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The University of Southampton

Centre for Population Change wins ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize

Published: 12 November 2020
Centre for Population Change
Researcy by the CPC explores what demographic change means for society and people living in it.

Professor Jane Falkingham and her colleagues from the Centre for Population Change (CPC) at the University of Southampton are the winners of this year’s ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize for Outstanding Public Policy Impact.

CPC researchers have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to public policy which have improved estimates of the current and future population of the UK, and provided national and local policymakers, planners and businesses with better evidence for policies and services.

The full CPC team nominated for the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize includes Professor Falkingham, Professor Maria Evandrou, Professor Ann Berrington, Professor Jakub Bijak, Professor Corrado Giulietti, Professor Peter W F Smith, Professor Athina Vlachantoni, Professor Jackline Wahba, Teresa McGowan and Becki Dey.

“We’re delighted that we have won for the 2020 ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize,” said Professor Falkingham, CPC Director and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.  “I am proud to be the Director of the Centre and grateful to a fantastic team of researchers for their many innovations and efforts in improving lives through their research. I extend my congratulations to each of them in achieving this award.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Professor Mark E Smith, congratulated the CPC team on their achievement.

“It is my great pleasure to offer my warmest congratulations to Professor Jane Falkingham and her many colleagues associated with the Centre for Population Change on winning this very important award.  As a University, where we believe we do remarkable things aimed at changing the world for the better, it is through awards such as this we get external verification of our standing. Well done to all of those involved."


From its outset, CPC researchers have worked closely with the ONS to ensure their work addresses the most relevant policy topics. As a result, recent research has focused quickly on the complex problems posed by COVID-19, offering timely evidence on issues as wide-ranging as the virus’s impact on existing socio-economic inequalities to the positive benefits of lockdown for parent-child relationships.

The CPC team have also led in the development of more effective estimates of excess mortality due to COVID-19. Their estimates take account of changing population structures and long-term trends in mortality. More accurate estimation is crucial in determining the effect of the present pandemic and its differing impacts within the population, and CPC is working closely with ONS to ensure the methods are applied.

Centre researchers have worked with the ONS to develop better measures of the three drivers of population change – fertility, mortality and migration – with CPC’s population projections and estimates related to these areas being used to:

  • Improve fertility estimation for local authorities, creating a better means to predict demand for key services such as school places, including nursery and early years learning, as well as maternity services;
  • Develop new methodology for estimating life expectancy at older ages which has informed the way pension, life and health insurance products are priced as well as helping people better plan their pension and care needs;
  • Reintroduce post-study work visas for international students following a CPC, ONS and Universities UK collaboration that helped to revise inaccurate figures on international student out-migration, improve understanding of student mobility and allay concerns about non-compliance with student visas.

To date, CPC has informed population-relevant discussions at more than 90 events with civil servants and policy-makers in government and local authorities, delivered 77 policy briefings, and produced 59 reports with, and for, intergovernmental organisations including the United Nations, government and European departments, local councils and charities.

The Centre for Population Change is funded by the ESRC and a is partnership between the Universities of Southampton, St. Andrews, and Stirling, in collaboration with the Office for National Statistics and the National Records of Scotland.

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The CPC team behind the 2020 ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize: Professor Jane Falkingham, Professor Maria Evandrou, Professor Ann Berrington, Professor Jakub Bijak, Professor Corrado Giulietti, Professor Peter W F Smith, Professor Athina Vlachantoni, Professor Jackline Wahba, Teresa McGowan, Becki Dey
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