Real Impact

Mobilising research into action

Award status: Closed
Open: Later on in 2024

This award is all about recognising the efforts and commitment being made to meaningfully connect research and action to deliver societal change.

This year's theme for this award focuses on International Collaboration. One of the biggest challenges in the research landscape is the lack of a level playing field, with the gaps between the global north and south having widened in a post-pandemic world, and yet the need for collaboration across borders heightened. Wars, disputes, and tensions across nations have further disrupted the research ecosystem and threatened the connections within the global community of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. Now more than ever we need to encourage interdisciplinary and international research as we are faced by challenges that affect us on a global level.

How have you responded to breaking down the barriers that have prevented international collaboration in your role, or through the way you have approached your research to deliver societal change?  In mobilising your research, how have you, or your institution, supported greater international collaboration and taken positive steps to engage with those beyond the academy to influence change? How are you mobilising your research into action to ensure change can happen to benefit society today?

On this page

What do we mean by real impact?
Impact is the provable effects of research in the real world. It is the changes we can see (demonstrate, measure, capture), beyond academia (in society, economy, environment), which happen because of our research (caused by or contributed to).

Submission form questions

  1. The background
    Briefly explain why you or your team are committed to mobilising research into action to deliver societal change (max 200 words)
  2. The research
    Outline the specific area of research and the international collaboration involved and why it needs action to benefit society (max 500 words)
  3. The implementation
    Explain your approach to mobilising your research, any challenges you faced and why it is innovative in generating real change (max 500 words)

Judging process

The judging process for this award will be completed in two parts.

Stage 1 - All eligible entries will be shared with the allocated judges for this category and scored based on the criteria below. A shortlist of entries (finalists) will be decided based on the highest scores received. All judging is anonymous and only your written entry and career stage are shared with the judging panel.

Stage 2 – The finalists have the opportunity to provide further information and evidence based on the judge’s feedback. There will be a second judging session where all additional information and scorecard from the first round will be discussed and from this a winner and two highly commended entries will be decided.

Judging criteria

Clarity: How clearly has the nominee(s) explained their commitment to mobilising their research to deliver societal change? * (10 points)

Focus: How well has the international collaboration involved to mobilise their research been explained? * (10 points)

Effect: How clearly have the tangible benefits to the research and international collaboration been explained? * (10 points)

Innovation: How innovative are their efforts to international collaboration to drive research into practice and generate real change? * (10 points)

*Submissions will also be judged on how clear the entries are written, and how engaging and free from jargon they are for a non-specialist audience.


One overall individual or team/institution winner plus two highly commended

Winner(s) will receive:

  • Their impact commitment celebrated through a case study written by our specialist editors; each case study will form part of our Real Impact Awards Showcase publication, a copy of which will be provided to each winner and highly commended entry
  • An invitation to a celebration event in 2023
  • A certificate and physical award
  • Inclusion in a global social campaign once the Showcase Book has been finalised, which will put the spotlight on each of the winner’s stories and their commitment to impact
  • The opportunity to publish their research via a relevant channel

Highly commended will receive:

  • Their impact commitment celebrated through a case study written by our specialist editors; each case study will form part of our Real Impact Awards Showcase publication, a copy of which will be provided to each winner and highly commended
  • A certificate
  • Additional publicity across global Emerald marketing channels

2022/3 award winner

The Blood Borne Virus Prevention Research Team, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Reducing harm through co-creation

The Blood Borne Virus Prevention Research Team, based at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, is a specialist team who focus on reducing inequalities in blood-borne virus prevention and sexual health.

Their efforts align with the World Health Organization's goals to end AIDS and eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. The team work collaboratively with marginalised communities and focus on people who inject drugs (PWID) and their research aims to identify patterns of infection and engage people who inject drugs with care and prevention.

Read the full case study

Professor Claudia Estcourt photo  Professor Sharon Hutchinson photo

Left to right: Professor Claudia Estcourt, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK and Professor Sharon Hutchinson, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Take a look at our other award categories