The winners of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) annual Celebrating Impact Prize, in partnership with SAGE, have been announced at an awards ceremony held at Central Hall Westminster on the 24 June 2015.

The prizes were awarded to researchers whose work has had a substantial impact on society, from helping victims of violence to securing funding for UK businesses.

The winners were awarded £10,000 to further the impact of their research. Second prize winners received £5,000, also to invest in impact activities.

Professor Jane Elliott, Chief Executive at the ESRC said:

“I would like to thank all those researchers recognised at this year’s Impact Prize Awards ceremony for their important work. In the ESRC's 50th anniversary year, they have reminded us of how much social science research can contribute to transforming our society for the better.”

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

“From changing the way dementia is treated to improving living standards, economic and social science has made a huge difference to the health and wellbeing of our society over the last 50 years. The ESRC’s Celebrating Impact Prize rightly awards some of the greatest contributors to this field. My congratulations go out to all this year’s winners.”

The evening was hosted by BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Laurie Taylor, and prizes were presented by speakers including Ziyad Marar, Global Publishing Director at SAGE, Dr Alan Gillespie, Chair of the ESRC Council, Paul Grice, Clerk and Chief Executive of the Scottish Parliament, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Science and Policy, and Professor Jane Elliott, CEO of the ESRC.

There were five categories in the prize and a separate 2015 Impact Champion prize. The winners and runners up were:

Early Career (sponsored by SAGE)

First prize winner: Dr Jennifer Doyle, Trafford Housing Trust
Dr Jennifer Doyle’s research is helping the social housing sector foster social change in deprived communities through improvements in measuring, monitoring and evaluating social impact.

Second prize winner: Dr Oliver Owen, University of Oxford
Dr Oliver Owen’s five-year fieldwork study within the Nigerian Police Force is providing unique research evidence for reforms aimed at improving police performance, effectiveness and accountability.


First prize winner: Professor Colin Mason, University of Glasgow and Professor Richard Harrison, University of Edinburgh
Research by Professors Colin Mason and Richard Harrison over the past 25 years has played a crucial role in stimulating business angel investment worth £750 million a year in the UK, and ensuring government support for this key source of entrepreneurial finance.


First prize winner: Dr Jane Dyson, University of Oxford
Dr Jane Dyson’s documentary on the challenges facing young people in the Indian Himalayas has reached school children, students and policymakers worldwide.

Second prize winner: Professor Ian Scoones, University of Sussex
Professor Ian Scoones’ 15-year study of rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe has successfully transformed understanding of the impact of the 2000 land reform, leading to policy shifts within the region and internationally.

Public Policy

First prize winner: Dr Aisha K Gill from the University of Roehampton
Dr Aisha K. Gill’s pioneering research on violence against women, ‘honour’ crimes and forced marriage has improved support for victims, enabled better prevention strategies, raised awareness and increased the successful prosecution of perpetrators.

Second prize winner: Dr Victoria Lavis, University of Bradford
Research by Dr Victoria Lavis has shaped a new national equalities policy framework and new policies and guidance for the care and management of transgender offenders.


Joint first prize winner: Professor Jenny Kitzinger, Cardiff University and Professor Celia Kitzinger, University of York.
Professors Jenny Kitzinger and Celia Kitzinger achieved outstanding impact by producing a much-needed online resource supporting relatives of patients in long-term coma states.

Joint first prize winner: Dr Hester Parr, University of Glasgow
A unique study led by Dr Hester Parr has improved the way UK police officers relate to missing persons and transformed policing guidance on the handling of missing persons and their families.

Impact Champion

Professor Charlie Jeffery, University of Edinburgh
With his long term commitment over successive research initiatives to maximising impact opportunities for his own research and that of colleagues and collaborators, Professor Charlie Jeffery, ESRC Impact Champion of 2015 is a model of leadership in the social sciences.