UoB holds a block grant from the ESRC, the Impact Acceleration Account, which for the last two years has been funding social scientists to undertake impact projects, secondments with non-academic partners and user engagement.
Activities funded to date through our competitive funding schemes have achieved a huge range of outcomes and impacts of great reach and significance, as well as developing impact culture and capacity within UoB.
Below are just a few examples of the great projects we’ve been able to fund:
UN Policy on Cholera in Haiti
Dr Rosa Freedman (BLS) and Dr Nicolas Lemay-Hebert (IDD) received a series of Urgency grants to support travel to New York to take part in discussions with UN Officials and with the legal team suing the UN for having introduced cholera in Haiti (September 2015), as well as to organise a seminar for stakeholders at UoB (December 2015). A further trip to meet with UN Member states in New York to discuss an alternative framework to the resolution of the crisis was funded by the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (February 2016). The team has also signed a letter (signed by a number of influential officials) sent to Ban Ki-Moon to ask for a change of policy regarding compensation to victims.
This work has been influential in bringing about a change in UN policy on cholera in Haiti. In August this year the organisation accepted responsibility for its part in bringing the disease to the country. The head of the UN’s response to the cholera epidemic, David Nabarro, has now recognised that compensation to victims will need to be provided along with further funding to prevent the spread of the illness in Haiti.
Research for Social Impact: a collaboration between the College of Social Sciences and Citizens UK: Birmingham
Dr Catherine Durose and Dr Karin Bottom (INLOGOV) received a User Engagement award to initiate and develop a series of co-productive impact projects between CoSS and Citizens UK: Birmingham. Four sandpit events held around the city focussed on a local or national campaign (safe havens for young people, social care, living wage refugee settlement and welcoming and where CoSS has the potential to offer a strong research contribution to bringing about change. Each event was aimed at learning about how to engender social change through community organising, working with participants to co-design specific future actions. Follow-up activities also provided important learning opportunities for post-graduate researchers in CoSS and young leaders from CUK: Bham, who developed research resources and testimonies from participants.
This engagement has already brought about further collaboration between UoB and CUK: Bham around business development and growth in disadvantaged areas, led by the Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME). In addition, a series of Mayoral evidence briefings on topics related to CUK: Birmingham campaigns began in June 2016. Organised by the Karin Bottom, the first briefing focussed on economic development in the region and was delivered by the Professor John Bryson of City Redi.
Local Government Engagement
In 2015, UoB ESRC IAA received additional funding from the ESRC to encourage and develop collaboration with local government. Catherine Staite, Director of INLOGOV and ESRC Research facilitator for Local Government, commissioned a series of seven films, featuring interviews with local government practitioners and academics from around the country. The aim of these is to consider academic engagement and collaboration from both perspectives. They are targeted at individuals and organisations working in local government who are keen to learn about and use research and evidence relating to local government and communities issues. They shine a light on what can be achieved by working together, as well as dealing with questions to ask in developing a partnership and overcoming possible stumbling blocks.
The films, completed in May 2016, are available on the Local Government Knowledge Navigator (LGKN) website – http://www.lgkn.org/2016/05/esrc-research-facilitator-project/.
For more information on the ESRC IAA funding schemes, please see: https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/planning/Impact/funding/ESRC-IAA-fund/ESRC-IAA-Applications-and-Guidance.aspx