Refugee Studies Centre Honored with ESRC Impact Prize

The Celebrating Impact competition recognizes and rewards researchers who have achieved impact through outstanding research, knowledge exchange activities, collaborative partnerships, and engagement with different communities – and who received funding from Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council.

Since it was established nine years ago, the Celebrating Impact Prize has highlighted and recognized some of the ways in which ESRC-funded research impacts the economy and society. This awards for 2021 especially reflect contributions being made by the social sciences to helping communities and businesses navigate the challenges facing us including recovery from the global pandemic is critical to not only the UK but also globally.

All winners and finalists have demonstrated the impact of their work and illustrated its relevance and importance to society. They are already contributing to policy debates in their specialist areas and their influence will continue in years to come. 

This year’s prize categories are Outstanding Early Career Impact; Outstanding Business and Enterprise Impact; Outstanding International Impact; Outstanding Public Policy Impact; and Outstanding Societal Impact. Below we highlight the Outstanding International Impact winner. Check back for future blog posts focusing on the other prize categories. 

Outstanding International Impact

Alexander Betts
Alexander Betts is the Leopold Muller Professor Of Forced Migration And International Affairs at the University of Oxford

The Refugee Studies Centre was named the Outstanding International Impact winner from the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2020.

Led by professor Alexander Betts of University of Oxford, ESRC-funded researchers have drawn international attention to the key role played by refugee-led organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting a rapid change in global policy and providing vital assistance to more than 100,000 of the most vulnerable refugees.

Early in the pandemic, the research team highlighted such capabilities to governments, NGOs, policymakers and potential donors through a series of online seminars featuring refugees and refugee-led organization (RLO) leaders. “We were able to showcase the great work of RLOs to senior policymakers and NGOs sitting in the same virtual room as refugees themselves,” says Betts.

Some of the impacts that the research team has created are:

  • Helped secure over US$50 million of new funding for refugee-led organizations through attracting innovative forms of finance from philanthropic foundations and governments
  • Presented evidence of the importance of engaging directly with refugees within the humanitarian system has prompted international NGOs such as the International Rescue Committee to collaborate directly with RLOs
  • Shaped debates within the United Nations, influencing the UN Refugee Agency to create a new partnership status for refugee-led organizations, a global database of RLOs, an Innovation Prize for RLOs, and plan a multilateral funding mechanism to enable donors to invest in RLOs

Learn more about the Refugee Studies Centre and the reshaped debate on refugee assistance:

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Hailey Lanford

Hailey Lanford is a senior at The George Washington University, studying English and linguistics. She is a SAGE global communications intern, Virginia Young Poets in the Community fellow, and enjoys exploring Washington, D.C.

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