Research and knowledge exchange

Developing a pilot of a Policy@Sussex model to accelerate social science research impact

Principal Applicant: Sarah Schepers (Head of Strategy, Science Policy Research Unit)


  • Professor Peter Newell (Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange and Professor of International Relations, Global Studies)
  • Professor Steve McGuire (Head of School of Business, Management and Economics and Professor of Business and Public Policy)

Amount awarded: £40,000

Project dates: March 2016 – March 2017

The issue

Although Sussex social science research is having impact, as demonstrated by REF2014, for many social science research projects, outside of the larger research grants and centres, engagement and communications is ad hoc and unplanned, meaning that opportunities are not always fully explored or developed.

This project seeks to develop and support policy impact by piloting a Policy@Sussex initiative that will open up opportunities to engage with the right stakeholders at the right time, providing research insights to inform policy and enhance the likelihood of REF level research impacts.

The research

ESRC IAA funds are being used to support the initial set-up and year-long pilot of a Policy@Sussex initiative that would act as both an internal hub and an external gateway for policy relevant social science research at Sussex. 

The project aims to develop an active internal network of Sussex based social science researchers and professional services staff working on research engagement.

This will include sharing information and approaches to ensure that support is joined up, allowing opportunities for impact to be better identified, secured and tracked.  It recognises that impact is more likely to be achieved through sustained engagement throughout the lifecycle of a project and can open up further opportunities for collaboration and co-production of knowledge.

Impact goals

The long-term goal is for Policy@Sussex is for Sussex Social Science projects supported by this team  to be a trusted source of robust, independent research insights for a range of local, national and international policy and industry stakeholders.

Policy@Sussex will identify and build relationships, at different policy levels, to identify pathways for successful engagement.  To support this work the project will develop a common style for presenting research in an accessible way e.g. research and policy briefings, a blog and related guidance.

Outputs achieved so far

  • The team have produced four policy briefings, three research briefings and have been developing relationships with stakeholders at different levels.
  • The team have produced a policy and research briefing template with guidelines for researchers and guides on how to engage with different policy groups and influencers
  • The team have produced and developed Policy@Sussex blog  which is used as an additional way to connect with relevant audiences via other forms of online and social media

Further information

If you would like to know more about this project, please contact Sarah Schepers:

Further information on the ESRC IAA SSSIF can be found hereAlternatively please contact Nora Davies, ESRC IAA External Partnerships Project Manager: