Associate Professor Abigail Adams and Associate Professor Jeremias Prassl have won an award in this year’s O2RB Excellence in Impact Awards, in a ceremony held at St Anne’s College, Oxford on 19th April. The awards recognise and reward innovative social sciences projects which have made a social or economic difference to individuals, communities, and societies.

The team’s research was celebrated for its direct contribution to the overturning of a Supreme Court judgement, which led to the abolishment of employment tribunal fees. Research by Professor Adams (from the Department of Economics) and Professor Prassl (from the Faculty of Law) led to the building of a detailed economic model which demonstrated the adverse effect that fees had on employment tribunal justice. They were then able to use this evidence to directly support the senior barristers who were appealing the judgement. As a result, the Ministry of Justice was obligated to refund more than £30 million in employment tribunal fees which had been collected illegally. The presentation of the award was made by Professor Peter Kemp, Vice-Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

The awards were organized by O2RB – a regional impact partnership between the Universities of Oxford, Reading, Oxford Brookes, and the Open University, and supported by the Oxford ESRC Impact Acceleration Account and Taylor & Francis.

Chair of the O2RB Excellence in Impact Awards panel, Professor Mark Pollard (Associate Head of Division (Research), Social Sciences) said: ‘The awards have been a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the exceptional impacts on society being made by social scientists from the four partner institutions. The panel have been impressed with the diversity and depth of the projects recognised, and hope that this will inspire even more social scientists to explore what impact might look like for their research, and the ways in which it might be achieved.’



The O2RB Excellence in Impact Awards have three categories: Excellence in Impact Awards for established researchers, an Early Career Impact Champion, and an overall Impact Champion. There will also be a number of projects in the first two categories which are recognised as Highly Commended.

Winning entries receive a cash prize of £2,500 to support the continuation of this impact work. The overall Impact Champion (to be presented by Prof. Sarah Whatmore, FBA, FAcSS, Head of Division (Social Sciences), University of Oxford) will be announced live on 19th April. They will be selected from the four Excellence in Impact Award winners, and will receive an additional £2,500 (so £5,000 in total).