Oxford researchers win national awards for social benefit of their work

Oxford researchers win national awards for social benefit of their work

Researchers from two Oxford projects have been awarded prizes for the impact of their findings in the UK and around the world.

Professor Lucie Cluver, of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, was awarded an Outstanding International Impact prize for her team's work on reducing young people’s HIV risk in Southern Africa, while Madeleine Sumption and Carlos Vargas-Silva of the Migration Observatory won the Outstanding Impact in Society prize for their work informing the national debate on migration policy.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prizes are worth £10,000 each and are awarded to ESRC-funded social scientists whose work has changed society for the better.

Professor Cluver’s research has led to the development of the “Cash Plus Care” programmes which are now being implemented in countries including Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The programmes, which combine education and welfare grants, can cut HIV risks among teenage girls by 60%, as well as reducing poverty and the risk of abuse.

Professor Cluver, who is Professor of Child and Family Social Work, said: “Impact is the primary aim of our research: to help policymakers provide effective services for vulnerable children. But impact also makes us do better science. We learn all the time from our policy colleagues, from practitioners and from the families we work with. Our impact is a joint team effort, students, field teams and academic partners. And from training nurses in a rural village to speaking at the UN, it is the most rewarding and exciting part of our work.”

The Migration Observatory promotes nuanced debate on migration in the UK, aiming to act as a trusted source of impartial data and analysis to the media and the public.

Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory, said: "Migration debates can be very polarised and toxic. We set out to slowly improve the way in which news organisations, policymakers and the general public understand this complex and highly nuanced subject."

Rob McNeil of the Migration Observatory added: “Policy impact happens through many small interventions. The Migration Observatory doesn’t aim to bring about a single grand impact. Instead we provide a constant flow of accurate information to make sure up-to-date research is always playing a role in the public debate. It’s great that the ESRC has recognised a project which has this kind of incremental impact.”