ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize winners 2023

The Department is delighted to share that two ESRC Celebrating Impact prizes have been awarded to researchers from Oxford.


The first of these two awards is the Outstanding Early Career Impact Prize, which has been awarded to Lukas Lehner at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. The award recognises the significance and impact of the project “Designing a guaranteed job scheme to employ long-term unemployed people”, which investigated the economic and social benefits of a universal job guarantee to the unemployed.

The project consisted of a universal job guarantee scheme for over 100 participants from the Austrian town of Marienthal who had been unemployed for over a year. Lukas worked with Professor Maximilian Kasy to design an evaluation of the scheme and measure its impact. The project demonstrated that the universal job guarantee boosted participants’ happiness, financial security and sense of involvement in their community, while also eliminating long-term unemployment. Find out more about the project by watching Lukas’ impact video for the ESRC, or by reading the UKRI report here.


The second prize was the Outstanding Public Policy Impact Prize, awarded to Dr Kate Orkin, Associate Professor in Economics and Public Policy. The award recognises the impact of the project, “Redesigning social protection in South Africa: poverty relief, job search and youth employment during COVID-19”, on public policy in South Africa in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Kate Orkin’s research was on ‘unconditional cash transfers’, where poor households are recipients of money without conditions. Insights from this project informed the South African government’s design and implementation of welfare responses to the pandemic, ameliorating the social condition of 5.5 million people who were facing poverty and hunger. Find out more about the project by watching Kate’s impact video for the ESRC.