Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Accelerate the impact of your organisation’s social science research

Apply for ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding to accelerate the impact of your organisation’s economic and social science research.

Your organisation must be eligible for ESRC funding.

This is an open opportunity for funding which will start in April 2023 and will last until March 2028.

The full economic cost of your project is fixed at £250,000 per year (£1,250,000 for five years). ESRC will fund 100% of the full economic cost.

We will be running a webinar to support applicants in May 2022.

Who can apply

Institutional level leads can apply for ESRC IAA funding. Your organisation must be eligible for ESRC funding.

Standard UKRI eligibility criteria apply to this funding opportunity. However, you must be based in the UK.

Through the IAA funding, ESRC will continue to support the best opportunities for impact irrespective of how the original research was funded.

Each research organisation will need to demonstrate a significant research base in ESRC’s remit areas in order to be competitive.

What we're looking for

Apply for institutional funding to unlock the impact of your organisation’s economic and social sciences research.

This is an open funding opportunity which will start in April 2023 and will last until March 2028.

IAAs are strategic awards provided to research organisations to allow them to respond to impact opportunities in flexible, responsible and creative ways.

Responsibility for management of IAAs is devolved to the research organisation, to design and deliver activities that best suit their institutional strategies and opportunities.

The awards are intended to add value to existing funding and take advantage of new or unforeseen opportunities to facilitate the realisation of impact.

Funding available

The total budget for each successful applicant is £1,250,000 for five years.

The maximum available per application is £250,000 per year.

This is a fixed budget and applicants are expected to apply for the full amount.


We will be running webinars to support applicants on:

  • 9 May 2022 at 16:00 UK time
  • 18 May 2022 at 11:00 UK time.

Please email to register for these events and for more information.

Strategic aims

IAA funding must be used to achieve the common set of UKRI aims for IAAs and the specific ESRC ones.

UKRI aims:

  • to strengthen engagement with users in order to accelerate the translation of research outputs into impacts
  • to support, develop and foster strategic partnerships for knowledge exchange and impact, including across disciplines and sectors
  • to build and maintain an environment and culture which enables effective and ambitious knowledge exchange and impact, including development of skills, capacity and capability within research organisations
  • to provide early-stage support for progressing research outputs towards the next stages in the impact pipeline, for example proof of concept projects, commercialisation, market validation or activities targeting policy, business and the third sectors
  • to drive continuous improvement in impact by supporting innovation, enabling ‘fast failure’ and capturing learning through appropriate mechanisms
  • to empower institutions with flexible and adaptive approaches to knowledge exchange and impact, including the ability to respond quickly to emerging opportunities.

ESRC aims:

  • to develop institutional capacity and capability in commercialisation of social sciences
  • to strengthen and build on connections between research and local public policy organisations (public, third and private sector) and communities, delivering co developed and co-designed local public policy knowledge exchange that is impactful for places and partners
  • to work with the Doctoral Training Partnerships to support the development of knowledge exchange and impact skills, including to identify and develop opportunities for high-quality student placements and collaborative studentships
  • to demonstrate how longer-term support for and sustainability of Knowledge Exchange or impact support would be maintained.

Alignment of IAA

Following the 2021 opportunity for IAAs from five councils, ESRC are encouraging research organisations to take advantage of the strategic opportunities afforded by alignment of IAA awards across the disciplines. We are using the same application and monitoring processes as the other councils.

The internal alignment may include:

  • opportunities to fund impact or translational activities across discipline boundaries
  • running parallel internal opportunities
  • expanding culture change or training activities
  • sharing common impact and translational mechanisms.

Research organisations (including independent research organisations) which already hold other council IAAs will be asked to explain their approach to harmonisation within the application (see ‘how to apply’ for more information).

UKRI recognises that opportunities for alignment may not always be obvious or accessible for all research organisations depending on discipline strengths and on the award of other council IAAs.

Applications will not be disadvantaged if the ESRC IAA would be the sole award held.

Institutional level application coordination

We are seeking institutional level applications that support knowledge exchange, user, policy and third sector engagement, translation and early-stage commercialisation.

Applications must be coordinated at an institutional level.

You need to demonstrate the value of IAAs to your whole institution’s strategy and maximise opportunities to bring together approaches.

IAAs should also retain sensitivity to the needs of different research and innovation communities.

Activities and costs

IAA funding can be used to support a wide range of activities that fall within the IAA strategic aims, including:

  • engaging users and forging strategic partnerships
  • building internal capability and culture
  • progressing commercial opportunities.

This will depend on what best fits the strategic aims and opportunities of your eligible organisation.

A full description of the activities and costs that IAA funding supports can be found in the permitted activities and costs document (PDF, 132KB).

Equality, diversity inclusion, and responsible innovation

Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion is an integral part of UKRI’s vision to deliver new knowledge and an enriched, healthier, more sustainable and resilient society and culture, and to contribute to a more prosperous economy.

Responsible innovation is also an integral part of our vision and we expect applicants to consider the benefits, but also potential negative impacts from their activities.

Details of your institutional approach to equality, diversity inclusion, and responsible innovation are requested in the application.

How to apply

The funding opportunity will close on Je-S at 16:00 on 16 June 2022 and it will not be possible to submit to the opportunity after this time.

Please complete one application on behalf of your organisation.

You should apply via the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system completing the sections and attaching a single copy of the application template (Word, 80KB).

The application is in two sections. The first section is an institutional section covering the research organisation strategy and aspects of leadership and management. If you have previously developed an institutional response for the 2021 IAA opportunity, then you may use this again here if you feel it is relevant.

The second section asks for economic and social sciences discipline specific information. Use the template on page two for this part.

Application guidance

There is a guidance document to help you complete your application (PDF, 165KB).

Opportunities for alignment between council IAAs will be assessed as appropriate, but applications will not be disadvantaged by not being able to support multiple IAAs.

How we will assess your application

We will use a panel comprising academics, knowledge exchange professionals and research users and assess against the following criteria:

  • quality and appropriateness of approach
  • use of existing resources, strengths and relationships
  • engagement and stakeholder management
  • effective management
  • delivering and demonstrating impact.

Further information can be found in the assessment criteria guidance (PDF, 128KB).

Contact details

Ask about this funding opportunity


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