Helping you make a difference

Impact Acceleration Accounts

The University of Exeter now holds Impact Acceleration Accounts (IAAs) from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and received pilot IAA funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

This funding is supporting our academic community with a wide range of projects and relationships with industry, policy-makers, businesses, community-based and cultural organisations to accelerate and demonstrate how research at Exeter makes a difference to society and the economy.

Economic and Social Research Council

The University of Exeter is one of only 24 universities in the UK to have ESRC IAA funding. This grant will build on an existing series of excellent initiatives to ensure that the impact of our social sciences research is maximised.

The scheme takes the form of four funding streams, ranging from smaller cultivation and network funding opportunities, to larger project and knowledge exchange funds. This provides a ladder of progression through which potential partnerships can be initiated and developed to enable more productive relationships.

See the ESRC IAA website for more information.

Demonstrating impact

The ESRC IAA is funding a team led by Dr Benedict Wheeler to carry out three workshops with Cornwall Council representatives to investigating interconnections between the environment, biodiversity, and human health and wellbeing. The Council hopes this research, and especially research looking at Cornwall’s ecosystems and biodiversity, may help inform the development of key Council policies such as the Open Space Strategy and Open Space Service Standards.

Research shows that strategies for regional economic development need to consider how underperforming areas are perceived. To develop a network to explore this issue with regard to Cornwall, and in a way which can be applied to other regions, the ESRC IAA is funding Dr Joanie Willett to spend time with organisations such as Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall Development Company, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Cornwall Brussels Office.

The ESRC IAA is supporting Timothy Walker to work within Age UK Cornwall to:

  • Contribute to the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group’s process to enable the Living Well programme to be commissioned across the county;
  • Co-create a set of guidelines for the training, organisation and retention of volunteers;
  • Inform and train Living Well partners to enhance skills and knowledge;
  • Increase wider policy understanding of the benefits of and barriers to effective integration of volunteers into the co-production of care for older people.


Natural Environment Research Council

Exeter was one of 13 universities chosen to participate in NERC’s pilot IAA scheme, this has supported 23 impact projects and development of a portfolio of case studies.

Demonstrating impact

NERC IAA funding has funded 24 projects including research by Dr Steve Simpson into how man-made noise affects the marine environment and his innovative approach to working with key stakeholders to develop a vision for fisheries in the year 2050.

It funded Professors Peter Cox, Neil Adger and Mat Collins' participation in the high-profile Lancet Commission Report on Health and Climate Change.

The NERC IAA funding also enabled Professors Richard Brazier, Michael Winter and colleagues colleagues to bring a wide range of stakeholders together to discuss sustainable farming and landscape restoration and to engage with MPs to provide input to policy in this area. This led to Professor Brazier's research informing water monitoring strategy.

It has also helped us to produce a series of written and filmed case studies about how NERC-funded research is having an impact, for example Professor Charles Tyler's research on feminised fish, which is leading to new policies and guidelines, and Dr Ceri Lewis’s work in the Arctic, which is inspiring UK secondary students to learn about ocean acidification.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

From October 2015 Exeter academics wishing to create or increase the impact of their EPSRC Research are eligible to apply for ESRC IAA funding. Application forms and guidance (including internal deadlines for applications) are available on the Research Toolkit.