ESRC announces finalists for prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize


ESRC is pleased to announce the finalists for its Celebrating Impact Prize 2020.

The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize, now in its eighth year, is an annual opportunity to recognise and celebrate the success of ESRC-funded researchers in achieving and enabling outstanding economic or societal impact from excellent research.

Entrants’ applications were reviewed by a panel of academics, engagement and knowledge exchange experts, and research users. Shortlisted applicants were invited to an interview, along with non-academic supporters who helped describe the impact of the work. All finalists have been invited to a virtual awards ceremony on 12 November 2020 when the winners will be announced.

ESRC’s Executive Chair, Professor Jennifer Rubin, said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for the UK’s world-leading economists and social scientists to be recognised for how their work improves lives for a wide range of people both in the UK and in other countries, from how children are taught to read, to innovative tools helping insure Ugandan farmers, or how victims of gender-based violence can experience justice.

Their impacts are impressive and far-reaching and I’m proud that the Economic and Social Research Council has funded this work, and that it can be fully recognised through our prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize.”

The finalists are: 

  • Professor Emla Fitzsimons and Dr Praveetha Patalay of UCL, Adolescent mental health: improving young people’s lives using evidence from national cohort data
  • Professor Marianne Hester of the University of Bristol, Justice, inequality and gender-based violence
  • Professor Yvonne Jewkes of the University of Bath, Humanity, Hope, Rehabilitation: Changing thinking about women offenders through prison design
  • Professor Richard Layard of the London School of Economic, Public policies for employment, skills, wellbeing and mental health
  • Dr Anna Remington of UCL Institute of Education, Enhancing the employment of autistic individuals
  • Professor Alice Sullivan of UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Reading for pleasure boosts cognitive development: research findings that underpin educational practice and literacy campaigns
  • Professor Arjan Verschoor and Professor Ben D’Exelle of the University of East Anglia, Insuring previously uninsurable poor farmers in Uganda
  • Team application: Ending the Reading Wars (Professor Kathy Rastle, Royal Holloway University of London; Professor Kate Nation, University of Oxford; Professor Anne Castles, Macquarie University), Bringing the Science of Reading to Reading Instruction in Classrooms around the World
  • Team application: ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton(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), Improving data: Strengthening the evidence base for policy

All finalists will have a film professionally made about their work and its impact, and winners are awarded £10,000 to spend on further knowledge exchange, public engagement or other communications activities.

Notes for editors

  1. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information visit The ESRC is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. 
  2. UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.0perating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £8 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the Arts and Humanities Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council; Innovate UK; Medical Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council; Research England; and Science and Technology Facilities Council. 
  3. ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize judging panel
    • Dr Grant Hill-Cawthorne, Head of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, UK Parliament
    • Irene Hardill, Professor of Public Policy, Northumbria University
    • Professor Alison Park, Director of Research, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
    • Sufina Ahmad, Director, John Ellerman Foundation
    • John Young, Executive Director of INASP

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