Outstanding Impact in Public Policy Award

Professor Kevin Morgan and Dr Roberta Sonnino were awarded the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prize in the Public Policy category.

Their research has 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. It has 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. Professor Morgan and Dr Sonnino have been invited to present at a range of high-level policy and practice events in Europe, North America and Brazil, turning the UK’s public policies into a referencepoint for school food reformers around the globe, including the UN’s World Food Programme.

Dr Sonnino said: "The value of this research lies primarily in the ways in which it has enabled the school food policy community at local and national levels to understand the key components of a healthier and more sustainable school food system. Far from being a purely conceptual innovation, the research was also instrumental in re-shaping legislation and enabling behavioural change by exposing policy-makers and professional practitioners to good practice in and beyond the UK".  

Professor Morgan said: "It’s a great honour to win this ESRC award because all researchers hope that their research will have a positive impact beyond the academy. The key aim of our project was to offer a robust analysis of what was wrong with the conventional school food system in the UK and to visualise a more sustainable school food system by drawing on the experience of innovative municipalities from elsewhere in Europe and North America. I hope the award helps to put Cardiff University on the research impact map because many of our colleagues are doing equally valuable research and one hopes they’ll get the credit that they deserve".    

The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize is a new, annual opportunity to recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved, or are currently achieving, outstanding economic and/or societal impacts. The prize celebrates outstanding ESRC research and success in collaborative working, partnerships, engagement and knowledge exchange activities that have led to significant impact. The award for Outstanding Impact in Public Policy recognised research that has contributed to the development of UK public policy, at the local, regional or national level.


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