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ESRC Impact Transition Awards - updated June 2024

Apply now to advance and extend the impact of recently-completed PhD research

What are these awards for?

Many of our social science PGR students are doing research with the potential to make real social and economic impacts. From 2024, Newcastle University’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Award will fund social science Impact Transition Awards every year to support the development of impact work in the post-submission period.

The awards are to support a project working with a non-academic partner that will advance and extend the impact of recently-completed PhD research.

We have recently updated the scheme and will now consider applications on a rolling basis.  Applications must be submitted within the 8 weeks leading up to your submission date.

What can be funded?

Up to 4 months of stipend (UKRI rate at time of application), PLUS funding for activities up to £1500.

What information do you need from me and my impact partner?

Your application should set out feasible goals specifying how you plan to work with a named non-academic partner to develop an aspect of your social science PhD towards making a concrete policy, social or economic impact.

You should include with your application written confirmation from a non-academic partner that they will work with you over the period of the award to develop your ideas in a way that is relevant to them, as well as stating what commitment and capacity the partner will bring to the project.

The partner can be in the private, public or from the Vocational, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector. Your partner does not have to provide financial or in-kind support for your project. You do not need to have a previous academic relationship with the partner. You may develop your application with a partner with whom you have previously undertaken a placement or conducted collaborative PhD research.

The application process

Your application should:-

  • clearly outline key findings of your PhD research, specifying which aspect/s you plan to take forward using the Impact Transition Award;
  • articulate the impact-related goals that you plan to achieve using the Impact Transition Award;
  • give an outline of the activities you plan to undertake to achieve your impact goals;
  • indicate the support and capacity that the partner organisation will bring to the project;
  • demonstrate the benefits of your proposed Impact Transition goals to your career development, to the non-academic partner, and other potential non-academic beneficiaries.

You must obtain a supporting statement from your Academic Supervisor before making your application showing how your proposed activity aligns with your research priorities and those of your academic unit.  Ensure you upload a Supporting supervisor statement for DCREF applications (or School Director of PGR or Institute PGRSC) to your application.

You must attach written confirmation from your non-academic partner.

Your application should indicate how many months of stipend support you are seeking and include a justification of, and costed details for, any planned impact-related activities up to a maximum of £1500.

We expect all applicants to indicate likely outcomes and outputs of the Award. All Impact Transition Award holders must report on outcomes of the project to the Doctoral College and to the non-academic partner after the end of the funding period.


What kinds of projects and activities can be funded?

Applicants will be at different stages in their impact journeys.

Some projects will be well developed with a concrete programme of planned activities. If you want to claim funding for these activities as well as stipend as part of your Impact Transition Award, you must do so in advance at time of application.

Examples of activities we can fund include: further training related to knowledge exchange and impact work; cost of publishing findings in an accessible format in print or online for a non-academic audience; travel costs of working with the non-academic partner or other beneficiaries of the award; cost of workshops or other events dedicated to sharing findings beyond academic settings or building new impactful research collaborations.

Other projects will be more developmental and may primarily involve discussions with and learning from the non-academic partner. If so, provide a plan specifying the dialogues and collaborations you will undertake with the partner over the life of the award to build your knowledge, skills and capacity to engage in impact-generating work in future. For example, we would expect to see numbers of meetings or shadowing opportunities planned with named contacts; how they would take place; and what both applicant and partner expect from the project.  


Advice and support

Questions about developing impact goals with a partner or building a programme of activities: Laura McKenzie, HASS Faculty Impact Officer:

 You can also discuss your project with your School or subject Postgraduate Research Director, Research Director or Impact Champion.

 Questions about the process of applying for the Impact Transition Award:


Eligibility and requirements

You must be a Doctoral student who is already under examination or will be submitting your thesis within three months of the application date. Your project must have a core social science element and your PhD candidature must be in the social sciences.

* You do NOT have to have received ESRC funding for your PhD to be eligible for the Impact Transition Award however, you will not be able to hold the Impact Transisiton Award at the same time as any existing ESRC stipen*

Funding will not commence until the Doctoral College receives confirmation of your thesis submission to your Graduate School and your registration status has changed to 'under examination'. If you complete your programme whilst still receiving this funding, payments will cease once you are no longer a registered student.

What counts as a ‘social science’ project?

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) who are funding these Awards provides a list of social science disciplines that it supports research for. Check whether your subject area is included here: Social science disciplines – UKRI.

If you’re not sure whether your project is included in the ESRC’s remit, contact and we will explore this with you. 


Deadline and decision making process

This is an open call with no deadline to apply.

Applications must be submitted within the 8 weeks leading up to your submission date.

The applications will be considered by a Faculty Review Panel on a rolling basis and students notified once a decision is made.


Contact us

If you have any queries about this process please contact