ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize


Winners and finalists: 2013


Outstanding impact in business

Winner: Professor Paula Jarzabkowski, City University

Project: Tackling systemic risk in the re-insurance industry

As a result of three interlinked projects funded collaboratively by ESRC and industry, Professor Paula Jarzabkowski has had global business impact on the re-insurance industry. She identified a potential systemic risk and developed a suite of tools to diagnose industry change and enable firms to address changes through improved strategic positioning, relationship management, risk analysis and risk trading.

Outstanding impact in society

Winner: Professor Cathy Nutbrown, The University of Sheffield

Project: Helping parents with children’s literacy

Professor Cathy Nutbrown worked with 20 early-years practitioners to adapt the family literacy framework ORIM (Opportunities, Recognition, Interaction and Modelling). Practitioner workshops enabled the families they were working with to raise children’s literacy achievements. The original 20 practitioners shared their work resulting in around 300 practitioners getting involved, between them reaching 6,000 families.

Outstanding impact in public policy

Winner: Professor Kevin Morgan and Dr Roberta Sonnino, Cardiff University

Project: Making school food sustainable

Professor Kevin Morgan and Dr Roberta Sonnino have highlighted the potential of public procurement to promote sustainability, by focusing on local authorities that were spearheading school food reform in the UK and Italy. Their research analysed and inspired the reform of public policy at national and local levels in England, Scotland and Wales, and is now having a wider impact on procurement policy across the public sector.

Outstanding international impact

Winner: Professor Fulong Wu, University College London

Project: Old villages in a new China

Professor Fulong Wu’s research has explored a socially sustainable form of urbanisation and integration of rural migrants in urban China, and he continues to work at the forefront of impacts on Chinese urban and planning policies. It is generating impacts instrumental in urban redevelopment planning and village improvement programmes, reframing debates and enhancing research and professional capacities in the country.

Outstanding early career impact

Winner: Dr John Jerrim, Institute of Education

Project: Investigating school rankings

Dr John Jerrim has influenced how statistical evidence on educational achievement is presented to the British public by government departments and policymakers. His research investigated the claim that England has fallen down the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings of school pupils’ academic achievement. He concluded that England’s apparent declining performance on international tests is not a statistically robust finding and that public policy should not be based upon these claims.

Impact champion of the year

Winner: Professor Alan Walker, University of Sheffield

Project: Impact Champion of the Year: Professor Alan Walker

Professor Alan Walker has an exemplary career-long record in championing impact. He was most recently demonstrated as the central aim of the New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) Programme, in capacity-building among researchers at all stages of their careers, pioneering new approaches and in achieving direct impact, particularly in the policy field. Professor Walker’s dedication to impact has proved inspirational across a wide range of disciplines as well as among non-researchers.


Outstanding impact in business

Finalist: Professor Mary Rose, Dr Eleanor Hamilton and team, Lancaster University

Project: Helping small business grow

Professor Mary Rose and Dr Eleanor Hamilton, founders of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development at the Lancaster University Management School, explored how universities establish productive knowledge exchange relationships with SMEs. The team implemented the ‘in residence’ model to enhance business engagement and developed the Leading Enterprise and Development Programme, now delivered across the UK.

Outstanding impact in society

Finalist: Professor Helen Ball, Durham University

Professor Helen Ball has addressed how the care behaviour and environment associated with infant sleep is understood by parents, health professionals, policymakers and those who advise these groups.

She has collaborated with research user organisations for the Infant Sleep Information Source (ISIS) project, an authoritative online resource to support ongoing education and engagement.

Outstanding impact in public policy

Finalists: Dr Rebecca Whittle, Dr Will Medd, Dr Marion Walker, Dr Hugh Deeming and team, Lancaster University

The Hull Floods Project team at Lancaster University has transformed policymakers’ understanding and management of the human impacts of the flood recovery process. The team had continued engagement with policymakers and practitioners and produced innovative training materials.

Outstanding international impact

Finalist: Dr Emla Fitzsimons and team, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Dr Fitzsimons and her team designed a programme to improve development in early childhood in Colombia, with weekly home visits to mothers with children aged one-to-two years carried out by local women.

The findings have transformed the Early Childhood Development policy of the Peruvian government, set to reach 135,000 children across the poorest districts of Peru by 2016.

Outstanding early career impact

Finalist: Mr Richard Murphy, Centre for Economic Performance

Mr Richard Murphy collaborated with the Sutton Trust to produce a report that summarised research on teacher quality and the effect on pupils, and methods of measuring teacher effectiveness.

As a result, the recommendations were accepted by the government, influencing the decision of the Secretary of State for Education to give schools the freedom to set pay in line with performance and to heighten the selectivity of teacher training routes.

Impact champion of the year

Finalist: Professor Matthew Flinders, University of Sheffield

Professor Flinders’ research has underpinned government policy and his writing and broadcasting have stimulated major public debates within and beyond the UK.

He has also played a key role in supporting the social and political sciences in skills development and professional linkages.

His impact-based teaching led him to design the first ever module to be formally accredited and co-taught by the Houses of Parliament.

Last updated: 17 August 2023

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.