Department of Anthropology


University staff shortlisted for research impact award

Prof Jane Oakhill

Prof Melissa Leach

Psychology professor, Jane Oakhill, and a Sussex team led by IDS Director, Professor Melissa Leach, have both been shortlisted for the annual Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prize.

The prize is awarded to ESRC-funded social science researchers who have achieved impact through outstanding research, collaborative partnerships, engagement or knowledge exchange activities. 

The prize is split into five different categories, including an award for Impact Champion - an individual who has enabled others to achieve impact.

Professor Oakhill has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Impact in Society prize, alongside Professor Kate Cain from Lancaster University. 

Professor Oakhill said: “Our research into children’s reading comprehension has helped raise awareness of the importance of teaching reading comprehension to young children.

“The research base has fed directly into successful training programmes in the UK and Argentina, professional development for the teaching of reading comprehension in the UK and North America, and recommendations for classroom practice in the revised National Curriculum for England.

“Teachers now have a much better understanding of the different skills required for effective reading comprehension, and have the tools and the confidence to help them teach it well. It's also very rewarding to see children so enthusiastic and applying what they've learnt about reading comprehension across all subjects."

Professor Leach’s team has been shortlisted for the Outstanding International Impact prize, an application she made alongside Sussex anthropology professor, James Fairhead.

Professor Leach said: “We’re honoured that our team has been shortlisted for this important prize, and excited to have our work on the Ebola Response Anthropology platform and the lessons for development initiative recognized in this way.

“Our work shows how long-term social science can make an immediate difference to humanitarian responses. The lessons go beyond Ebola, illustrating the potential of this kind of platform for dealing with emergencies of many kinds in a world of growing global challenges.”

Professor Fairhead said “The Ebola epidemic was as much an epidemic of mistrust as of a virus. The Platform helped humanitarian agencies address political and cultural tensions to build more respectful engagement with affected communities.”

The ESRC’s shortlist was selected by a panel of experts from a wide range of submissions which included written evidence from organisations that have used the research to shape their policies and practice.

A prize of £10,000 is awarded to the winner of each category, while a further prize of £10,000 is awarded to the Impact Champion.

The awards ceremony will take place at Central Hall, Westminster on 22 June 2016, where the winners will be announced.

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Friday, 13 May 2016