New funding model to replace the Public Engagement Fund

This autumn we’ll be announcing new partnerships that will allocate funding to innovative public engagement projects. To allow us to do so, we’re closing the Public Engagement Fund. 

Two people facing wall full of posters with information about sleep and health, as part of the workshop and installation Night Club.

Credit: The Liminal Space

As part of our new ways of working, we’ve partnered with The Liminal Space to explore sleep and shift work.

The best engagement work around health research empowers people, leads to better research and improves trust in science. This is the basis of our new public engagement strategy. I’ve written about how we can use engagement to help fight health inequalities, for example. 

Funding diverse, innovative projects remains an important way for us to achieve our strategy – but the Public Engagement Fund is no longer a good vehicle for these kind of grants. We need to be sure we are using Wellcome’s resources as efficiently as we can to achieve our mission of improving health.

For these reasons, and following a review by the Institute of Voluntary Action Research, we’re closing the Public Engagement Fund. The deadline for the final round of applications is 9 July 2019.

We’re not reducing our commitment to funding public engagement. We’re changing how we do it.

In the autumn we’ll announce new partners who will be designing and leading funding schemes for the sector. And we’ll also be doing more work with other organisations on ambitious programmes that support our new strategy.

New ways of working

We think Wellcome can have more impact if we work with partners that are better placed than us to understand what excellence and innovation look like in different contexts. 

For example, we want to: 

  • give Wellcome researchers extra funding to work with the public – so we’ve launched three pilots where academic institutions use our money to do just that
  • understand how social enterprises can connect the public with research, but we aren’t experts in the social innovation sector – so we’ve partnered with Big Society Capital to help us back some entrepreneurs and find out what works
  • support public libraries across the UK to explore and deliver public engagement projects involving research in health, culture and society – so we’re partnering with the Carnegie UK Trust and the Wolfson Foundation 
  • and discover what the potential could be for communities when citizens, rather than foundations, get to decide how philanthropic money is used – so we’ve partnered with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity on a place-based research project to do just that. 

We’ll also continue to lead Wellcome’s public engagement efforts. Right now we are: 

More information