Sgoil Cheumnaichean Saidheans Sòisealta na h-Alba

Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange Competition

SGSSS are pleased to announce the launch of the 2019 Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange Competition - Enter to earn the chance to win an iPad, and £500 towards developing your knowledge exchange and impact

Open to all social science PhD students registered at SGSSS member institutions, 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.

Competition entry guidelines

Current social science PhD students in their second year or later from SGSSS member institutions across Scotland are invited to submit examples of impact and knowledge exchange (KE) arising from work deriving from their PhD studies. The competition is open to all social science PhD students, 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, 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 10 entries will be given the opportunity to present a poster of their submission at the SGSSS ‘Collaboration Showcase’ event at the V&A Dundee on 15 May 2019.

The 2 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. 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. 

How to apply

Using the competition entry form on GradHub, 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 17 April 2019 and will receive their prize at the SGSSS Collaboration Showcase event at the V&A Dundee on 15 May 2019. Prizes will be presented by Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead MSP.

Please note the competition deadline of noon on Friday 29 March 2019. 

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 process2.

  1. (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.  
Shortlisted candidates 2018 l-r: Jennifer Noall (Runner-up), Robert Skinner, Chloe Maclean, Majdi Ashour, Lilian Kennedy, Ariane Critchley (Runner-up), Lucy Blackburn, Mary Mitchell (Winner) and John Burns. Katy Proctor could not be at the event but received a Commended certificate in absentia.

The winners of last year’s competition were announced at the SGSSS Collaboration Showcase held at the Scottish National Gallery on Edinburgh on 14 May 2018. We were delighted to be joined by Sir John Curtice who presented prizes and certificates of commendation to the ten shortlisted projects.

Below are the shortlisted candidates for the Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange competition 2018. Click on the thumbnails to view the full poster.


Reimagining Family Group Conferencing ‘Outcomes’

Mary Mitchell, University of Edinburgh

This research challenges the conventional ideas of child welfare outcomes by suggesting those outcomes important to children and family members are considered alongside those conceptualised by professionals. This has had considerable impact on professional standards and the development of practice with regard to child welfare service development and evaluation.


Quickening Steps: An Ethnography of Pre-birth Child Protection

Ariane Critchley, University of Edinburgh

This research concerns a challenging and under-developed area of social work practice: pre-birth child protection. Ariane has seized opportunities to share findings to influence the development of practice and policy. Her doctoral research will be launched at the Social Work Scotland Conference 2018, sharing themes for organisational development with those in a position to effect change across Scotland.

Deprivation in rural Scotland: how can we use publically available data to understand poverty and disadvantage in remote and sparsely populated areas?

Jennifer Noall, University of Edinburgh

This research was undertaken as part of an SGSSS internship with Scottish Government and demonstrated how publically available data such as Scotland’s Census and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation can be used by policy makers, Local Government and community organisations in order to better understand rural deprivation.


Fighting with the senses: The doing and undoing of gendered embodiment in karate

Chloe Maclean, University of Edinburgh

Drawn from the findings of her PhD research, Chloe has produced guidance for coaching women and girls for the Scottish Karate Governing Body (SKGB), with the aim of encouraging empowering treatment of women and girls through de-bunking gender myths, informing coaches of positive and negative coaching practices drawn from women’s lived experiences of karate, and of the socio-political context surrounding women’s lived lives.

Examination of the Psychometric Properties of a Strengths-based Assessment, the Recovery Capital Questionnaire, for Patients Accessing Addiction Services

John Burns, University of Stirling

The RCQ is a strengths-based assessment tool, which the author has created and developed. It is used across seven different addiction treatment sites in Scotland by scores of staff with hundreds of clients. John has presented extensively on the topic and has trained more than 150 staff across voluntary and public services in the use of the tool and gained the support of the Scottish Government for further development.

Stalking in Scotland: A Feminist Perspective

Katy Proctor, Glasgow Caledonian University

These research findings have been utilised to provide training for multi-agency practitioners working with victims of stalking and provide consultation during the development of an app for victims. Through delivering over 20 workshops and other training events, Katy has been able to disseminate her findings to over 250 professionals across Scotland, working directly with those who are being stalked.

Who Cares for the Carers?

Lilian Kennedy, University of Edinburgh

This research was undertaken as part of an SGSSS internship with Scottish Government and provided two focused Evidence Summary Reports: Communication Outreach Strategies, and Equalities Considerations for LGBT and BME Carers. Through this work, Lilian interfaced with policy teams to identify key areas of concern and areas of missing research in the successful implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016.

Student loans and the reproduction of inequality: comparing the distribution of student debt in Scotland and Wales

Lucy Blackburn, University of Edinburgh

This research has had a substantial influence on public debate in Scotland on issues related to student funding and widening participation through providing evidence and analysis not available from other sources. It was awarded 2017 “Wonk of the Year” by specialist UK-wide HE website Wonkhe for providing “essential reading for a critical commentary on the funding of Scottish higher education”.

Beyond Resilience in Times of Despair: Out of Pocket Payments on Healthcare and Health Seeking Behaviours in the Gaza Strip

Majdi Ashour, University of Edinburgh

The results of this empirical research on the healthcare system in the Gaza Strip was able to contribute to reframing debates about resilient health systems in conflict affected countries. The research was presented at two sessions of the fourth Global Symposium on Health Policy and System Research and published in the leading health journal “The Lancet”.

Proximity interpreting – video-mediated interpreting (VMI) in frontline police settings

Robert Skinner, Heriot-Watt University

This research is shaping Police Scotland’s policy on how to use VMI services to ensure their services are accessible and usable by deaf (BSL) civilians. It supports interpreters to provide their service in a policing context. The research not only adds value to academic discourse and informs policies around using video interpreting services in a policing context, but aims to make academia accessible to the BSL community.