We provide funding for knowledge exchange activities through Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs). ESRC IAAs are block awards made to 24 research organisations to accelerate the impact of research. We have awarded a further £7 million to continue to support social science led knowledge exchange and impact activities to March 2019. This investment will build on the progress achieved through the IAAs at 24 UK universities since 2014, adding to nearly £18 million already invested. 

IAAs allow Research Organisations to respond to social science knowledge exchange opportunities in more flexible, responsive and creative ways. The support from IAAs enables Research Organisations to provide funding for knowledge exchange (KE) activities in ways that best suit their institutional strategies and opportunities. This funding is complementary to other routes of funding, such as Pathways to Impact, which will remain the primary mechanism through which we expect opportunities for KE and impact from our research to be funded. Our IAAs have also successfully supported strategic KE and impact projects through Global Challenges Research Fund and Brexit/Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund calls.

Key areas

The IAA funding is being used flexibly and rapidly to support the following key areas:

  • Building relationships and networks with potential users of research to facilitate co-production of knowledge and maximise impact
  • Movement and secondment of people between research organisations and user stakeholders
  • Support for researchers to build networks with potential users of the products of their research, and further work to establish ‘proof of concept’ for their innovations
  • Supporting culture change in research organisations to promote knowledge exchange and improve related skill sets and capabilities
  • Improving engagement with the public sector, civil society, industry (including SMEs and Social Enterprises, local business and Innovate UK) and publics.

Research organisations that have been awarded IAAs

IAAs have been awarded to the 24 research organisations listed below. Partners interested in accessing and developing opportunities available through IAAs should approach these organisations directly.

Research organisation-funded IAA

In November 2015, Leeds Social Sciences Institute launched a University of Leeds-funded Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), which was developed in association with the ESRC.

ESRC IAAs Strategic Review

We reviewed our IAAs to inform future re-commissioning, to identify successes and future developments in the model and to understand how they enable impact from social science and more widely.