Reading social sciences projects to integrate hospital data and to improve language learning in the classroom have been recognised in this year’s O2RB Excellence in Impact Awards.

Dr Weizi Li (Henley Business School) has won an Excellence in Impact Award and the research of Professor Suzanne Graham (Institute of Education) was highly commended.

The awards, which celebrate innovative social sciences projects that have made a social or economic difference to individuals, communities, and societies were presented at a ceremony attended by several Reading researchers, at St Anne’s College, Oxford on 19th April.

Award winning data systems for better healthcare

Dr Li’s project was celebrated for its positive impact on the Chinese healthcare system through developing and implementing a data integration system. This system was developed alongside senior hospital managers in Chinese hospitals. It has improved operational practices, treatment processes and clinical pathways, benefiting both hospital staff and patients.

“The Excellence in Impact Award is a great recognition for myself and my collaborators’ efforts to translate our research into action over the years,” Dr Li explained after receiving the award.

“It is very encouraging for us to produce high quality research that continues to make a difference to individuals, communities and societies both in the UK and globally.”

The system has now been adopted by over 2000 hospitals, and has led to the first ever Chinese digital health company to be listed on the stock market (SinLdo).

Dr Li received her award from Dr Caroline Kenny, UCL and Social Sciences Advisor at Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

Educational research highly commended

Panel members were impressed with the high standard of entries and the diversity of research and impacts they represented, and several additional projects were recognised as ‘highly commended’.

Professor Suzanne Graham’s work, which explores how learners develop listening skills, was recognised in this way, for its extensive reach and significance in education. Her research on strategies for language learning has underpinned textbooks and learning methods used worldwide. It has also influenced changes in GCSE and A level frameworks, affecting tens of thousands of learners across the UK. Her research that led to development of an assessment tool for teachers, has reached over 500,000 professionals throughout Europe.

Speaking after the awards ceremony, Professor Suzanne Graham said: “I’m thrilled that my work with language learners and teachers over the last decade or more has been recognised in this way.  It will be a great boost for my current projects in modern languages classrooms, where colleagues and I are collaborating with amazing practitioners to bring about improved motivation for and attainment in learning another language.”

Recognising impact across the social sciences

O2RB is a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the University of Reading, The Open University, and Oxford Brookes University. The collaboration is designed to build and strengthen regional partnerships for research impact via Oxford’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA).

The projects rewarded by the panel demonstrate the novel and thriving ways in which social sciences research, and all of the staff who support it, make a difference both in the UK and globally. Recognising these achievements will inspire others to forge partnerships beyond academia to explore creative avenues to use social sciences research to its best potential: the award winners have done exactly that.

Chair of the O2RB Excellence in Impact Awards panel, Professor Mark Pollard (Associate Head of Division (Research), Social Sciences) said: “The awards celebrate the exceptional impacts on society being made by social scientists from the four partner institutions.

“The panel has 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.”


For further information about Professor Graham’s current projects visit: