College recognises pioneering research benefitting society


The College of Social Sciences was thrilled to host a presentation to recognise the outstanding contribution of our researchers to society on Wednesday 21 June 2017. With categories covering early career researchers, business and policy, there were a wide range of different projects acknowledged.

Of particular note are the winners of the Outstanding Impact Judges’ Choice Prize, Professor Monder Ram and Professor Kiran Trehan, who have also just received a 2017 Economic and Social Research Council Impact Prize for their work with the Enterprise and Diversity Alliance.

Professor Saul Becker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences, said, “As social scientists, our work can have a tremendous benefit to the lives of those around us. Our research – as well as our collaborations with organisations like Citizens UK – plays a key role in this. Birmingham has a proud tradition of using research to inform practice and I am delighted to award these prizes to some of our leading researchers.

Full details of the awards and projects are as follows:

Outstanding Impact in Business and Enterprise Prize

This prize recognises outstanding research which has brought about impact with business and enterprise.

Winner: Chris Lonsdale and Joe Sanderson, Facilitating International Innovation and Change at Rolls-Royce plc (Civil Aerospace Division)

Insightful application of research into buyer-supplier power and supplier behaviour in supply chains enabled Chris and Joe to develop a research-led competence development programme and provide business strategy support at Rolls-Royce. The improvements achieved through the programme have been felt across organisations, internationally, and can be valued in multiples of £100 million.

Highly commended: The Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM), Financial inclusion

The advice and contributions that CHASM has provided to policy makers, national reviews, select committees, and media providers have shaped the debate and approaches taken in recommendations, party manifestos and industry guidelines around financial inclusion and responsible lending.

Outstanding Impact in Public Policy Prize

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

Winner: The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues

The Jubilee Centre has achieved significant impact on education policy and practise in the UK and internationally. The Jubilee Centre has informed government policy on character education, developed and delivered a range of teaching resources, informed teaching practise with a MOOC, and shaped public debate on character education with a high impact media presence.

Highly commended: Karen Newbigging, Mental health and advocacy

Karen leads the West Midlands Mental Health Commission, which has been the driving force behind change in addressing the impact of poor mental health on individuals and the economy in the local area.

CoSS research prize ceremony

Outstanding Impact in Society Prize

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

Winner: The Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS), Refugees in Europe – from departure to settlement

IRiS is addressing the human, social and economic challenges presented across Europe by the refugee crisis by positively shaping policy and practice at a national and local level. This research is profoundly important in tackling one of, if not, the single biggest social and humanitarian crisis affecting the EU. IRiS is changing the way refugees are perceived and provided for through a combination of training tools and policy recommendations.

Highly commended: Monder Ram and Kiran Trehan, Enterprise and Diversity Alliance (EDA)

The EDA is internationally-recognised for its work on promoting minority entrepreneurship and is the only nationally-recognised resource or entity that promotes good practice in respect of diversity and enterprise.

Highly commended: The Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER), Transforming Educational Practice in Autism

ACER has been effective in enhancing the skills, knowledge and understanding of researchers, practitioners and individuals with autism through knowledge co-creation both nationally and internationally.

Outstanding International Impact Prize

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

Winner: Nick Lemay-Hébert, Working Towards A Resolution: Haiti, Cholera and the UN

Nick has worked closely with the Institute of Justice and Democracy in Haiti on the cholera crisis in Haiti. This work led to numerous high-level officials joining forces to elaborate a three-pronged framework for the resolution of the crisis. This framework respects the ability of the UN to operate in a difficult environment while allowing the rights of victims to be heard and compensated when harm is done.

Highly commended: Nathan Hughes,Applying developmental neuroscience to criminal justice policy: neurodevelopmental disability and young adult maturation

Nathan’s work on informing criminal justice policy and practice on developmental neuroscience has influenced debates and the approaches of practitioners through dissemination and training internationally, including in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Nations.

Outstanding Early Career Impact Prize

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.

Nominees in this category must be no more than five years post-PhD submission.

Winner: Andy Hodder, Union renewal in the UK

Andy’s research has led to him providing strategic advice leading to crucial strategy and structural changes across one of the UK’s largest Trades unions, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS). This work has also informed the international debate around young people’s engagement with trade unions.

Highly commended: Halima Sacranie, The Empty Homes Community Grants Programme Research Legacy Impact Project

Halima’s work with stakeholders has worked towards the restoration of the £50 million government Empty Homes Community Grants Programme and the establishment of community-led and self-help housing schemes.

Outstanding ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Project Prize

This prize recognises a CoSS researcher/team that has made excellent use of funds provided by the ESRC IAA. This is a closed process restricted to existing IAA award holders and is sponsored by the ESRC IAA.

Winner: Christalla Yakinthou, Multiple IAA projects: Engaging Children and Youth in Transitional Justice Processes: Building Impact out of the Kenyan Experience, Writing The Unvoiced: Women’s stories of Repression In Tunisia, Assisting the Cyprus Peace Negotiations

Christalla’s different projects have made significant contributions to truth-seeing and transitional justice systems in a variety of contexts. Her projects have influenced practice and policy in Kenya, negotiations between Greece and Cyprus and have given Tunisian women a voice after almost 60 years of political violence.

Highly commended: Lisa Goodson, No Recourse to Public Funding Regional Development and Reception and integration for refugees undergoing resettlement: knowledge exchange training and toolkit

Lisa’s projects have broadened knowledge about, and perceptions of, refugees integrating in the UK and specific issues they face. Lisa’s work has highlighted the need for training on the frontline and also the wider ramifications for local government in fulfilling the responsibility to support incoming refugees.

Highly commended: Monder Ram and Kiran Trehan, On A Different Scale: A New Era For The Enterprise And Diversity Alliance

Through developing a mentoring programme, securing high profile members and reaching new audiences, Monder and Kiran were able to raise the profile of the EDA and take advantage of the further policy and practice influence opportunities this offered them.

Outstanding Impact Judges’ Choice Prize

This prize recognises a researcher/team whose nomination in one of the above categories made a significant impression on the judging panel.

Winner: Monder Ram and Kiran Trehan, Enterprise and Diversity Alliance (EDA)

As shown by their strong nominations in two prize categories, Monder and Kiran’s commitment to developing the EDA and their astute use of funding has seen the EDA go from strength to strength, enabling it to bring about changes in attitude and practice nationally. The EDA fills a policy void, and is ensuring that social science research ‘makes a difference’ to a wide range of stakeholders.