Jul 05

Public Engagement Fund – Wellcome Trust

Funding available to support ideas for engaging the public in conversations about health-related science and research.

Fund Information

Funding body:
Wellcome Trust
Maximum value:
£ 3,000,000
Application deadline:
None specified

Extended Description

The Wellcome Trust’s Public Engagement Fund replaces its Society, People, Large Arts, Small Arts, Development, Co-production, Capital and International Engagement Awards. It is designed to support good ideas for engaging the public in conversations about health-related science and research by funding activities, projects, creative spaces, people and organisations.

Proposals should:

  • Enable the public to explore health-related science and research in ways that are relevant to them.
  • Take an inventive approach, expand on existing work or offer a new perspective on a subject.
  • Meet the Trust’s public engagement vision.

For 2017, the Trust is particularly interested in proposals that:

  • Explore the impact of a changing environment on health.
  • Aim to achieve better outcomes.
  • Test new ways of engaging people with health-related science and research.
  • Reach communities in the top 25 per cent most deprived neighbourhoods in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Eligibility Criteria

The fund is open to anyone, including those working in the arts, entertainment media, museums and heritage, leisure, sport and tourism, education and informal learning, and the community, charity and public sectors. Organisations applying do not need to have science and health as their core activity.

Teams should have the right expertise to develop and deliver the activity and this should include a subject expert, eg a researcher in a science or health-related discipline, or a health professional. This expert can lead the activity, be a collaborator or take on an advisory role.

Activities must take place in one or more of the following places:

  • UK.
  • Republic of Ireland.
  • Low- or middle-income country within Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or East Asia and Pacific.

Additional Information

New applicants with an idea for a public engagement proposal can take part in the Trust’s pilot buddy programme. This pairs applicants up with a Wellcome grantholder who will use their experience to help articulate and strengthen ideas.

Value Notes

Awards can range from £5,000 to £3 million over a maximum duration of five years.

Proposals up to £25,000 can include small projects for people trying public engagement for the first time. Or could be for new and risky projects, for those with experience. Proposals can also be for research and development to scope out larger, more ambitious projects.

Proposals between £25,000 and £100,000 must be ambitious and innovative to be competitive.

Proposals between £100,000 and £500,000 should aim to bring about significant change, eg to the audience’s views on health or to the practice of public engagement.

Proposals over £500,000 should be for large activities, eg capital projects or exhibitions.

Funding can be used for:

  • Salaries.
  • Fees for other people who are essential to the proposal, eg consultants and artists.
  • Research/teaching buy-out leave to cover the cost of a temporary replacement lecturer or teacher.
  • Materials and consumables.
  • Equipment.
  • Production costs, including marketing.
  • Development, including building and refurbishment.
  • Travel and subsistence relevant to proposal.
  • Evaluation and dissemination of work.
  • Contingency.
  • Organisational overheads for organisations based in low- and middle-income countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or East Asia and Pacific.
  • Other costs.


Applicants cannot apply if their activity is about:

  • Art for therapeutic purposes.
  • Providing simple health information.
  • Telling people what to do rather than giving them the information to make their own decisions.
  • Academic research (unless it is integral to the proposal’s development, eg action research).

Awards do not fund:

  • Costs incurred before proposed activity starts.
  • Salary costs for staff who are already funded by their organisation.
  • Academic courses such as Master’s degrees or PhDs, and other tuition fees.
  • Organisational overheads that are not related to the activities, eg heating and rent, in organisations in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

Terms and Conditions

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • People to be reached and why they are being targeted.
  • How proposed activities are to be delivered.
  • Changes which may result.
  • Previous activities or knowledge that the proposal will build on.
  • Why this moment is the right time.
  • Why the Trust’s support is important.

Grants awarded for commercial media projects are always subject to contract. The Trust requires a proportional share of any financial benefits arising from any commercial exploitation of a funded project. It also expects certain rights and credits in return for its investment.

Application Procedure

On the Trust’s Grant Tracker system, applicants should select the application form that relates to the level of funding they are asking for. Applications can be made at any time.

Decisions are usually given within ten weeks, but may take up to fifteen weeks.

For applications for over £100,000 that are taken forward, applicants are asked to fill in a more detailed application form and invited for interview. This process can take anything from three months to one year.

Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

  1. Grant Enquiries
    Wellcome Trust
    Gibbs Building
    215 Euston Road
    NW1 2BE
    Tel: 020 7611 5757
    Email: grantenquiries@wellcome.ac.uk

Leave a Reply