What do I want? A closer relationship between theory and practice. When do I want it? Now, please, if you don’t mind.

Dr Jennifer Doyle, Trafford Housing Trust, Winner of the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize for Outstanding Early Career Impact

Jennifer Doyle

It is strange and exciting being a researcher in social housing. There are no traditional links between social housing and academic research. As a collective, those of us in the built environment disciplines have broadly fallen into one of two roles:

  • Those focused on an absolute necessity to deliver housing, to manage housing, and to look after our tenants, in the moment, continuously; and
  • Those of us who have been afforded the luxury of time to conduct research to consider things more deeply, to reflect, strategise and plan for the future. Continue reading

Business angels in the UK

Professor Richard Harrison, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Edinburgh Business School and Professor Colin Mason, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow – winners of the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize for Outstanding Impact in Business.

Professor Colin Mason and Professor Richard Harrison

One of the key features of the development of a more entrepreneurial economy in the UK over the past 25 years has been the emergence of the business angel investment community as a major source of funding for new and growing ventures. Business angels are typically wealthy individuals who invest their personal capital in small businesses (typically start-up or early stage) in return for an equity stake. Indeed, business angels contribute more finance to entrepreneurial ventures than the institutional venture capital market. Continue reading

Picture of the week: Celebrating Impact Prize winners 2015

The ESRC 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. It celebrates outstanding ESRC research and success in collaborative working, partnerships, engagement and knowledge exchange activities that have led to significant impact. The 2015 awards ceremony took place in London on 24 June. Here are the 2015 winners.

Building impact over time: experiences from Zimbabwe

Ian Scoones, Director ESRC STEPS Centre, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex – Second prize winner of the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize for Outstanding International Impact.

Ian Scoones 1

Generating impact takes time. And this is especially so when research challenges conventional wisdoms and entrenched interests. This is the lesson from our ESRC-funded research in Zimbabwe over the past 15 years, through which we have collected data on changing livelihoods following land reform, now in several parts of the country.

Gradually, evidence has accumulated that challenges the oft-repeated narrative that the Zimbabwean land reform of 2000 was an unmitigated disaster. Instead, a more complex picture emerges: some considerable successes, especially among small-scale farmers, and some failures, perhaps especially on the larger-scale farms. Continue reading