The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the funding body for social science research in the UK, has awarded LSE an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), worth £1.25 million for the next five years.
LSE is one of 32 universities and research organisations who will have an ESRC IAA from 2023-2028, with dedicated funding to support researcher-led collaboration with non-academic partners to help tackle the biggest challenges facing society.
LSE’s IAA will focus on mobilising our social science research for public good using mechanisms of the private sector. This will be through research commercialisation, promoting entrepreneurship and engagement with businesses.
Using the support of the IAA, LSE will focus on the following priorities:
- Working with the LSE-led Aspect (A SHAPE Platform for Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Transformation) network and through our own capacity-building initiatives, we will enhance the commercialisation capability of social science researchers.
- Through participation in initiatives such as the Aspect Research Commercialisation (ARC) accelerator, and by building capabilities of our own researchers, we will provide vital early-stage support for impact.
- Our emphasis on private-sector and business engagement will promote close user involvement, foster mutually beneficial strategic partnerships, and accelerate the translation of social sciences research into significant impacts.
- Through support for the Doctoral Training Partnership programme, we will facilitate collaborations with business, high-quality placements, and critical knowledge exchange and skills development.
There will be a wide range of tailored activities supported by LSE’s IAA. These include, among other things, hosting software workshops to help social science entrepreneurs take advantage of technological developments; the creation of an Innovation Fund to support LSE researchers to develop proof of concept of their idea; the expansion of SPRING@LSE to build the capacity and capability of social science PhD students and early-career researchers to engage with businesses, and the creation of a Consulting Incubator to help consulting businesses grow within LSE before pursuing any spinout options.
Commenting on the announcement, Professor Susana Mourato, LSE Vice President and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, said:
“This is excellent news. As the world’s leading university dedicated to the social sciences, LSE is in an unparalleled position to improve and accelerate the impact of research from social sciences, including through innovation and commercialisation initiatives.
“The IAA will greatly support our work in this area and enable even more LSE research to realise its full potential in the public and private spheres.”
Professor Julia Black, LSE Strategic Director of Innovation, added:
“While LSE is already a leading practitioner of commercialisation of social sciences in the UK, the IAA will bolster further this capacity. It will support innovation and entrepreneurship in SHAPE disciplines and make full use of our already strong networks and activities, such as Aspect and LSE Generate.
“We know how valuable the social sciences are for society and tackling the world’s biggest problems, but there is a huge potential for social science research to be better used by businesses and private enterprises.”