ESRC announces finalists for prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize

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The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is pleased to announce the finalists for its Celebrating Impact Prize 2020.

The 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
  • research users.

Awards ceremony

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 ESRC 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, University College London
    • Adolescent mental health: improving young people’s lives using evidence from national cohort data
  • Professor Marianne Hester, University of Bristol
    • Justice, inequality and gender-based violence
  • Professor Yvonne Jewkes, University of Bath
    • Humanity, hope, rehabilitation: Changing thinking about women offenders through prison design
  • Professor Richard Layard, London School of Economics
    • Public policies for employment, skills, wellbeing and mental health
  • Dr Anna Remington, University College London Institute of Education
    • Enhancing the employment of autistic individuals
  • Professor Alice Sullivan, University College London 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, 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.

Further information

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, ESRC
  • Sufina Ahmad, Director, John Ellerman Foundation
  • John Young, Executive Director, INASP.

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