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University of Warwick research impact success recognised with continued funding from ESRC

Yellow Dust

  • Warwick one of 26 universities awarded funding for Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) to increase the social and economic impact of science
  • The Impact Acceleration Account funds collaborative projects in which social science researchers work with external stakeholders including policymakers, NGOs, businesses and public beneficiaries
  • This second round of investment is a welcome recognition of Warwick’s success in developing innovative ways to share the benefits of social science research

The University of Warwick is one of 26 UK universities receiving funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for its Impact Acceleration Account (IAA). The funding award was announced today [31] by the ESRC and followed a competitive, peer-reviewed process.

The IAA awards support building capacity, skills and culture around knowledge exchange within research organisations, as well as strengthening engagement opportunities with research users outside the academic world.

Success in this second round of IAA funding will enable the University to continue its successful programme of collaborative projects, aimed at applying social science research to real-world problems.

The first round of IAA funding, awarded in July 2014, supported more than 100 impact projects, including:-

  • The UK Gas Security Forum – Professor Mike Bradshaw, Warwick Business School.

    Professor Bradshaw created the UK Gas Security Forum - a network of academics, industry organisations, think tanks and NGOs involved in UK energy policy and the UK gas supply chain – to discuss the challenges facing UK gas security and the possible impacts of Brexit. The Forum co-produced three briefing papers and held a day-long conference in early 2018 'Brexit and future UK gas security', which fed into a final report examining the potential impact of Brexit on the future of UK gas security and identifies key issues that should be addressed in a post-Brexit ‘UK Gas Security Strategy’.
  • Targeting Prevention in Domestic Abuse Suicides – Professor Vanessa Munro, School of Law

Professor Munro worked with domestic violence charity, Refuge, analysing its case files of domestically abused women in order to explore the relationship between abuse and suicidality; and evaluate the adequacy of existing policies for protecting victims and punishing perpetrators. The resulting report, Adding insult to injury? The Criminal Law’s response to domestic abuse-related suicide in England and Wales (2018) has been widely praised for its potential to bring the issue of domestic abuse suicide into the public and political spotlight. Since the report’s launch, Professor Munro and Refuge have been approached by organisations who are working on suicide prevention strategies to explore lessons from the research.

  • Visualising Air Pollution - Dr Nerea Calvillo, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies

An innovative installation developed by to visualise air pollution was displayed at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017. The installation, Yellow Dust (pictured, above) aimed to change public attitudes towards the environment by presenting information about air pollution in a more evocative way than traditional means. Visitors walk through a giant water vapour cloud which changes in density and humidity to represent differing levels of air pollution. At the same time, a data projector helps to decode the information by displaying the same air quality data that the cloud is visualising. An ethnographer observed public reactions to Yellow Dust during the Biennale, as well as conducting face-to-face interviews, in order to understand how it made people think differently about air pollution. The results of the ethnography will be presented to policymakers and urban planners to encourage them to use visualisation as a more effective way of raising public awareness of the issue.

Following the success of the installation at the Biennale, the city of Seoul has decided to keep the installation for continued public use.

Professor Matthew Nudds, Chair of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Warwick, said: "We’re delighted to have been successful in this second wave of IAA funding.

“Today’s award will help social science researchers at Warwick to do even more to make a positive difference to society - locally, nationally and internationally.”

Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of ESRC said: “This next generation of IAA funding will enable research organisations to build the capacity, capability and opportunity for social scientists to play their part in ensuring the UK’s world leading research is brought to bear on the pressing social and economic challenges and opportunities we face.”


Notes to Editors

  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information visit

  • The ESRC is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective.

  • UK Research and Innovation is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

  • Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England.

  • In March 2017, ESRC performed a high level strategic review of the first round of IAAs to inform commissioning for the second round. The review found that the IAAs had ‘supported new and existing partnerships, funded engagement activities that were previously difficult to resource, and built capacity across a full range of social science disciplines and users’. Round 1 IAAs are due to complete at end of March 2019.


Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager, Social Science

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07876 218166