Our Celebrating Impact Prize is an annual opportunity to recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved, or are currently achieving, outstanding economic 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 2016 awards ceremony took place in London on 22 June.

Outstanding Early Career Impact (in partnership with SAGE Publishing)


Kath Murray

Dr Kath Murray, University of Edinburgh
Dr Kath Murray’s doctoral research on police-public encounters revealed very high levels of stop and search in Scotland sparking a wide debate and has resulted in new legislation, major changes in police practice and a 93 per cent drop in stop searches and seizures.


Martin Hearson

Mr Martin Hearson, London School of Economics and Political Science
Martin Hearson’s research has highlighted how tax treaties reduce the tax that some of the world’s poorest countries can collect from multinational companies, depriving them of significant tax revenues without achieving much in return and this has prompted developing countries to review and renegotiate treaties.

Outstanding International Impact


Melissa Leach

Professor Melissa Leach, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex (team application)
Professor Melissa Leach and fellow anthropologists provided rapid real-time advice and guidelines to policymakers and practitioners during the Ebola crisis, which increased the effectiveness of medical and humanitarian responses, saving lives and reducing the spread of the disease.


Sonia Livingstone

Professor Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and Political Science
Professor Sonia Livingstone’s research on the benefits and risks of children’s internet use has strengthened EU internet safety guidelines, changed service providers’ privacy practices and highlighted children’s digital rights worldwide.


Cathy Zimmerman

Dr Cathy Zimmerman, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Cathy Zimmerman has, over the last two decades, produced hugely influential evidence and policy guidance addressing the health needs of millions of human trafficking victims – shaping international response and developing training materials which are now used in over 155 countries.

Outstanding Impact in Public Policy


Dr Rachel Aldred, University of Westminster
Dr Aldred's work on barriers to cycling has produced a fundamental shift in policy – leading to increased investment in cycling infrastructure and a new approach to increasing cycling participation throughout the UK.



Rachel Condry
Dr Rachel Condry, University of Oxford
Dr Condry's large-scale study of adolescent-to-parent violence highlighted the hidden plight of many thousands of families across the UK, leading to new policy guidance and improved responses by statutory and voluntary agencies.


Nick Gill

Dr Nick Gill, University of Exeter
Dr Gill's research helped secure a High Court judgement that ruled the Detained Fast Track process for asylum seekers was unfair – ceasing the practice and securing more reasonable preparation time for asylum cases.


Outstanding Impact in Society


Theresa Gannon

Professor Theresa Gannon (team application), University of Kent
Professor Theresa Gannon’s groundbreaking work with firesetters has resulted in the first comprehensive theory of deliberate firesetters and the first effective treatment programme for offenders, which is being adopted by Australia, North America and Europe.


Jo-Anne Bichard

Dr Jo-Anne Bichard, Royal College of Art Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design (co-applicant Gail Ramster)
Research by Dr Jo-Anne Bichard and Gail Ramster changed open data policy and created an online resource of over 10,000 public toilets – the Great British Public Toilet Map – helping the elderly, pregnant women and people with medical conditions.

Jane Oakhill

Professor Jane Oakhill, University of Sussex (co-applicant Professor Kate Cain, Lancaster University)
Professors Jane Oakhill and Kate Cain’s research into primary school children’s comprehension difficulties has had a direct impact on educational practice, shaping national policy and improving the way reading comprehension is taught both in the UK and throughout South America.

Impact Champion


Briony Turner

Briony Turner, King’s College London
PhD student Briony Turner’s enthusiasm for supporting and enabling others to achieve impact has seen her launch the Intrepid Explorers initiative to inspire others with tales of exploration in the field.


Alex Waddington

Alex Waddington, University of Manchester
Alex Waddington has encouraged researchers to create maximum impact on public policy through a range of initiatives such as policy@manchester, Manchester Policy Blogs and Policy Week, and direct engagement with Select Committees. 

Previous winners

•    Impact Prize winners 2015
•    Impact Prize winners 2014
•    Impact Prize winners 2013