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Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account

Our Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) enables our researchers to have positive impact that improves outcomes for individuals, advances society and strengthens the economy across the UK and beyond.

We allocate funds to accelerate the impact of our research projects through partnerships with public, private and third sector organisations, supporting secondments, events, and training. The success of our partnerships can be seen in the fact that half of our completed projects have led to further work with partners.

Since 2018, £1.2 million has improved the take-up of social science research by a range of end users including policy makers and external organisations, leading to outcomes, such as improved decision-making in emergency situations with the National Fire Chiefs Council and shaping electoral reform in the Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament.

We support the communication of our research to a broad and diverse range of communities through our annual Festival of Social Sciences as part of a large network of ESRC IAA partners celebrating the work of social sciences across the UK.


Projects funded

We have funded 141 projects.



We have worked with 210 partners.


Documented policy changes

ESRC projects have inspired more than 50 documented policy changes.


  • engage with, and support, the ESRC research community to share knowledge, good practice and technologies that arise from social sciences research
  • assist in ensuring that public, private, third sector and/or communities can engage with social science research, enabling impact to be achieved more readily
  • identify and support high quality collaborations and partnerships
  • expand the capacity of social sciences academics, students and professional services staff to make a difference in the world


  • increased numbers of researchers with the skills, motivation and experience to undertake knowledge exchange
  • increased impact literacy of participating academics at all career stages, further strengthening our impact and innovation culture
  • increased awareness of university research in, and benefit to, external organisations and communities in our region and globally
  • sustainable relationships with a broader range of external organisations who work with the university: from collaborative research to consultancy and knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs), to becoming core partners with our innovation campus communities located in sbarc|spark
  • enhanced public engagement through events, such as our annual Summer of Innovation Fayre, resources and tool kits developed with partners and cohort training and masterclasses


Between 2018 and 2023, we had £1.2 million of ESRC funding. We used this to launch 3 to 4 funding calls a year for 4 categories of projects:

The next call launches on the 9 May 2023. The deadline for applications is 12 July 2023. Projects will commence in October 2023 for a duration of up to 12 months.

Type of  fundDescriptionInitial fund amount
InitiatorSeed funding designed to develop new collaborations

Up to £4,000


Funding to assist with engaging the public and industry in your research through events

Up to £3,000

AcceleratorFunding to catalyse partnerships and accelerate projects to outcomes

Up to £30,000

Placements Funding to allow external partners and researchers to work together either within industry or a Cardiff University setting

Up to £15,000

Rapid ResponseA responsive-mode scheme that is open all year round for spontaneous impact-related activity.Up to £3,000

Additional support

We were successful in bidding for additional social science innovation support through two related ESRC IAA funds.

CRoSS is early-stage commercialisation funding to test, de-risk or show the commercial potential of new research ideas. Made possible by ESRC IAA top-up funding, the university hosted its first ever social sciences pitching event, Devils’ Den, in 2022. Participants pitched their ideas for the opportunity to secure £5,000 to scale up their research and progress it along the commercialisation pathway to impact.

The ESRC IAA is currently offering additional funding of up to £5,000. Staff can find out more on the application process and training opportunities on the ESRC intranet page.

A partnership between the university and the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR), the Local Acceleration Fund is one of only 11 ESRC-funded programmes funded across the United Kingdom to boost local and regional growth, innovation and resilience. The Cardiff Local Acceleration Fund (LAF), in partnership with the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University, has successfully secured seven mini-placement opportunities for early career researchers to work with local innovation communities to tackle local challenges, such as tackling food poverty and sustainable housing.

Case studies

families leave Paris

Reshaping perceptions of the Second World War in France

Individuals’ personal experiences are central to new understandings of this crucial period in history.

Principality Stadium

Improving the environmental impact of major events

Our interdisciplinary team of researchers developed an evaluative toolkit to make sporting and cultural events more sustainable.

Strategic Lead

Dr Dawn Knight is the Strategic Lead for the ESRC IAA and is supported by Sophie Jones, ESRC IAA Manager and Vicky Edwards, Impact Officer.

Contact us

Impact and Engagement Team