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Please read guidance notes before applying to MPLS Impact Awards.

Application/Nomination deadline: Thursday, 25 April 2024


The annual MPLS Impact Awards aim to foster and raise awareness of impact by rewarding individuals and teams at a local level. These awards also prepare the ground for the impact case studies that will be needed for future impact reporting, e.g. Research Excellence Framework (REF). Awards are presented at the MPLS Reception in 2024 (event to be confirmed), with a pay award of £1,000 (minus taxes) made to the individual.


MPLS Impact Awards are open to all researchers in Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, this includes academics, postdoctoral researchers, postgraduates, and technicians. Individuals or groups can apply directly (self-nominate), or be nominated by one or more person (nominators).

Researchers who have submitted (or intend to submit [note 1 below]) an application for a Vice Chancellor’s Innovation and Engagement Award [note 2 below] can also be nominated to MPLS Impact Awards.

However, projects/researchers that have received either a Vice Chancellor’s Innovation and Engagement Award, or a commendation for Vice Chancellor’s Innovation and Engagement Award, or received a MPLS Impact Award, are not eligible to be nominated for an MPLS Impact Award for the same project, in a similar or related category, unless demonstrably significant progress has been made. 

Nominations of large research programme teams/consortia are not eligible, however their researchers can be nominated for their individual achievements.

[Note 1] to the current call of Vice Chancellor’s Innovation and Engagement Award.

[Note 2] Includes Vice Chancellor’s Innovation Award/Vice Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Award.

Award categories

Individuals may be nominated in any one of the following five categories.

Commercial Impact

To recognise researchers at any career stage for research that has had significant commercial/economic impact since 1 August 2019. Examples could be the establishment of spin-out companies, contributions from collaborative working with business, or research that has led to licensing deals or the development of new products, tools and technologies. This category is open to those that have provided a financial return, or those that are not commercially profitable yet.

Social Impact

To recognise researchers at any career stage for research that has had significant social impact since 1 August 2019.

The social impact category could include a broad range of impacts of research, such as those on wider society, health and wellbeing, advocacy, ethical and cultural issues, practice, public health, social enterprise, the third sector, culture and the environment, etc. There is a separate category for public policy.

Early Career Impact

To recognise Early Career Researchers’ independent engagement with external organisations or end-users, as laying the foundations for future impactful research in social or commercial category.

Early Career Researchers (ECRs) are defined as those within seven years of their DPhil award (hence, DPhil students may not apply to the ECR category). ECR nominations should demonstrate engagement that is beyond what might be expected, as compared with their peers.

Public Engagement with Research Impact

To recognise researchers at any career stage who have achieved significant impact since 1 August 2019 through high-quality public engagement with research activities.

High quality public engagement with research is any project that seeks to inform and inspire, consult or collaborate with defined public audiences in a purposeful manner that utilises appropriate methods, and is suitably evaluated.

Policy Impact

To recognise researchers at any career stage for research that has had significant policy impact since 1 August 2019.

The award will recognise successful efforts involving use of, or communication of research that influenced policy at a local, national or international level, either through working with politicians, civil servants, practitioners, regulatory organisations or other policymakers or influencers.

How to apply

The application process is intended to be light touch, with REF definitions for impact applied. All current and retired academic staff and senior researchers are eligible to apply (unless otherwise specifically stated under the category details). Individuals are welcome to submit applications relating to themselves or to nominate others. The intention is that only one award will be made in each category, apart from in exceptional cases.

Applications should indicate which category of award is being applied for and include an evidenced account describing the activity in question, the contribution of the nominee/applicant and, in particular, a short verifiable statement of the impact (or likely impact in the case of Early Career Impact and Public Engagement with Research Impact categories).

The application/nomination should be submitted to by Thursday, 25 April 2024.

Assessment process

Once applications have been received, Heads of Department will be invited to endorse or otherwise comment on all applications from their department. All endorsed applications will then be assessed by a cross-divisional panel, chaired by Professor Dermot O’Hare, MPLS Associate Head (Industrial Liaison and Innovation).

Contact information

Please direct any queries in the first instance to Anuj Bhatt (Impact and Innovation Officer, MPLS) at

Assessment criteria

The Panel will be looking at MPLS Impact Award applications for clear evidence:

  • that impact has been achieved (or is likely to be realised in future – for ECR and PER categories), and is underpinned by research;
  • of the significance/scale of the impact – such as the importance or magnitude of change/benefit;
  • of the reach of the impact – such as extent or range of people or organisations to benefit.

Key Deadlines

Application/Nomination submitted by:      25 April 2024

Department Endorsement submitted by:    3 May 2024

MPLS Impact Awards Panel meeting:   May/June 2024 (exact date TBC)

MPLS Impact Awards Reception (TBC):                2024 (exact date TBC)