O²RB Excellence in Impact Awards 2021 – Winners announced

Published 21 September 2021 / By COMPAS Communications

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Congratulations to the winners of the O²RB Excellence in Impact Awards 2021, announced today as Dr Sarah Spencer and Dr Nicola Delvino (both from COMPAS), Dr Gemma Briggs (The Open University), as well as Dr Jamie Lachman and Professor Lucie Cluver, Professor Melinda Mills, Dr Jennifer Beam Dowd and team, all at the University of Oxford.

The Excellence in Impact Awards, supported by the University of Oxford’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, recognise and reward social scientists whose research has achieved excellent economic and social impact. This year’s winners have collaborated with policymakers, industry partners, academics and NGOs around the globe to impact a wide range of complex and urgent societal challenges; from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on rates of parenting stress and child abuse, to European cities’ policies and practices towards irregular migrants.

The Chair of the Awards panel, Professor Heather Viles, Associate Head of Division (Research) for the Social Sciences at the University of Oxford said, ‘I am delighted to announce the winners of the O²RB Excellence in Impact Awards 2021. We received an exceptionally strong set of applications this year, demonstrating the incredible breadth of impact that social sciences researchers are having across society. I am looking forward to the Awards ceremony on 19th October and the opportunity to hear our winners speak live about their collaboration and impact journeys.’

Dr Sarah Spencer and Dr Nicola Delvino were awarded for their partnership with European cities to change policy and practice on irregular and destitute migrants. Their research into policy responses to ‘undocumented’ migrants has led to the creation of a unique knowledge-exchange network that has so far engaged 52 cities from across 19 countries in ground-breaking dialogue on the sensitive issue of municipal service provision to these populations.

The City Initiative on Migrants with Irregular Status in Europe (C-MISE) was established to build a body of evidence, share learning on different cities’ practices with regards to irregular migrants, disseminate guidance, and to inform EU policy reform. C-MISE has provided guidance to 47 countries via the Council of Europe and 140 cities through the Intercultural Cities network, leading to significant policy reforms, including such initiatives as a ‘Bed, Bath and Bread’ service and legal advice for destitute irregular migrants. Such schemes have not only impacted vulnerable migrant groups but also the wider communities – as well as influencing similar initiatives in other countries.

The team’s research also led to their development of an award-winning online tool to help UK local authorities, advice agencies and migrants to assess eligibility for local authority support.

Reacting to their award, Dr Spencer and Dr Delvino said, ‘It has been a great privilege to work closely with European cities as they develop their responses to migrants with precarious status, and see our research and dialogue deliver tangible changes in policy and practice. A hugely rewarding experience. We hope recognition, through this wonderful award, of the impact that can be achieved will encourage other researchers to work with city partners who are so keen to engage.’

Registration is now open to join the live-streaming of the O²RB Excellence in Impact Awards on 19 October 2021 from 6pm. A dedicated film about their research impact will be screened on the night.