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Aston University awarded £1.25 million for new research

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Aston University has been awarded funding of £1.25 million for a five-year Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

It is one of 32 research organisations across the UK receiving ESRC’s support through IAAs, totalling £40 million.

IAAs enable research organisations to support a wide range of social, economic and behavioural science impact activities. The funding generates greater benefits from research, helping create a more prosperous, inclusive, healthy and secure society.

Research organisations awarded an IAA are empowered to use the funds flexibly and responsively, aligning with their strategic aims, to unlock the value of their existing social science research.

They allow opportunities for researcher-led collaboration with non-academic partners from all sectors and of any size to apply social sciences knowledge to challenges in society. Individual projects can range in scale from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands of pounds each.

The funding, which will run from 2023 to 2028, will be used to support a wide range of activities which will focus on engaging users and forging strategic partnerships, building internal capability and culture and progressing commercial opportunities.

This is Aston University’s third IAA, sitting alongside those from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), meaning that its IAA-funded activities now span all three of the University’s academic colleges.

Professor Simon Green, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research at Aston University, said:

“With this award, we will elevate the impact generated from economic and social science research at Aston University.

“Our social science research already makes a major contribution to the regional and local economy and community. Over the next five years our objective is to grow the reach and significance of our economic, environmental and social impacts at national and international levels.

“This vision will underpin and drive the hard work which we will invest in the successful delivery of the IAA.”

Interim ESRC Executive Chair, Professor Alison Park, said:

“The social, behavioural and economic research we fund helps us understand how we live and how society functions, throwing new light on how best to tackle our most pressing challenges. This investment creates a network of research organisations with dedicated funding to support and accelerate the impact of this research.

“We have already seen the benefits of previous rounds of IAA funding, which have leveraged an extra £52 million from partners ranging from local government to private business. This new cohort of 32 research organisations in receipt of IAA funding is the largest and most diverse group ESRC has funded. I look forward to seeing how these investments maximise the impact of social science research.”