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  • £118 million being rewarded for critical early-stage translation of UK research to transform public services and create new businesses and jobs
  • Flexible funding supports UK teams to unlock the full potential of their work
  • The programme is in its 10th year and previous beneficiaries are now established global businesses.

Ulster University has today been awarded a total of £457,329 to expand its arts and humanities research from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) fund.

UK Research and Innovation, a government body responsible for delivering £8 billion research and innovation funding each year, is investing £118 million in the latest round of IAAs to translate research across 64 universities and research organisations.

Ulster University’s award will be used to expand the research impact of its work in the sustainable peace, medical humanities and design, virtual production, and heritage fields, through three primary areas of focused investment:

  • Interdisciplinary research: expanding applied research, indictive of practice-based creative disciplines has the potential to extend or unlock different types of outputs that are inherently impactful;
  • Screen-based and immersion: much of the university’s faculty and regional strategies focus on the screen industry so Ulster will explore the potential to unlock new cultural artefacts from existing research, for example as films / TV programmes or immersive experiences for public engagement;
  • Collaborative policy engagement: Ulster University’s social sciences subjects will mentor arts and humanities subjects to accelerate broader impacts including UN sustainable development goals as well as UNESCO priorities.

This funding award builds on the recent announcement that Ulster has been ranked joint first in the UK for world-leading research impact in music, drama, dance, performing arts, film and screen studies. Six out of nine of Ulster University’s Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Research Units were judged as ‘100% World-leading and Internationally Excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.

The Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) supports critical early-stage translation of UK research to real impacts, transforming public services, creating new jobs, attracting private investment and forging new partnerships with business and charities.

The programme, now in its 10th year, has provided early-stage support to projects that are now established global businesses.

Interim Associate Dean of Research and Impact at Ulster University, Professor Justin Magee, who is the principal investigator for the award said:

This is Ulster University's first IAA, and we are thrilled to have this opportunity to purposefully grow the benefits of our research. Our ambitious programme of activities provides a focused impact strategy for the faculty that nurtures an interdisciplinary culture and advances our research knowledge exchange across the faculty.

We  hope to achieve deeper, more diverse, and long-lasting impacts on society, culture, the economy and wellbeing, reaching communities, sustainable peace, the cultural sector, creative industries and healthcare nationally and internationally.

UKRI Director of Commercialisation Tony Soteriou, said:

The UK is home to some of the brightest, most innovative and creative research teams in the world. They have the ideas and they have the entrepreneurial energy to create businesses and services that could turn sectors on their head.

What they need, what every great commercial idea needs, is support in the critical early stages. The Impact Acceleration Account is the catalyst that allows projects to grow to the next level, attracting investment, forging partnerships and creating jobs.

The breadth of UKRI allows us to work right across the UK's work-class research and innovation system to ensure it builds a green future, secures better health, ageing and wellbeing, tackles infections and builds a secure and resilient world.

The £118 million IAA investment over three years focuses on maximising impact, knowledge exchange, translation, and commercialisation potential within research organisations.

An important feature of the scheme is that it empowers research organisations themselves to use the funding creatively and responsively to react to emerging opportunities.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said:

"Research and innovation has the potential to improve people’s lives and livelihoods, rejuvenating communities across the UK and tackling global challenges. It is imperative that we harness that potential.

The path between discovery and impact is not simple and so it is vital that we provide flexible support that allows talented people and teams, and world-class institutions to connect discovery to prosperity and public good.

Our impact acceleration funding has a fantastic track record in providing support that helps brilliant ideas become realities that make a real difference.

The new Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) offers a UKRI-wide simplified model with a single application with centralised reporting and monitoring that aims to improve strategic planning.