The Universities of Newcastle and Durham have both been awarded Impact Acceleration Accounts worth £1.3m by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC).
The special grants are given to top UK research-intensive universities in the UK to enable academics to maximise the impact from their research.
Newcastle and Durham's funding will support a wide range of research spin-out activities, including:
• Placements and secondments for academics to work directly with external organisations and for non-academics to come into academic Departments and Schools
• Seminars, policy briefings and outreach events
• Bespoke research support and advice for local business, community groups, charities and public bodies
• A variety of other forms of innovative initiatives where academics will work collaboratively with research users, policy-makers, practitioners and the public.
Professor Daniel Zizzo, Dean for Research & Innovation for the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at Newcastle University, said:"Social science research has a critical role to play in supporting economic development and improvements to our key public services.
"Working together with small businesses, community groups, local authorities and charities from across the North East will be at the heart of how we will invest these funds over the next four years. Durham and Newcastle’s complementary research strengths cover areas such as regional and cultural engagement, urban development and health policy, and our Impact Acceleration Accounts will enable us to work better with our partners to enhance the impact of our research."
To maximise the reach of the funds invested by the ESRC, the two universities are collaborating closely together to share their expertise and strengths for the benefit of the North East of England, building on their existing range of partnerships. A joint scheme for funding collaborative impact activities will be run, together with a shared capacity-building training programme, which will equip Durham and Newcastle academics of today and tomorrow to expand the impact of their social science research in the future.
Professor Clare McGlynn, Deputy Head for Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences & Health at Durham University said: "These awards further recognise the quality and importance of the social science research that is being undertaken at our two universities and our shared aim to ensure the maximum benefit of our social science research to support the development and growth of the region.
"Both Durham and Newcastle have excellent track records of engaging with business, communities and policy-makers to disseminate our work and put it into practice. This welcome investment will further support our abilities to reach-out beyond academia."
published on: 17 September 2014