King's Geographer wins prestigious ESRC Impact Champion Prize

King’s Geography PhD student Briony Turner has been crowned this year’s prestigious Impact Champion from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for her work on Intrepid Explorers.

Briony’s enthusiasm for inspiring, supporting and enabling others to pursue an interest in geography through Intrepid Explorers gained her the 2016 Impact Champion title and a 10,000 prize, awarded at the 2016 ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize ceremony held on 22nd June at Central Hall, Westminster in London. Briony was just one of two shortlisted students for the award which recognises and rewards the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved or are currently achieving outstanding economic and societal impacts. She was the only PhD student to be awarded a prize. The presentation ceremony was hosted by Professor Alan Gillespie, head of the ESRC and the event was chaired by Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor of the Guardian.

The judging panel for the ESRC Impact Champion 2016 award praised Briony for her ability to secure impact through nurturing and developing the skills of her peers, and through generating enthusiasm and excitement among researchers, school children and the general public for expeditions and field work.

Briony launched Intrepid Explorers in 2012, as a way of articulating her passion for all things geography; bringing to life the excitement of field research and expeditions – and bringing it to a wider audience through educational and public engagement events. At the heart of the project lies the recognition that while geographers travel all over the world conducting research, they rarely talk of their experiences abroad which in turn brings to life the often dry academic findings statistics and data. Beginning as a seminar series drawing together researchers and explorers to tell tales behind their expeditions, Now in its fifth year it has grown to include regular film screenings, Q&A sessions, workshops, a newsletter and a website.

Professor Mike Hulme, Head of Department of Geography at King’s, said:

‘I am delighted that Briony has won the ESRC Prize for 2016 Impact Champion. This is testimony to her great enthusiasm for geography as a form of enquiry and learning that changes both the world and the individual. It was Briony’s inspirational vision that created Intrepid Explorers, through which many students from school GCSE to university PhD have drawn inspiration, but Briony also demonstrates a commitment in her own PhD research and now in her professional life to crafting knowledge which ‘makes a difference’. I am very proud that King’s Geography has provided the incubation space for Briony’s ideas to flourish.’

’For Briony to have achieved this degree of impact in such a relatively short time is remarkable,’ says Professor David Green, Vice-Dean for Education, Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy.‘In more than 30 years of teaching, I cannot think of a PhD student who has done more to inspire others to achieve success – from children taking GCSEs and A Levels, to fellow PhD students and, indeed, to academic members of staff and the department more widely.

Read more on the ESRC website

  • Ms Briony Turner won the Impact Champion category in the 2016 ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize and received a prize award of 10,000. Briony is from the Department of Geography, in the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy at King’s College London and a Knowledge Exchange Manager for the UK Climate Impacts Programme, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. She was named Impact Champion in the 2016 ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize and received a prize award of 10,000. The awards ceremony took place at Central Hall, Westminster on 22 June 2016.
  • For further details of Intrepid Explorers visit
  • The ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize is an annual opportunity to recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved, or are currently achieving, outstanding economic and societal impacts. First run in 2013 and now in its fourth year, the prize celebrates collaborative working, partnerships, engagement and knowledge exchange activities that have led to significant impact of ESRC-funded research. In addition to the prize for Impact Champion, prizes were presented in four other categories: Outstanding Early Career Impact, Outstanding Impact in Society, Outstanding International Impact and Outstanding Impact in Public Policy.
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. The ESRC also works collaboratively with six other UK