news item

Emerald Publishing announces winners of 2021 Real Impact Awards

3rd May 2022

Emerald Publishing has announced the winners of its fourth Real Impact Awards which celebrate the commitment to impact by the global research community.

The awards received almost 80 high quality entries from researchers and institutions around the world. The judging panel, comprising of experts in impact, knowledge exchange, research funding, policy-making, library and scholarly communications and interdisciplinary research experts assessed the submissions based on the type of impact that the entries committed to achieving within four separate categories.

The 2021 winners are:

Interdisciplinary Research Award

Dr Mirela Barbu, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex Business School, Professor Martin Spinelli, School of Media, Arts and Humanities at the University of Sussex and Dr Shaher Abdullateef, ACDP-SAE (Syrian Academic Expertise), for their research project promoting sustainable agri-food value chains in Syria through podcasting.

This project aimed to help Syrian farmers deal with the effects of the Syrian conflict which resulted in a collapse of support services for farmers. This was achieved through providing Syrian agricultural experts with knowledge and new media to sustain farmers in northwest Syria by producing an innovative podcast series for Syrian farmers on sustainable agricultural practices.

Mobilising Research into Action

Professor Claudia Estcourt at Glasgow Caledonian University and Professor Sharon Hutchinson at Glasgow Caledonian University, for their Blood Borne Virus Prevention Research Group.

This dynamic research group are committed to reducing inequalities in sexual health and BBV prevention in alignment with the World Health Organization goals of ending AIDS and eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. By working in close partnership with Public Health Scotland, NHS, national and international Government, and civil society, the group have had a huge amount of success in rapid translation of research into practice and policy which is ultimately benefitting marginalised communities, and especially People Who Inject Drugs (PWID).

Driving the Impact Agenda

Levente Szász, Csaba Bálint, Dénes Csala, Ottó Csíki, Bálint Zsolt Nagy and Béla-Gergely Rácz from the Babes-Bolyai University, Romania, for the COVID-19: Romanian Economic Impact Monitor.

This project aimed to tackle misinformation and fake news during the pandemic by developing a daily-updated online portal and social media interface to deliver timely information to help influence pandemic-related decision-making mechanisms. Using cutting-edge data visualisation techniques with economic analysis and forecasting tools, their commitment has brought about a significant change to the national research environment in Romania.

Alongside this year’s winners, the following entries were highly commended:

  • Improving Water Supply Systems Resilience to Floods: Developing a Measurement Tool for Tanzania by Lukuba Ngalya Sweya, Ardhi University, Tanzania and Professor Suzanne Wilkinson, Massey University, New Zealand for the Interdisciplinary Research Award.
  • Gradient Concrete // Resource- and emission-reduced concrete building construction system by Dr Ferdinand Oswald, The University of Auckland, New Zealand, Professor Lucio Blandini, University of Stuttgart, Professor Werner Sobek, University of Stuttgart, and Dr Walter Haase, University of Stuttgart, Germany for the Interdisciplinary Research Award.
  • White Water Writers by Yvonne Skipper, University of Glasgow and Dr Joseph Reddington from eQuality Time for the Mobilising Research into Action Award.
  • Dr Faith Welch, Research Impact Manager at the University of Auckland for the Driving the Impact Agenda Award.
  • Phuntsho Norbu, Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan for the Library Commitment to Uncovering Real Impact Award

Tony Roche, Chief Executive Officer at Emerald Publishing, said: “We understand the pressure that the research community is under to demonstrate the provable benefits of their research and we believe that alongside this pressure, there should be more opportunities to take the time to celebrate and reward the research that is driving real change in society.

"This is why our awards programme is so important to us and is fundamental to the six commitments we have pledged in our renewed Impact Manifesto which we launched earlier this year. Within the commitment we aim to encourage the sector to highlight and reward examples of research that is driving real change through initiatives like award programmes."

"We were also particularly encouraged to see so many entries again this year linking to the UN’s SDGs, responding to the impact of the pandemic, and addressing areas related to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, all of which are a real priority for us in publishing research aligned to these themes.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our fantastic judging panel for their time and commitment to recognising and rewarding researchers that are making a difference."

Over the past few years, Emerald has mobilised community action through the Impact Advisory Board, become a signatory of DORA, worked with experts to co-create impact literacy resources and the Time for Change Report, relaunched Emerald Insight, and launched SDG Gateways on Emerald Open Research, to make content more discoverable.

Since launching its Impact Manifesto in 2018, Emerald has seen green shoots of progress towards addressing outdated measures of impact and barriers to participation, but believes significant change requires the entire sector to commit and act. So, this year the publisher has relaunched its Real Impact Manifesto asking the sector to work together through its Are you in? campaign towards a fairer, more equitable environment where research can have a real-world impact and those within it can reach their full potential.

All 2021 winners and highly commended will be featured in the Real Impact Awards Showcase book. Written by Emerald Editors, the Showcase Book will tell their stories of their impact commitment and the work they are doing towards making a difference to their communities and the wider society.

You can find out more about Emerald’s awards and commitment to impactful research, by reading Emerald’s refreshed Impact Manifesto and getting involved with the debate on our Real Impact blog. And you can pledge your support for the 'Are you in?' campaign here.



About Emerald

Emerald Publishing provides a range of publishing services to help researchers tell their stories in a meaningful and timely way, providing innovative tools and services to build confidence and capability in impactful research. As a proud signatory of DORA, Emerald is committed to establishing new pathways to impact, making research more accessible, and helping communities make decisions that change their world for the better.

For over 50 years Emerald’s core purpose has been to champion fresh thinkers and help them make a difference so that little by little those in academia or in practice can unite to bring positive change in the real world. Emerald Publishing is delighted to be named Independent Publisher of the Year and Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year in the Independent Publishers Guild 2020 Independent Publishing Awards.

Notes on Emerald Publishing and usage during COVID-19  

At present we are living in a difficult and uncertain time around the world, as we face the fight against COVID-19. Now, more than ever, people need quick and easy online access to the information we publish on Emerald Insight and the opportunities to share their research, so we are keen to ensure that all of our users have access to research, even if institutions are closed. To help with any issues, and keep people up to date with new information we launched our Customer Support Portal. 

We have made research on COVID-19, the management of epidemics and pandemics, and supply chain management free for anyone to access and have also made this available with full text and data mining rights to PubMed Central and the World Health Organisation repository. We will continue to make relevant research freely available on this site. 


Rebecca Torr
PR and Content Manager
Emerald Publishing
[email protected]

Twitter @EmeraldGlobal
Facebook Emerald Publishing