Research and knowledge exchange

ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

The Impact Acceleration Account supports the development of social sciences impact and knowledge exchange activities.

What is the ESRC IAA?

The IAA is a block grant that was awarded to the University of Sussex in 2014 and is currently to due to expire on 31 March 2019. The aim is to support the acceleration of impact of social science research amongst non-academic audiences, though the research does not have to be funded through the ESRC. The PI of the ESRC IAA is Prof Paul Nightingale and the Steering Committee consists of a combination of academics and non-academics.

While the IAA is now closed, there are other funding opportunities that you could apply for. These include:


Check also with your Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange or Impact Lead to ask if there are any school (or departmental) impact funds available.

The IAA funding was designed to be used flexibly and rapidly to support the following key areas:

      • Improving engagement with the public sector, civil society, and industry. 

Read our case studies to find out more.


What is the University trying to achieve through the ESRC IAA?

The university intends to use the IAA funds to promote knowledge exchange related activities, to build and sustain partnerships with research users and to build capacity by reinforcing related skills sets and capabilities.

We designed the IAA to maximise the impact of social sciences work at Sussex through:

  • A managed programme of capacity-building activities designed to embed impact activity within social science research work and help develop partnerships. This includes a series of introductory events on a wide range of key impact topics as well as more in-depth workshops on building relationships with specific types of stakeholders, and an annual impact forum.
  • A flexible, open funding programme offering funding to accelerate the impact of social science research. We have three funding streams, 2 of which are run on an open-call basis (Fast Track Engagement Fund and the Slingshot Fund), and 1 which is on a call-basis (the Sussex Social Science Impact Fund).

ESRC IAA funding streams

In addition to the standard funding streams (below), we currently have a unique impact funding opportunity for Sussex research academics:

International Development (GCRF) NGO Data Fund

Applications are invited to explore secondary data with Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) partners which operate in an Official Development Assistance (ODA) context, in alignment with the Economic and Social Research Councils (ESRCs) support of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

This IAA additional funding stream will enable existing partnerships or the development of new partnerships with NGOs operating in an international development (ODA) context to discover the extent and quality of the secondary data being held, and what potential there is for developing further impacts from this data that benefit low and middle income countries.

  • Funding available: We have received £30,000 from the ESRC for this one-off fund, and we expect individual applications will not to exceed £7,500. All activities will need to be completed and funds spent by 31 March 2019.
  • Application deadline: open call, but we encourage applications as soon as possible to meet the required completion date of 31 March 2019

Please read the Guidance below for further details:

IAA-International Development NGO Data Fund - Guidance [PDF 85KB]

Application form

IAA-International Development NGO Data Fund – Application form [Word 604KB]


For enquiries regarding applications to the ESRC IAA funding streams please contact Megan McMichael, ESRC IAA Project Manager.

Megan McMichael, ESRC IAA Project Manager (Tues, Thurs, & Fri)


T: 01273 678178 x8178


For enquiries regarding developing partnerships for social science impact (either from academics, or from other organisations seeking to develop partnerships with the University of Sussex on social science topics) please contact Nora Davies, ESRC IAA External Partnerships Project Manager:

Nora Davies, ESRC IAA External Parternships Project Manager (Mon & Wed)


T: 01273 678178 x8178