ESRC announces finalists for prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize 2022

Group of businesspeople sitting in a row and applauding

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is pleased to announce the finalists for its Celebrating Impact Prize 2022.

The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize, now in its 10th year, is an annual opportunity to recognise the success of ESRC-funded researchers in achieving and enabling outstanding economic or societal impact from their research.

In 2022, ESRC will award prizes for:

  • Outstanding Impact in Business and Enterprise
  • Outstanding Impact in Early Career
  • Outstanding Impact in International
  • Outstanding Impact in Public Policy
  • Outstanding Impact in Society
  • The John Hills Impact Prize 2022

Supporting a legacy

ESRC’s interim Executive Chair, Professor Alison Park, said:

The Economic and Social Research Council’s Celebrating Impact Prize competition is an opportunity to pay tribute to the UK’s world-leading economists and social scientists, highlighting how their work makes a difference to people and organisations in the UK and beyond.

2022 is a special year for the prize. We are marking the tenth year of the awards with a special category, the John Hills Impact Prize 2022, in memory of the late Professor Sir John Hills.

Throughout his research career, Sir John worked to bring social science evidence to bear on social policy and inequality, not least through his contribution to the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics, which he co-founded in 1997 and directed until 2016. We are supporting this legacy by awarding a prize in his name to a researcher who, like Sir John, has demonstrated significant impact over a sustained length of time.

The impacts of all the finalists are impressive. I am proud that the Economic and Social Research Council has funded this research, and that we can fully recognise and celebrate the significant impact it has achieved.

Awarding the prizes

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are a prominent theme among the finalists which cover a diverse array of topics, from environmental protection and conservation to regional inequality.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 2 November 2022. The Celebrating Impact Prize ceremony will take place as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science (FoSS), which will be marking its 20th year.

2022 Celebrating Impact Prize finalists

Professor Laura Bear, London School of Economics and Political Science

Project title: Introducing a social calculus of disadvantage to UK COVID-19 policy

Team application: Electoral Psychology Observatory


  • Professor Michael Bruter, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Dr Sarah Harrison, London School of Economics and Political Science

Project title: Optimising citizens’ electoral experience

Dr Pamela Buchan, University of Exeter

Project title: Prioritising marine citizenship for ocean recovery in policy and practice

Team application: Project 2.5: issues in the financing of higher education, Centre for Global Higher Education


  • Professor Lorraine Dearden, University College London
  • Professor Bruce Chapman, Australian National University

Project title: Transforming student loans for higher education in Colombia

Mr Winfred Dotse-Gborgbortsi, University of Southampton

Project title: Geospatial analysis for Ghanaian maternal healthcare delivery and international policy

Professor Susan Durbin, University of the West of England

Project title: Mentoring support for women through an industry-wide mentoring scheme

Team application: UCL COVID-19 Social Study team


  • Dr Daisy Fancourt, University College London
  • Jess Bone, University College London
  • Alexandra Bradbury, University College London
  • Dr Feifei Bu, University College London
  • Dr Alex Burton, University College London
  • Dr Meg Fluharty, University College London
  • Dr Karen Mak, University College London
  • Dr Tom May, University College London
  • Dr Alison McKinlay, University College London
  • Dr Elise Paul, University College London
  • Professor Andrew Steptoe, University College London
  • Dr Katey Warran, University College London
  • Dr Liam Wright, University College London

Project title: Providing real-time insight into the psychological impact of COVID-19 nationwide

Professor David Gadd, The University of Manchester

Project title: Shaping domestic abuse policy and practice

Professor Heather Joshi, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Project title: Informing policy by documenting generational change in social and gender inequality

Team application: Productivity Insights Network


  • Professor Philip McCann, The University of Manchester
  • Professor Tim Vorley, Oxford Brookes University

Project title: Productivity Insights Network and RM UK regional and urban inequalities

Professor Nicola McEwen, University of Edinburgh

Project title: Strengthening UK inter-governmental relations in an era of constitutional change

Professor Jane Millar, University of Bath

Project title: Social policy and the changing family in Britain

All finalists will have a film professionally made about their work and its impact.

Winners will also be awarded £10,000 to spend on further knowledge exchange, public engagement or other communications activities.

Top image:  Credit: AzmanL, E+ via Getty Images

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.