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The College of Social Sciences was thrilled to host a presentation on Wednesday 6 March 2019, which recognised the outstanding contribution our researchers make to society. The ceremony covered a range of awards from early career researchers to international impact.

Professor Richard Back, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences said “As social scientists, our work effects all areas of society, evidenced by our leading research which impacts on communities locally and across the globe. These awards recognise the significant contribution that some of our leading researchers have already made through their research, from working towards a food bank exit strategy to improving post-16 transition outcomes for young people with vision impairment.”

Full details of the awards and projects are as follows:

This prize recognises outstanding research that has brought about impact with business and enterprise, including for-profit business and social and community enterprises.

Winner: Dr Louise Overton 
Through her contribution to White Papers and other engagement activities, Louise has brought about policy and practice developments in the equity release industry. Her research findings and recommendations have shaped future product strategy and advice processes across multiple organisations within the retirement finance sector.

Highly Commended: Professor David Hudson, Aid Attitudes Tracker
David’s work, which focuses on tracking the public’s attitude to aid, has led to widespread change across the UK development sector. His research evidence has informed policy debate and the alignment of communications strategies across development organisations to focus on improving public support for development and aid.

This prize recognises research that has contributed to the development of UK public policy, at the local, regional or national government level.

Winner: Professor Nic Cheeseman
As a result of his research, the UK government has changed the way in which it engages in elections abroad. This is particularly prominent through the government’s adoption of the ‘Deep Election Monitoring’ model, which Nic pioneered to better track strategies, which are used to rig elections.

Highly Commended: Professor David Dunn and Chris Wyatt
David and Chris have made significant contributions to Select Committee inquiries surrounding the nefarious use of drones, which have led to changes in policy surrounding their current and future use. They have also influenced debates within Parliament, for example, their recommendation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones, which has since changed their focus to include smaller drones.

Highly Commended: Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay
Siddhartha’s research has led to extensive changes in policing policy practices across multiple regions in England and Wales, most notably the opening of a dedicated missing persons’ unit in one police force as well as influencing police reform agendas through contributing evidence-based recommendations to the Policing and Crime Act 2017. 

This prize recognises research that has made a contribution benefitting a specific group of the public or society more widely, including impact in education.

Winner: The Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE)
Research contributions from CRRE into inclusion in education systems have informed policymaking and practice within government and the education sector. Researchers have contributed towards the UK government’s Race Disparity Audit, developed UNESCO’s international framework on Global Citizenship Education and have shaped institutional policy around race inequality in UK Higher Education institutions through the Race Equality Charter.

This prize recognises research that has achieved impact at an international level in any of the previous categories.

Winner: Dr Sami Bensassi
Sami’s research on understanding the scope and scale of smuggling of Libyan and Algerian products into Tunisia has led to changes in tariff rates by the Tunisian Government. This change has also led to important secondary impact, namely a shift of trading activity from black market operations to recorded trading activity.

This prize recognises social scientists at the beginning of their academic careers who have achieved or show potential in achieving outstanding impacts in any of the above categories.

Winner: Dr Harriet Thomson
Research into energy poverty as distinct from other forms of poverty has led to the development of an EU Energy Poverty Observatory, which Harriet manages. The observatory supports national policymakers in implementing new energy poverty policies. Harriet is currently looking to extend this impact by transferring elements of her model to Latin America.

Highly Commended: Rachel Hewett
Rachel has been leading on activities to improve post-16 transition outcomes for young people with vision impairment. Rachel has developed evidence-based campaigns to inform government policy, as well as improving service provision within organisations such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

This prize recognises researchers whose work has involved a significant element of engagement with the public, which has led to impact.

Winner: Dr Anna Kotova
Anna’s British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award enabled her to organise two events to discuss the issues faced by families of men and women in prison and how to engage policymakers in these issues. The events invited early career researchers and stakeholder organisations who work with these families in order to discuss how academic research can be most useful in meeting their goals.

Winner: Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite
Kayleigh was also a recipient of the BA Rising Star Engagement Award, for which she planned a two-day workshop to bring together researchers, frontline workers, grassroots campaigners and those experiencing food poverty across the UK, US, and Canada. This workshop led to a roundtable discussion, which was the first time charity food providers had spoken about how to work towards a food bank exit strategy in the UK. 

Highly Commended: Professor Ian Grosvenor
Ian has facilitated an extensive series of public engagement events through directing the ‘Voices of War and Peace: The Great War and its Legacy’ engagement centre. These activities have connected academic and public histories of the First World War through collaborative working with stakeholders, organising events such as public talks, plays, and animations.

This prize recognises researchers or teams who have made excellent use of funds provided by the ESRC IAA.

Winner: Professor Jessica Woodhams
Jessica used IAA funding to provide evidence to the NPCC that Automatic Number Plate Recognition data should be retained in order to accurately ‘link’ crimes. Her approach of overlaying data regarding unsolved stranger sex offences with ANPR data has been adopted by the Metropolitan Police, who are using the method proactively to identify and apprehend sex offenders.

Highly Commended: Professor Peter Kraftl and Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill
Peter and Sophie have shaped the master-planning of new garden towns and villages in the UK through their ‘Garden Villages of Tomorrow’ IAA grant, which facilitated young people’s participation in designing their local areas. Their IAA activity has had national reach across 11 Local Authorities, influencing the master-planning of 22,200 homes.

Due to the strength of applications in the ESRC IAA category, this year it was decided to award two Judges’ Choice Awards.

Winner: Dr Danielle Beswick
Danielle’s ESRC IAA funding has allowed her to work closely and build relationships with the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development (IDC) to improve access to Select Committee evidence-giving for under-represented groups. From this project, there is evidence that IDC staff and evidence providers are changing their working methods to provide more effective scrutiny of UK aid.

Winner: Dr Tarsem Singh Cooner
Tarsem used his ESRC IAA funds to create easily-accessible, multi-sensory 360-degree immersive apps as training materials for established and trainee social workers. He has worked with social work service users, practitioners and managers to foster relationships and develop the dissemination of the apps, which are now gathering interest within multiple Local Authorities as part of their training and CPD offers.