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ESRC announces finalists for prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize

ESRC announces finalists for prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize

  • Date22 October 2020

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has announced the finalists for its Celebrating Impact Prize 2020 and Professor Kathy Rastle from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London has been nominated.

Professor Kathy Rastle

The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize, now in its eighth year, is an annual opportunity to recognise and celebrate the success of ESRC-funded researchers in achieving and enabling outstanding economic or societal impact from excellent research.

Entrants' applications were reviewed by a panel of academics, engagement and knowledge exchange experts, and research users. Shortlisted applicants were invited to an interview, along with non-academic supporters who helped describe the impact of the work. All finalists have been invited to a virtual awards ceremony on 12 November 2020 when the winners will be announced.

Professor Kathy Rastle from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, said: “I am delighted that the ESRC has recognised the impact that our work is having internationally on how children are taught to read.  There is so much that flows from learning to read – it gives an individual access to knowledge, work, and social interaction – and yet a large proportion of children still leave school without basic literacy.  The science of reading is well developed and it is essential that this evidence base is used to improve outcomes for children around the world.”

ESRC’s Executive Chair, Professor Jennifer Rubin, said: "This is an excellent opportunity for the UK’s world-leading economists and social scientists to be recognised for how their work improves lives for a wide range of people both in the UK and in other countries, from how children are taught to read, to innovative tools helping insure Ugandan farmers, or how victims of gender-based violence can experience justice.

Their impacts are impressive and far-reaching and I’m proud that the Economic and Social Research Council has funded this work, and that it can be fully recognised through our prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize.”

The finalists are: 

  • Professor Emla Fitzsimons and Dr Praveetha Patalay of UCL, Adolescent mental health: improving young people's lives using evidence from national cohort data
  • Professor Marianne Hester of the University of Bristol, Justice, inequality and gender-based violence
  • Professor Yvonne Jewkes of the University of Bath, Humanity, Hope, Rehabilitation: Changing thinking about women offenders through prison design
  • Professor Richard Layard of the London School of Economic, Public policies for employment, skills, wellbeing and mental health
  • Dr Anna Remington of UCL Institute of Education, Enhancing the employment of autistic individuals
  • Professor Alice Sullivan of UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Reading for pleasure boosts cognitive development: research findings that underpin educational practice and literacy campaigns
  • Professor Arjan Verschoor and Professor Ben D’Exelle of the University of East Anglia, Insuring previously uninsurable poor farmers in Uganda
  • Team application: Ending the Reading Wars (Professor Kathy Rastle, Royal Holloway University of London; Professor Kate Nation, University of Oxford; Professor Anne Castles, Macquarie University), Bringing the Science of Reading to Reading Instruction in Classrooms around the World
  • Team application: ESRC Centre for Population Change (Professor Jane Falkingham, Professor Maria Evandrou, Professor Ann Berrington, Professor Jakub Bijak, Professor Corrado Giulietti, Professor Peter W F Smith, Professor Athina Vlachantoni, Professor Jackline Wahba, Teresa McGowan, Becki Dey), Improving data: Strengthening the evidence base for policy

All finalists will have a film professionally made about their work and its impact, and winners are awarded £10,000 to spend on further knowledge exchange, public engagement or other communications activities.



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