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School social scientists win ESRC prizes for outstanding impact

Social scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine shared prestigious awards at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Celebrating Impact Prize ceremony held in Westminster on Wednesday 22 June.

The Outstanding International Impact Prize was awarded to the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform, which was developed by Melissa Parker, Fred Martineau and Clare Chandler with partners from the Institute of Development Studies, the Universities of Sussex and Exeter, and Njala University in Sierra Leone. The Platform provided rapid real-time advice and guidelines to policymakers and practitioners during the Ebola crisis, which increased the effectiveness of medical and humanitarian responses, saving lives and reducing the spread of the disease. It was supported by Elrha's Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) Programme, jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and Department for International Development.

Principal investigator Melissa Parker said: "The combination of long term ethnographic engagement with the region and medical anthropology expertise from other parts of sub-Saharan Africa enabled the Platform to make a significant impact. It is heartening to see how much can be achieved when anthropologists work closely together in open dialogue with governments, UN agencies and iNGOs."

Cathy Zimmerman's work on the health impact of human trafficking was runner-up for Outstanding International Impact. has, over the past two decades, produced influential evidence and policy guidance addressing the health needs of millions of human trafficking victims, shaping international responses and developing training materials which are now used in over 155 countries.

"I am really grateful that the ESRC has made such a significant effort to recognise research that moves well-beyond the relatively silent pages of academic journals", she commented.

Alan Gillespie, Chair of the ESRC, said: "All of our winners and finalists should be congratulated on having achieved significant impact and making a real difference to so many lives here in the UK and beyond."

The ESRC's Celebrating Impact Prize is an annual opportunity to recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved, or are currently achieving, outstanding economic or societal impacts.