AHRC Impact Acceleration Account

The University of Sussex has been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) grant of £450,000 over four years (April 2022 - March 2026), to accelerate the impact of arts and humanities research.

The programme enables researchers across the University (conducting research in the Arts and Humanities remit) to help bring about societal, economic, environmental and other impacts beyond academia. It offers advisory and financial support for individual impactful projects, and facilitates collaborations between researchers and external partners in a wide range and scale of organisations, to work on real-world changes.

The funding will be used to explore and develop new opportunities and innovative avenues to utilise arts and humanities research, with the aim of achieving impactful outcomes, particularly across our core strands:

  • Creative Economy
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Policy
  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • AI & Digital Transformation
  • Place-making & Community

Current funding calls 

The Engagement Opportunity Fund

Designed to enable researchers to participate in a one-off engagement opportunity with one or more key non-academic stakeholders, for the purposes of initiating or strengthening relationships that will lead to collaborative activity and/or impact. This call is currently open (closing date TBA – likely summer/autumn 2025), with a maximum funding limit of £1,000. 

The Fast Track Fund

Designed to provide short-term, quick turn-around funds that enable researchers to respond to opportunities as they arise, providing flexible funding that caters for diverse and non-linear impact journeys. This call is currently open (closing date TBA – likely summer/autumn 2025), with a maximum funding limit of £3,000. 

The Impact Builder Fund

Designed to enable researchers to deepen their existing collaborations with specific organisations. The scheme is particularly aimed at supporting established impact projects and partnerships, who can demonstrate a track record of collaborative activity with specific non-academic partner(s). This call closed in January 2024, with a maximum funding limit of £10,000. 

Projects in the Fast Track and Impact Builder F unds will normally run for up to 12 months. All funds should be spent by the end of December 2025, ahead of the end of the four-year programme.

Who can apply?  

The funds are open to researchers at all career levels (including Early Career Researchers) with a contract of employment that includes 'significant responsibility for research' (see University of Sussex REF Code of Practice), and are intended to encourage better inclusion and broader participation in research impact activity. Sussex faculty can apply for AHRC funds wherever they work in the University, but their research must sit within the AHRC’s remit (see AHRC Research Funding Guide - Section 7).

You may also wish to consider additional or alternative opportunities (e.g. if your research is not within the AHRC remit), for example: the University of Sussex's new Knowledge Exchange Fellowship programme (Fellowships available for Public and Community Engagement; Policy Engagement; Innovation; Business Development). These can be held alongside other funding (such as AHRC IAA or HEIF).

Activities should be conducted with non-academic partners, or at least be actively engaging with non-academic partners / stakeholders, to maximise opportunities for impactful outcomes. 

Unfortunately, PhD researchers and those on non-research contracts are not eligible to apply for our funding calls; however, our events are open to all staff and PhD students/doctoral researchers who carry out or support research within the AHRC’s remit.

How to apply

Firstly, please follow this link (behind Sussex login) to read the full guidance on applying for AHRC IAA funding, including key information on eligibility and assessment criteria.

To discuss a potential application, and to request an application form, please contact the relevant Professional Services staff member(s) in your School and/or your School's RIQI Research Impact Manager, copying Katherine Blackadder, AHRC IAA Programme Consultant via ahrciaa@sussex.ac.uk: