A Q&A with Head of Communications Rob Calder about the SSA’s Impact Prize and Engagement Grants, which encourage and recognise efforts to improve the scientific understanding of addiction.

Are these new prizes for the SSA?

Well, kind of. We have revamped both the Impact Prize and the Engagement Grants. They each encourage and recognise work that improves the scientific understanding of addiction. We want research to make a difference, and we want to be a part of that, by acknowledging expertise and funding innovative forms of engagement.

So, what’s the Impact Prize?

The Impact Prize is an annual award to someone whose research has had an impact on treatment, policy, practice, or communities. This could involve science communication – for example, by talking about your research on TV, or writing blogs or threads on Twitter. It could also be on a more local scale, so for example, you might have talked to treatment providers or policymakers.

We want people to think about all the ways in which their research can improve the lives of people who use drugs. If this applies to you or your team, then put yourselves forward for an award. If you see one of your colleagues making an impact, persuade them to apply for this award. Tell them there’s a cash prize.

The winner (or the winning team) will be awarded the prize at the SSA Annual Conference in November, which includes a cash prize of £1,000, plus up to £500 to help them attend the conference.

Previous winners of the Impact Prize have included Sarah Jackson for work on smoking, social housing, and health inequalities, and Magdalena Harris, whose research on injecting harms and soft tissue infection had a positive and practical impact on people who inject drugs.

Okay, what about the Engagement Grants?

Our Engagement Grants scheme is a merger of two previous SSA funding schemes: the projects scheme; and conferences funding. Our Engagement Grants are designed to help fund people’s ideas and get them into action. This scheme is not for primary research, but rather is designed to support innovative ideas that increase engagement with addiction research. It’s for those projects that are based on evidence, and which complement the latest research, but explore how to broaden the impact – for example, through raising awareness, or by implementing research findings.

We would love to see applications that involve collaborations between people with lived experience, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers. We are also interested in proposals that seek to reduce health inequalities.

In previous years we have funded a citizens’ jury, a fact-finding and Delphi process for autism and addiction, and smoking cessation educational materials for families with a child in a neonatal hospital unit.

How do I apply?

Anyone can apply for the Impact Prize – you can do so here. The deadline for applications is 5 June 2023. It might seem like a long time away, but June will soon be here.

You have to be a member of the SSA to apply for an Engagement Grant. The application form is here and we will review applications twice per year – on the 28 April and 29 September – so it’s best to time your applications around those deadlines.

If you want to know more, please get in touch and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Q&A written by Rob Calder, and edited by Natalie Davies

The opinions expressed in this post reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official positions of the SSA.

The SSA does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information in external sources or links and accepts no responsibility or liability for any consequences arising from the use of such information.


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