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Sussex secures second round of ESRC impact funding to tackle real world problems

The University of Sussex will receive a seven-figure funding grant to tackle complex real world problems in the digital and health sectors.

The University has been awarded just over £1m in funding for a second round of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA).

The second phase of funding, awarded with a focus on challenge-led impact, will help support researchers to build partnerships and achieve impact in the social sciences over the next four years starting from April and builds on the success from an original investment of £1.2m over the past five years.

During that time, the funding has helped Sussex researchers to work with 15 digital businesses to address societal challenges and bring about local economic growth through a collaboration between Professor Seb Oliver (Physics and Astronomy) and Brighton-based business network Wired Sussex.

The funding was also used to create evidence-based sexual health digital resources for young people through a collaboration between Prof Rachel Thomson (Education) and education charity Brook Learn and supported Prof Alison Phipps  (Sociology) to create guidelines and models for real culture change within higher education institutions.

Further successes from the first round of funding include Dr Fabio Petito’s (Global Studies) highly impactful work on international freedom of religious belief and the work of Professor Jackie Cassell (BSMS) to create practice frameworks for handling scabies outbreaks in residential care homes.

During the second phase of IAA funding, Sussex researchers can continue to apply for small pots of impact funding to support partnerships, both established and emerging, creating a vibrant engagement culture across the University.

The University of Sussex Provost, Professor Saul Becker, is currently leading the IAA, which was previously championed by Professor Paul Nightingale.

Professor Becker said: “The initial round of funding supported some incredible projects that among them built stronger bonds with local businesses, created vital resources for young people and developed a blueprint for how our own sector can improve.

“I’m really excited about what impact and change the next round of projects will bring.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to develop new bonds and strengthen existing collaborations with a reach that will go far beyond our own university campus.”

Further details of funding and partnership opportunities will be announced from 1 April, and researchers can get in touch at any point to discuss ideas or seek support in building impact in the social sciences - including interdisciplinary work.

For further information, please contact Megan McMichael, ESRC IAA Project Manager, or Nora Davies, External Partnerships Project Manager.

By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Friday, 1 February 2019