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The University of Southampton

Funding to accelerate the impact of Southampton’s social sciences research

Published: 1 February 2019
ESRC award-winner Denise Baden
Dr Denise Baden’s Eco Hair and Beauty project led her to receive an ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize.

Social science researchers at the University of Southampton will benefit from a major funding boost thanks to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Southampton’s new ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) award, totalling just over £1 million – part of an overall funding pot worth £27 million - will help social scientists continue to collaborate with businesses, policymakers and other influencers and stakeholders to speed up the impact of their research on society and the economy.

Over the last four years, the University has used its IAA funding in social sciences to create secondments, business development and engagement projects, and training for researchers with excellent results. For example, thanks to IAA funding, Associate Professor Denise Baden from the Southampton Business School has introduced sustainable practices to reduce the carbon footprint and cut costs in the UK’s £6.2bn hairdressing industry. Dr Baden’s Eco Hair and Beauty project has been so influential, it led her to receive the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize for 2018 for Outstanding Impact in Business and Enterprise.

The fund also supported Dr Judith Joseph, Senior Research-Enterprise Fellow in Psychology, and her POWeR study – Positive Online Weight Reduction – creating an online weight management tool with Changing Health Ltd which benefitted from a pump prime project which resulted in a license deal.  Changing Health has also recently closed a £3 million investment round.

Professor Will Jennings, Chair of the IAA, said “This award will enable the world-leading social science research being conducted at the University to make a real difference in addressing some of the major challenges facing societies, industry and governments across the world." He added "The IAA will be looking to achieve a step-change in that puts impact at the centre of our research and staff development – giving researchers the tools and inspiration to make important contributions to society and economy from the local to the global levels.”

“We’re very proud to have been successful in receiving this award,” said Diana Galpin, Head of Technology Transfer & Impact Programmes at the University of Southampton. “We have ambitious plans for taking our activities forward to stimulate social entrepreneurship and business engagement, making real impact from the research we undertake. We are also looking to benefit from the synergies with other IAAs and programmes at the University to foster some exciting interdisciplinary approach to solving grand challenges.” 

Southampton also has IAA awards from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and a Confidence in Concept award from the Medical Research Council (MRC).  

Contact the University's Impact Funding Team for further information on opportunities for collaboration.  



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