ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

The ESRC has provided funding from 2014 until March 2018 for knowledge exchange activities through Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs). These are block awards to Research Organisations to accelerate the impact of research. The University of Bristol’s IAA has allowed us to respond to knowledge exchange and impact development opportunities in flexible, responsive and creative ways.

Our objectives are to:

  1. Widen participation in impact activities across all areas of social science
  2. Develop a community of practice by connecting IAA participants and the roles of School Impact Directors, PolicyBristol and Research & Enterprise Development
  3. Create a ladder of engagement through the four competitive funds below
  4. Develop ways to continue engagement beyond the stop-start nature of project funding
  5. Develop tools to identify, capture and measure impacts both tangible and intangible, in collaboration with ESRC and other universities.

If you have project ideas for applying your research with and/or for external organisations and communities, please contact Esther Brown or Nikki Hicks in RED. You may also like to share our Collaboration with the University of Bristol (PDF, 258kB) leaflet with your potential partners.

The IAA has four competitive Award schemes:

For further information and details, please see the ESRC IAA Guidelines (PDF188kB) (UoB only) and the ESRC Impact Travel Award application form (Word) (UoB only). For the ESRC IAA Exploratory Impact Award, Impact Project Award or Knowledge Exchange Secondment Award, please see the combined ESRC IAA Application form (Word)‌ (UoB only).

Awarded Projects and Impact resources

Find a list of the successful Projects awarded ESRC IAA funding to date.

We've also provided some examples of the impact ESRC are looking for through the IAA. These are taken from past, non-IAA funded projects but they show how award funding can be a catalyst for impact and enable follow-on activities.

You may also find it helpful to look at the FSSL Research webpages where there is a range of useful resources concerning Impact - see - and the Developing Research Impact paper produced by RED.

Co-Production and Impact

There are many conceptual models for creating research impact. Models focused on technology and industry typically adopt a linear flow from basic science, through collaboration to commercialisation by a company, for example see the National College for Universities and Business (NCUB) Best practice strategies for successful innovation through university-business collaboration. Real projects have bifurcations, tangents, dead ends and iterations, but the model is a useful guide and emphasises an end-product and 'hand over' from researcher to research user.

Other models emphasise a cyclical flow in which collaborative research and impact feed into each other. One example is given below; another can be found in the Northern Rock Foundation's Adding Value to Grant Making guide developed with the University of Bristol.

These models can help in the design of collaborative impact projects, and we will present additional ideas as they emerge from the national community of ESRC IAA holders.


Author: Andrew Wray

This diagram shows a conceptual model for developing research impact through cycles of co-production and collaboration. Starting at the top and moving clockwise:

There are likely to be opportunities for spin off benefits for all the partners in a collaboration:

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