ESRC Impact Acceleration Account

The University of Manchester ESRC IAA team appreciate that coronavirus will be impacting on current and future research in a number of ways. If you require advice or assistance with a current ESRC IAA award or application, please contact the team:

Following the success of Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) round one (2014-2019) the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has awarded The University of Manchester a further £1 million to continue to deliver IAA2 until 2023.

IAA2 will be used to fund knowledge exchange (KE) activities to accelerate the impact of research in the social sciences from across the University.

What are the aims for IAA2?

The University of Manchester’s aims for IAA2 are:

  • to consolidate existing strengths that emerge from the first phase of ESRC IAA funding (IAA1) and the broader University research context;
  • to encourage innovative, risk-taking impact and KE activities;
  • to continue to enhance the rigour of all KE and impact activities, including doctoral training;
  • to continue to cultivate an environment where impact and KE are core elements of higher education activities, alongside the traditional pillars of research and teaching;
  • to secure the long-term sustainability of impact and KE activities.

What schemes are available?

ESRC IAA schemes cover potential impact activities at all stages of the research process, from setting up networks to help inform or scope new research projects, to the development of activities designed to apply previous research.

Relationship building

IAA2 provides flexible support for building relationships with non-academic partners.

This scheme encourages initiatives that increase our engagement with commercial businesses. Proposals that include a direct cash contribution from one or more commercial businesses will be particularly welcomed.

Innovative proposals to develop relationships that include in-kind contributions will also be considered, where the lack of a direct contribution is justified.

Download application form

Research into practice

IAA2 focuses on activity to translate research evidence for use by research users/practitioners.

The scheme is flexible and open to innovative projects and activities that may include policy or evidence seminars, knowledge exchange or co-produced research etc.

Download application form

Staff exchanges/placements

IAA2 provides flexible support for secondment-out of academics to external partner organisations or enabling secondment-in of external partners.

This scheme is to increase the exchange of knowledge through mobility of people, enhance external links and provide the secondee with experience of working in a partner organisation.

Download application form


This new stream provides a competitive opportunity for high-impact researchers to deliver training for non-HE stakeholders based on their research findings, or deliver training for early career/PGR researchers based on reflective learning, in order to develop and communicate best practice from impact activities. We would particularly welcome applications from previous IAA award holders for training events which share expertise and best practice.

Download application form

Breakthrough stream

This new stream will fund several projects per year which take unusual, speculative routes to KE and impact, fostering a creative approach to tackle real-world problems with ambitious delivery strategies. Examples might include video blogs, podcasts, plays, artwork, and games, although this is by no means an exhaustive list and the panel are receptive to any novel ideas. Following a brief expression of interest, selected applicants will be invited to briefly present and discuss their proposal with the IAA Schemes Panel.

Download application form

Rapid Response call

We have a Rapid Response call which will open from May 2019 until funds are exhausted for the financial year for projects up to £1,000.  We will fund activities such as events, visits, website support, or AV pieces developed with a view to fostering user engagement.  Applications will be assessed on an ad-hoc basis and funded via IAA Chair’s Action.

Download application form

How do I apply?

Before you submit an application, you should contact a member of the Research Support Service.

Complete the application form for your chosen call and send to Applications will be evaluated by the ESRC IAA team and then sent to the ESRC IAA Schemes Panel for consideration.


Is it advisable to mention REF implications when applying for this call?

Mentioning a REF Impact Case is fine if it helps to add context to an application. Please note that references to REF Impact Cases can’t go on public facing websites at this stage in the REF cycle so don’t include it in the project summary.

What is the allowable duration of a project?

We expect most projects to last six to nine months or sometimes 12 months maximum. Should you wish to exceptionally apply for a project for a longer period, please explain and justify this in full on the application.

Is it possible to use IAA funds to pay for artist’s time/skills?

If an artist is providing skills/a service then it is acceptable to pay for their skills/time, however please note that payment must go through the usual School procurement processes.

How fixed are the award amounts listed?

In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to exceed funding guidelines set by the IAA team, however we would expect the majority of proposals to fit within the specifications given. Where an exception is requested, full justification must be provided for the panel to make an informed decision.

What are the reporting obligations of award holders?

An interim report will be required after six months for projects exceeding this duration. Final reports will be due for all projects, regardless of length, three months after the project end date.

Is it possible to apply for more than one stream at once?

This will largely depend on demand but the panel are unlikely to support more than one application from each stream (‘Strategic’ counts as one stream). Applicants may submit more than one proposal across streams.

Is it possible to apply to the same stream more than once at the same time?

This will largely depend on demand but it is unlikely that the panel will look to fund more than one project per stream/applicant at a time.

Will the IAA fund support conference attendance?

The IAA will consider funding for practitioner conferences if the need and impact can be evidenced, however IAA funding may not be used to allow attendance at standard academic conferences.

Do IAA projects have to follow on from previously funded ESRC projects?

No, this is not a requirement of the IAA funding. Applications are welcome from academic staff across The University of Manchester that fall within the overall remit of ‘social sciences’ and the Lead Applicant should have a contract of employment which lasts at least the duration of the proposed IAA project. 

Can previous ESRC IAA award holders apply?

Yes. You are eligible to apply if you have held an IAA award previously with The University of Manchester or another institution.

Can secondments include time of both an academic and an RA?

Yes, bearing in mind budget limits. Academic staff sometimes agree some ‘in kind’ time for this activity.

Can I request an extension?

If you're an ESRC IAA award holder who’s project has been impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus or any other form of major disruption and you require an extension to your project or wish to discuss your options, please contact Hannah Clark (ESRC IAA Manager): or on +44 (0)161 275 7321. 

Do I have to do a poster for my final report?

If you're nearing the end of your project, it's likely that a member of the ESRC IAA team will soon be in touch to discuss the final report with you.

Instead of the traditional ‘poster’ for a final IAA report, we're pleased to announce that we're now able to offer an alternative via the new Humanities Knowledge Exchange and Impact blog.  If you'd prefer to write a brief blog post instead of a poster, Hannah Clark (ESRC IAA Manager) has more information and would be delighted to discuss this option with you.