project should have the potential to deliver economic, environmental and/or societal benefit to UK organisations or citizens outside academia.

 Eligible costs

The award will only cover the directly incurred costs associated with the project. Applicants should provide a budget with their proposal that must be prepared in conjunction with your Faculty Research Office. Successful projects will have an account set up for these costs.

HOW TO APPLY

Applications must be submitted on the relevant application form. All applicants are advised to consult the IAA Guidelines.

Applications will be considered on a bi-monthly basis so that the process is able to flexibly respond to less predictive unforeseen issues in a timely manner.

Assessment criteria

Applications will be will be judged and prioritised against the following assessment criteria:

Assessment criteria Comments Weighting
i) External partner

 

  • Is the academic PI new to collaboration with non-academic partners?
  • Is this partner new to the University?
  • If with an existing partner, does the project make a step change to this relationship?
  • Is there a letter of support showing clear commitment to the KE fellowship?
  • Will there be any financial or in-kind contribution from the external partner?
10
ii) Project proposal

 

  • Is it clear what ‘problem’ this project hopes to address and how this will be achieved?
  • Is this a clear knowledge exchange project, where the partners are working together on the exploitation of social science research outputs? This could include the development of a novel product or process, or to open up a new area of research or commercial venture, or to develop an area of public policy.
10
iii) Project plan

 

  • Are there clear and SMART objectives for the project? (SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).
10
iv) Outcomes and impact

 

  • Could this KE fellowship result in impact that can deliver significant economic, environmental and/or societal benefits for UK citizens or reach a large number of beneficiaries, or both? What are the expected impacts from this project and how do you plan to deliver the intended change?
  • Are there appropriate plans in place to maximise this?
  • For non-UK partners, is their realistic potential for net benefit(s) to the UK?
  • How will the impacts be monitored /evidenced?
10
v) Follow-on plans
  • Is there potential for the project to lead to the development of a longer-term partnership?
  • Is there a plan for this collaboration/relationship to continue – in any form – after the duration of the KE fellowship?
10

PGR Placements

Application form

Next closing date for applications: 12pm, Friday 2 June

The Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI) has been running a placements programme since 2011, which offers postgraduate researchers (PGR) the opportunity to undertake part-time research projects within local organisations.

Working in a research capacity with an external partner, the researcher will have an opportunity to engage with the needs of the external organisation and to build the knowledge gained from the placement into their future research plans.

In previous years, postgraduate researchers have benefitted from working with organisations such as Leeds City Council, Chapeltown Citizens Advice Bureau, and West Yorkshire Probation Trust. A list of previous placements and the organisations that hosted them in the past can be found on the LSSI website under ‘Previous placements and reports’. The scheme has been popular and has proved to be effective in improving a PGR’s employability and injecting innovative ideas into the host organisation.

The time commitment for the PhD researcher is estimated at about 130 hours in total, with weekly hours to be agreed with the organisation. Previously, PGR researchers have phased their projects over a 13 week period at ten hours per week. Projects must be completed within a 6 month period.

Projects might involve:

  • Surveying or interviewing users or providers of relevant services to identify ways in which they could be improved
  • Evaluating a project or scoping out the potential for a new project which aims to bring social or economic benefits to a particular community
  • Gathering evidence, writing reports and responding to government consultation exercises/informing policy making

If you have a project in mind but are not sure how to develop it, do not hesitate to get in touch with Sophia Kennedy (s.kennedy@leeds.ac.uk).

Funding

Successful applicants will receive a bursary of up to £1,950 based on a 130 hour research placement. Previously, researchers have phased their projects over a 13 week period at ten hours per week.

Eligibility criteria

Project proposals must align to the ESRC’s disciplinary remit

The scheme is open to social science PGRs registered in either Arts, Environment, ESSL, LUBS, Medicine, and PVAC

Please note: while you might be able to use some of the data collected during your placement in your thesis, the project cannot be part of your fieldwork.

Eligible costs

Reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses will be considered, on a case by case basis.

HOW TO APPLY

We invite researchers to submit their own project to be hosted by an external organisation. We require applicants to liaise with the organisation prior to submitting an application to us, and to provide us with written confirmation of the organisation’s involvement in the project, as well as details of a contact person at the organisation

Applications must be submitted on the relevant application form. All applicants are advised to consult the IAA Guidelines.

Applications will be considered on a bi-monthly basis.

Assessment criteria

Applications will be will be judged and prioritised against the following assessment criteria:

Assessment criteria Comments Weighting
i) External partner

 

  • Is this partner new to the University?
  • Is there a letter of support showing clear commitment to the placement?
  • Will there be any financial or in-kind contribution from the external partner?
10
ii) Project summary

 

  • Is it clear what ‘problem’ this project hopes to address and how this will be achieved?
  • Is this a clear knowledge exchange project?
10
iii) Project plan

 

  • Are there clear and SMART objectives for the project? (SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound).
10
iv) Outcomes and impact

 

  • Could the project result in impact that can deliver significant economic, environmental and/or societal benefits for UK citizens or reach a large number of beneficiaries, or both?
  • Are there appropriate plans in place to maximise this?

 

10
v) Follow-on plans
  • Is there potential for the project to lead to the development of a longer-term partnership?
  • Is there a plan for this collaboration/relationship to continue – in any form – after the duration of the placement?
10

Funded Projects

This page includes a full list of projects that are funded by the Social Sciences Impact Acceleration Account.

Responsive Mode Impact Fund

Knowledge Exchange Fellowships

PGR Placements

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