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The Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Research Impact and Engagement

These awards recognise outstanding achievement, innovation and creativity in devising and implementing ambitious engagement and impact plans which have the potential to create significant economic, social and cultural impact from, and engagement with, research.

Award categories and eligibility

Early career researcher

This category exemplifies the best of what Cambridge’s newer generations of researchers can achieve in impact and engagement. Open to PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, or research fellows, applicants must show significant achievements in research impact and engagement with the potential to become future champions in these areas. Candidates must be based at the University of Cambridge University at the point of submission and a strong link to research conducted at the University must be evidenced.

Established academic

Open to academic staff (excluding PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and research fellows) who have demonstrated excellence in impact and engagement as an integral part of their research career. A strong link to research conducted at the University of Cambridge must be evidenced.

This category includes awards for both individual academics and for research teams.

Professional services staff

This award recognises the commitment and excellence of University professional services staff in facilitating and supporting researchers and academics in research impact and engagement activities. Staff with Public Engagement and Impact in their job description are also eligible to apply. 

Collaboration award

This category welcomes applications from teams and partnerships engaged in impact and engagement activity. Teams can be composed of members from all career stages and external partners. A strong link to research conducted at the University of Cambridge must be evidenced. 

Scope of the awards

We recognise that excellence in research impact and engagement spans a broad range of audiences and types of activity. Applicants are encouraged to include the full breadth of their impact and engagement activity in their submission.

Engaging stakeholders and beneficiaries in original and inventive ways helps reach new audiences. We encourage applications which can demonstrate either impactful long-term collaborations or imaginative approaches that have secured the participation of new beneficiaries and partners.

For the purposes of the awards, research impact and engagement activity may include any of the below:

  • activity, attitude, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding
  • a stakeholder, audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals
  • any geographic location whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally
  • the reduction or prevention of harm, risk, cost or other negative effects
  • major impacts on curricula and teaching pedagogy which extend significantly beyond the University of Cambridge
  • research communication through a variety of media
  • engagement with research through festivals, exhibitions, performances, partnerships with arts, heritage and cultural and community organisations
  • engagement with policy-makers
  • engagement through business and industry collaborations
  • engagement with any other non-academic stakeholder group which has potential for social, economic and/or cultural impact
  • commercialisation of research through spin-outs and licensing
  • partnerships with public services including the wider education sector and schools, NHS, local government, government agencies, and other public bodies

Impact on research or the advancement of academic knowledge within the higher education sector (whether in the UK or internationally) is excluded.

​How to apply

Applications for 2022 will open in July.

Please contact Dr Selen Etingu-Breslaw for any queries:


Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards 2016-2021

Read about the 2021 Research Impact and Engagement Award winners

Read about the 2020 Research Impact and Engagement Award winners

Read about the 2019 Research Impact and Engagement Award winners 

Read about the 2018 Public Engagement with Research Award winners

Read about the 2017 Public Engagement with Research Award winners.

Read about the 2016 Public Engagement with Research Award winners.