Professor Kevin Bales Wins the ESRC 2018 Outstanding International Impact Prize

Researchers whose work has made a real difference to society or the economy were celebrated at the ESRC’s annual Impact Prize awards ceremony at the Royal Society on 20 June 2018. Amongst them, Professor Kevin Bales, one of our TNOC Innovation Award holders, was awarded with the Outstanding International Impact Prize for revealing the true numbers of modern slavery.

The Economic and Social Research Council’s Celebrating Impact Prize is now in its sixth year, recognising and rewarding ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved impact through outstanding research, knowledge exchange activities, collaborative partnerships and engagement with different communities. Each winner was awarded a prize of £10,000 to be spent on furthering knowledge exchange; public engagement; or other communications activities to promote the economic and social impact of their research. 

To reflect the diverse ways in which social science has led to significant impact of ESRC-funded research, there are five different categories, as well as a prize for the Impact Champion – awarded to an individual with a significant track record in supporting and enabling others to achieve impact. The winners were chosen from a shortlist of submissions that was selected by a panel of experts. An additional prize was awarded: £1,000 to the winner of the Future Promise prize, selected by the panel to recognise the future potential of the individual’s work.  Prize categories and winners were:

  • Outstanding Impact in Public Policy: Dr Abigail Adams, University of Oxford.
  • Outstanding Impact in Society: Professor Emma Renold, Cardiff University.
  • Outstanding International Impact: Professor Kevin Bales, University of Nottingham.
  • Outstanding Early Career Impact (in partnership with SAGE): Dr Abigail Dymond, University of Exeter.
  • Outstanding Impact in Business and Enterprise: Dr Denise Baden, University of Southampton.
  • Impact Champion: Professor Matthew Flinders, University of Sheffield.
  • Future Promise Prize: Brett Heasman, London School of Economics (LSE). 

Our TNOC Innovation Award holder Professor Bales was awarded with the Outstanding International Impact prize to recognise the value of his research, which has advanced a new tool for estimating the true extent of modern slavery and trafficking across the world. His adaptation of the Multiple Systems Estimation (MSE) technique, first pioneered for slavery with Sir Bernard Silverman in 2014 for the UK, is helping to provide the first reliable estimates of modern slavery. National and global slavery estimates, including Walk Free’s Global Slavery Index on which Professor Bales collaborates, are the baseline against which the United Nations can measure progress towards its Sustainable Development Goal of ending slavery by 2030.

His ESRC/AHRC-funded work has enabled him to carry out further applications of MSE, particularly in a regional US context.

For further information about the rest of the winners and the awards ceremony, please visit the ESRC’s link.