Public Engagement Funding within Research Grants

We provide funding for Wellcome Trust researchers to engage the public with their work. Public engagement activities – where researchers can share their ideas with the public and get new perspectives on their research – can inspire learning, enhance research and help to improve health.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Postgraduate, Early, Intermediate, Senior, Returning to research

Type of researcher:

Basic, Clinical, Public health

Duration of funding:

For the duration of your Wellcome Trust grant

Contact us

About your eligibility, the application process or general queries about grants:

About our online application system:

Eligibility and suitability

Who can apply

You can apply for dedicated funds to support your public engagement plans if you're:

  • A current Wellcome-funded researcher. You must be a lead applicant from one of our eligible schemes with at least two years of funding remaining.


  • A new applicant to one of our eligible schemes.

Eligible schemes

The following postdoctoral research funding schemes are eligible for this funding:

  • Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship
  • Collaborative Awards
  • Intermediate Clinical Fellowships (existing grantholders only)
  • Intermediate Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine
  • Investigator Awards
  • Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowships for Clinicians (existing grantholders only)
  • Principal Research Fellowships
  • Research Awards for Health Professionals
  • Research Career Development Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Science
  • Research Career Re-entry Fellowships
  • Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Science
  • Research Resources in Humanities and Social Science
  • Senior Research Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Science
  • Senior Research Fellowships in Clinical Science
  • Senior Research Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine
  • Sir Henry Dale Fellowships
  • Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships (existing grantholders only)
  • Training Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine
  • University Awards in Humanities and Social Science

Programme of public engagement activities

You must have a proposal for a programme of public engagement activities. This should include opportunities for you to:

  • take part in discussions about your research area with non-specialist audiences
  • develop your public engagement activities and practice.

What we're looking for

We want our researchers to involve the public in dialogue and debate about their work for the duration of their grant and throughout their careers.

Programmes and activities can include many forms, such as exhibitions, community festivals and working with artists.

When applying, you should consider:

  • what you want to achieve through your public engagement programme
  • who your audience will be
  • the creative ways you’ll reach and involve your non-specialist audience over the lifetime of your research project
  • the people you'll work with and how they'll support what you do
  • the budget for your activities
  • how you'll evaluate the success of your programme.

We want our researchers to:

  • develop their public engagement skills
  • put their ideas into action
  • have access to training in how to communicate and engage with the public
  • make lasting partnerships with community and cultural organisations.

Find out how some of our researchers have engaged the public with their work:

Case studies: Public engagement funding within research [PDF 316KB]


What we offer

There is no fixed limit to the amount of funding you can request. However, you should ask for a level of funding that's justifiable for the scale and scope of your research grant and proposed public engagement programme.

Funding usually lasts for the duration of your Wellcome Trust grant.

Funds can be used for a range of costs such as:

  • dedicated salaried posts, where justified

    We will provide costs for staff who will coordinate and support the development of public engagement activities.

    We don't cover the salaries of staff already funded by their organisation.

  • other personnel costs directly related to the programme, including salary replacement or cover eg teaching staff

  • consultancy costs and project management fees

  • direct activity and production costs, including venue costs, equipment and materials

  • relevant public engagement training and development for you and any staff employed on your grant

  • travel costs

    We will provide travel costs for you to:

    • attend relevant training or public engagement conferences
    • visit audiences and collaborators
    • develop and deliver your public engagement activities.
  • evaluation, including formative/development costs

  • administration costs that are not already covered by other funding

  • marketing and publicity costs for events and activities

  • Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

    We will provide costs for enhanced DBS checks (formerly Criminal Records Bureau checks) for applications in the UK. If you are a scientist, these are free if you register to be a Science and Engineering Ambassador.

  • contingency costs, as long as this is reasonable and you can justify them

  • VAT on fees where the VAT can't be reclaimed.

What we don’t offer

You can't use this funding for:

  • Engagement activities that are essential to carrying out your research in an ethical way, eg consulting with community advisory panels or involving research participants in discussions.
  • Media and communication activities, such as broadcast, radio, websites and press releases.
  • Engagement activities with policy makers.
  • Salaries of staff already funded by their organisations.

We don't fund on a proportion of full economic costs in UK universities.

How to apply

You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).

Start your application

Please read our guidance notes before you apply:

How to apply for public engagement funding within your research [PDF 87KB]

Provision for Public Engagement: ten common pitfalls [PDF 38KB]

Planning your public engagement

Current Wellcome-funded researchers

You can apply for a 'Provision for Public Engagement' at any time using the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker. You must have at least two years of your Wellcome grant remaining.

View a sample full application form for Public Engagement Funding within Research Grants [PDF 327KB].

New applicants

You can apply for a 'Provision for Public Engagment' when you fill in your online grant application form. There is a specific question on the application form.

If you've already submitted your application but didn't apply for public engagement funding, you should wait for our decision.

If your application is successful, you can then apply for public engagement funding as a currently funded researcher.



You’re studying for a Masters or PhD.


You’re starting your career in postdoctoral research.


You’re consolidating your research career. You lead on research projects and are establishing a research team.


You’re an experienced researcher responsible for the strategic direction of your research programme(s) and team(s).

Returning to research

You’re returning to a research career after a break of two years or more.


You're not a clinically qualified researcher.


You're a clinically qualified medic, vet, dentist or psychologist.

Public health