Engaging Science funding: an update

Rachel Hillman, who is leading our Engaging Science refresh, explains where we're up to in our review of the way we fund public engagement projects.

Back in April, we announced that we were taking a break in our funding cycle to review the way we fund public engagement projects. As we’re halfway through our pause, we thought it was a good time to update you on how the review is progressing.

The aim of the pause was to give us time to look at our funding process. We want to make it simpler, more agile and better able to support our varied communities. The biggest challenge for us has been thinking about how we can make these bold changes while holding on to the most valued elements of our current schemes.

By streamlining our applications process, we hope to make it easier to understand and navigate, and to encourage more collaboration across sectors. We have been exploring how merging some of our schemes could help us achieve this and allow us to support innovative ideas from a wider range of people, in a more flexible way. 

We will still support great ideas to help people to explore science and health research through drama, art, film, games, venues, festivals, galleries and many other ways. To be more than a funder, we need to balance our support for great ideas with support for a thriving community, where new ideas are generated, developed and shared. So we have also pushed ourselves to see how our support could have maximum impact and drive new thinking.

In September we welcomed our new Head of Public Engagement Imran Khan. He’s been helping to shape these ideas and ensure any changes fit within Wellcome’s wider strategy.

Testing our early ideas

A key stage in our review has been to share our early ideas with a small group of people from across the communities we work with and new communities we’d like to reach. We have really valued their feedback. It has been broadly positive, but has also reminded us that the devil is in the detail.

So now we’re working hard to figure out how we can put our ideas into practice and to map out the detailed journey for potential applicants and our communities. We’ll continue to test and consult with people to ensure this process works and makes sense.

Key dates for funding applications

Funding applications will remain closed for the rest of 2016 while we continue to work through the details of the grant application journey.

We’re still on track to announce our new funding approach in November 2016, and we aim to accept new applications from January 2017.

Please bear with us for a few more months. We’ll let you know once our new funding process is ready and we look forward to hearing about all your ideas then.