10 new projects exploring how sexuality affects health
Explainer / Published: 4 August 2017
We’re funding researchers at ten institutions to explore diverse issues about sexuality and health. Charli Colegate, from our Humanities and Social Science team, explains why we chose this theme for Seed Awards – and what the next theme will be.
Sexuality is an often wilfully overlooked or under-researched area in relation to health, and yet it is a human experience that exerts a powerful influence on mental and physical health.
Sexuality can affect health-related needs and behaviours, and how individuals and communities are treated by healthcare professionals and by health policies at local, national and international levels.
We believe that humanities and social science disciplines can contribute crucial insights about sexuality and health, and that’s why we decided it should be the theme for our most recent round of Seed Awards funding.
How we decide which proposals to fund
We prioritise exciting, innovative ideas. These three projects give a flavour of the sexuality and health theme’s scope.
- Dylan Kneale at UCL, with researchers and policy specialists from other institutions, is modelling the health and care trajectories of LGBT people to help identify health inequalities and support needs. This initial pilot, focusing on older LGBT people in the UK, aims to provide insights that increase understanding of LGBT health trends across other age groups in different locations.
- Nolwazi Mkhwanazi and her team at the University of Witswatersrand, South Africa, are investigating the ways in which people perceive sexuality in post-colonial South Africa to find out how this affects uptake of sexual health interventions. The project aims to build a strong collaboration between anthropologists, biomedical scientists and artists to examine how individuals mediate between public discourse, ‘official’ health information, and personal experiences of sexual activity.
- Paula Reavey, at London South Bank University, is exploring sexuality in forensic mental health care settings. The pilot involves qualitative empirical research to investigate how service users, in secure and community forensic mental health settings, experience and construct meaning around their sexuality, sensuality and intimate relationships.
We’re delighted that among the ten projects there are universities that haven’t previously had a great deal of Humanities and Social Science funding from Wellcome. These include London South Bank University and the University of Central Lancashire.
Why we theme Seed Awards in H&SS
There are a number of reasons behind our decision to theme Seed Awards. We want to:
- provide funds that will build strong foundations on which to establish vital research areas we think are of great importance
- create cohorts – and to establish a diverse community working on particular themes, supporting the cross-fertilisation of ideas.
- manage the very high application numbers we receive for open calls – since we introduced Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science in 2014, we’ve received 961 applications and made 106 awards.
Our first theme in 2015-16 called for proposals that explored the intersections of social media, health and ethics.
And we’ve got more themes planned.
What to do if your research is outside our chosen theme
We’d like to encourage you to consider our recently relaunched Small Grants in Humanities and Social Science if you need funds to build sustainable networks, or to explore new areas of research.
- Find out about applying for Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science
- Relationships between regulation and health: themed call for Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science