New UKRI funding for Brighton to accelerate real-world research impact

University of Brighton has received £450,000 to boost its innovative arts and humanities-based research and impact initiatives over the next three years.

The prestigious UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funded via the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) will provide vital investment to translate challenge-led research into projects with clear impacts that benefit society and transform lives. The fund focuses on maximising impact and knowledge exchange potential within research organisations and empowers them to use the funding creatively and responsively to react to emerging opportunities.

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The University of Brighton will focus this funding on creating projects that draw primarily on its outstanding arts and humanities research. The IAA will also support researchers in those fields to work with partners in other disciplines, such as the social sciences, engineering, health or environmental sciences. The funding presents a unique opportunity for trialling more diverse ways to support engagement and innovation and for implementing novel approaches to research.

The University’s highly regarded research embodies core values of its Practical Wisdom: Brighton 2025 strategy: inclusivity, creativity, sustainability and partnership, tackles global challenges and, in the recent national Research Excellence Framework (REF2021), 98% of research submitted by the University of Brighton was rated as world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised. New IAA-backed projects will channel funding into post-COVID recovery for the cultural and arts sectors, and address problems arising from inequalities, social injustice, poor health and social care, as well as climate change, all delivered through research using creative methodologies grounded in arts and humanities disciplines.

The Ignite programme, designed and delivered by the University’s Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP), will be funded for three years through the IAA project. Since 2003, CUPP has nurtured and expanded over 200 community-university partnerships and received multiple awards including a Times Higher Education award, the MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship, and the University Association for Lifelong Learning Award; an upcoming, ambitious Public and Community Engagement Strategic Plan will outline how the University will build on this success.

One example of an impactful CUPP initiative put inclusive arts research into action through a project working with local learning-disabled artists at the Rocket Artists’ Studios. This then provided a model that has been adapted for other sites and communities across the world – from elsewhere in the UK to seven countries in East and Southeast Asia.

Professor Stephen Maddison, Dean of School of Humanities and Social Science at University of Brighton, said: “This award is a timely affirmation of the fantastic work undertaken by researchers from the University of Brighton with our valued community partners. We are committed to research that changes lives and which impacts on the serious challenges we face, locally and globally.

“The UKRI’s award will help us bring about a step change in our world-leading arts and humanities research, helping us build even stronger links with communities, companies and third sector organisations. We are passionate about the role that the arts and humanities can play in transforming lives in Brighton and Hove and beyond.”

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