We are pleased to announce our 2018 research impact and knowledge exchange competition for all PhD students within SGSSS regardless of funder. The competition reflects the growing need for social science research not only to make an original contribution to the academy but also to make a demonstrable contribution to society and the economy and to benefit individuals, organisations and/or nations.

Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange Competition 2018

impact competition

Competition entry guidelines

Current Social Science PhD students in their second or subsequent years from SGSSS member institutions across Scotland are invited to submit examples of impact and knowledge exchange arising from work deriving from their PhD studies. The competition is open to all SGSSS social science PhD students who are in their second year or later, whether part-time or full-time and however funded.

One application may be submitted per student and the example of work should either derive from the PhD research project itself or from a successful Overseas Institutional Visit or an Internship organised through SGSSS. For purposes of the competition, the definitions of Impact/KE that we will utilise are provided below. You should only submit an application relating to a previously submitted entry if significant new knowledge exchange or impact activities have taken place to augment the previous entry.


The best six entries will be given the opportunity to present a poster of their submission at the SGSSS impact celebration event on 14th May 2018.

The three best entries will be awarded a £500 impact fund to be used to expand the impact of their work.  This could include working with an impact champion to develop a Pathway To Impact statement or to organise/attend a networking and dissemination event beyond the academy. 

The entry judged the very best will also win an iPad Pro 10. Any or all of the submitted material submitted to the competition may be used by SGSSS to illustrate good practice on its website or in other publicity/reporting material. Please complete the media consent form and submit this together with your competition entry.  

How to apply

Using the competition entry form, please provide a description of the impact/KE activity, including the location and the details and type of impact or activity and submit this together with your contact details. Please ensure that you have completed all sections following instructions and adhering to the word limit. If you wish, you may attach a single image that illustrates your example of impact/KE. The prize-winners will be notified by 29th April 2018 and will receive their prize at the SGSSS impact celebration event on 14th May 2018. Prizes will be presented by Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde and Senior Research Fellow at NatCen Social Research

Please note the competition deadline of noon Friday 20th of April 2018. Entries should be submitted to admin@socsciscotland.ac.uk using the email header: Impact Competition.

Definitions of Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange

Research impact may be classed as either: instrumental: influencing the development of policy, practice or service provision, shaping legislation, altering behaviour; or conceptual: contributing to the understanding of policy issues, in so doing allowing the reframing of debates; or capacity building: facilitating the building of capacity through technical and personal skill development1.

Knowledge Exchange (KE) is often regarded as a stepping stone to research impact. According to a recent report to ESRC from the University of Cambridge, KE may be people-based or problem-solving; it may take the form of community-based engagement or of commercialisation. It helps to foster ‘co-production’ of knowledge and the ‘co-definition’ of problems. The researcher integrates into a wider system which embraces community groups and networks of professionals, thus creating a research loop, with dialogue taking place as part of the research process.

  1. http://www.esrc.ac.uk/research/impact-toolkit/what-is-impact/ (Accessed 2 July 2017)
       2.      Bullock, A. and Hughes, R. (2016) ‘Knowledge exchange and the social sciences: A report to ESRC from the Centre for Business Research’, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Application form and Guidance

Media Consent Form


Impact Strategy How to Guide (University of Edinburgh)

Personal Impact Plan (University of Glasgow)

Last updated 13 Apr 2018 2:50pm