Aston University has been awarded its first Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council (EPSRC). The IAA, totalling £281,000, runs from April 2022 – March 2025 and will be invested in helping our researchers to maximise the economic, environmental and social impact potential of their research. In particular, we will use the Award to:

  • Broaden the pool of Aston researchers engaged in impact generation, especially those at an early stage in their career
  • Nurture an inclusive team approach to accelerating impact
  • Enable researchers to make a real ‘step change’ in realising the impact potential of their research

A wide range of activities can be funded through the different streams and examples are illustrated below along with the different types of awards that can be made.

Award TypeExample Fundable ActivitiesExample Deliverable(s) Required
Impact Builder
£35k max 3-4 per year
Access engineering support within EPS to design and build a prototype suitable for manufactureTangible demonstrator or prototype
Impact Primer
£1-2k Up to 5 per year
National or international travel with the specific focus of further developing impactful partnerships or gathering data of impactData sets leading to a case study. Submission of collaborative grant proposals
Impact Sabbatical
£3.5k 3 per year
Short-term buy-out of teaching or other duties to allow Pls to focus on impact activities (e.g. working with RKE to formulate a business plan or transfer technologies to industry)Completed business plan leading to high-quality investment pitch or completed technology transfer leading to royalty agreement 
Impact Workshops 3 per yearTraining to enable impact - participate in one of our training workshops in 3D printing, CAD, design for manufacture, impact creation etcFeedback
Impact PrimerCreation of marketing material (web, video, animations etc.) to engage the public or other end usersLive website/video with usage statistics and/or feedback
Impact BuilderHiring a specialist to focus on a particular impact development for a short period of timeDemonstrator, case study or other asset that can be used to facilitate impact
Upcoming Calls and Deadlines
  • Impact Builder Awards 4 – launch date: July 3rd 2023 and deadline: October 9th 2023
  • Impact Builder Awards 5 – launch date: 4th March 2024 and deadline: 17th April 2024
  • Impact Sabbatical Awards 4 – launch date: July 3rd 2023 and deadline: October 9th 2023 
  • Impact Sabbatical Awards 5 – launch date: 4th March 2024 and deadline: 17th April 2024
  • Impact Primer Awards - Apply anytime until the funds are allocated.
Who can participate?

If you’re an Aston researcher, you don’t need to have previously received an EPSRC award in order to be eligible to apply for funding from our EPSRC IAA or to participate in activities funded by it. Your research should fall within the EPSRC’s disciplinary remit which is a broad one, and interdisciplinary proposals are welcomed. Find more details about the areas of research supported by the EPSRC.

Our Awards are open to all academic, research and teaching staff who undertake relevant research, while our events are open to both staff and PhD students who carry out or support research within the EPSRC’s remit.

Please note: All those receiving EPSRC IAA funds will be required to participate in our reporting and impact tracking process for the EPSRC, both during the period of their award and after it has concluded. Applicants must be willing to commit to this process if they apply for any awards from the IAA.

Our EPSRC IAA supports a range of activities which include capacity-building events, sabbaticals, and individual and team projects. Find out more about our IAA events and funding programmes below.

Events schedule

We'll be adding more events soon - so please watch this space!

Impact Builder Awards (up to £35k each)

We want to support applied research which has already demonstrated initial impact potential through an early-stage ‘proof of concept’ trial or scoping exercise, and which is now at the stage where an investment of up to £35,000 could make a real ‘step change’ in terms of impact. For example, this might be through the development or further refinement of a prototype, collaboration on development with external partners, or the expansion of a research-based professional or community training programme.

There are at least two competitive Impact Builder Award calls in 2023-24. The deadline for the first 2023-24 call is 17:00, Monday, 9th October 2023 and applications can be submitted at any time up to that date. Download our guidance notes for applicants and click on our online application form. If you have difficulty using an online application form, please request a Word version from the EPSRC IAA Team.

We strongly advise that you contact the Research Impact Team, at least a month before the applications deadline, to discuss your proposal. Contact us and please mark your email ‘EPSRC IAA query’. Please also ensure you get any labour costs properly costed by contacting Roshan Dandiker in Research Finance.

Impact Sabbatical Awards (up to £3.5k each) 

An Impact Sabbatical Award will enable you to reduce your teaching load for one semester to focus on impact acceleration. For example, you might do this through a secondment to an external organisation, or you may wish to spend an extended period in a different country to help you strengthen relationships with potential partners.

There are at least two competitive Impact Sabbatical Award calls in 2023-24. The deadline for the first 2023-24 call is 17:00, Monday, 9th October 2023 and applications can be submitted at any time up to that date. Download our guidance notes for applicants and click on our online application form. If you have difficulty using an online application form, please request a Word version from the EPSRC IAA Team.

We strongly advise that you contact the Research Impact Team, at least a month before the applications deadline, to discuss your proposal. Contact us and please mark your email ‘EPSRC IAA query’.
 

Impact Primer Awards (up to £2k each, £5k in total to award each year)

Could a small amount of funding make a big difference to accelerating your research impact? Impact Primer Awards can be used to accelerate impact work over a broad range of activities., including the purchase of consumables, meetings with potential non-academic collaborators or policy makers, or to engage Aston’s engineering team in low-level rapid prototyping work.

There’s no deadline for this call and you’re welcome to apply at any time. Download our guidance notes for applicants and click on our application form. If you have difficulty using an online application form, please request a Word version from the EPSRC IAA Team. If you’d like to apply, please contact the Research Impact Team to discuss your proposal. Contact us and please mark your email ‘EPSRC IAA query’.