Grants awarded: Capital Awards

Project summaries of Wellcome grants awarded under the scheme ‘Capital Awards’. The Capital Awards have been replaced by the Public Engagement Fund. Previously, Capital Awards funded the creation and renewal of exhibition and engagement spaces, usually within museums or science centres in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

2016

During 2016, the Capital Awards received nine preliminary applications. Of these, five were invited to submit a full application. Two withdrew their funding request. Of the three remaining, one was supported, giving an overall funding rate for the scheme of 11%.

Invisible Worlds

The Eden Trust

£1,920,000

Invisible Worlds will be a new immersive exhibition and associated events programme situated in a refurbished ‘Core’, the Eden Project’s education centre. Invisible Worlds aims to engage visitors with links between human and planetary health with a focus on the vital but hidden drivers of the planet’s natural systems. The project will explore phenomena too vast, too small, too fast, too slow, or too far away in space or time to encounter for ourselves. These will be informed by research in areas including microbiology, biogeology, evolution, climate change and epidemiology. The Lab, a space for demos and experiments will also be created.

2015

Pestival

£1,800,000

Pestival is a touring theme park with eight immersive modules that will engage the public with ideas about insects and their role in disease, medicine, research, nutrition and health. The modules will also be supported by a programme of talks and demonstrations by scientific researchers. 

The eight modules are: Entomophobia, where live mosquitoes take you on a journey explaining current research into vectors of disease; Research Lab – demonstrating the latest medical breakthroughs aided by insect research; Amazonia – a recreation of the Amazon basin through bugs’ eyes to explain the importance of insects in maintaining the lungs of the Earth; Big Top – with live science demos by day, music and comedy by night; the Cinema; Pollination Chamber – a cathedral to honey; Bedsit Bump-off – recreating crime scenes and turning visitors into detectives in order to explore forensic entomology, human decomposition and life cycles; and Insectopia – displaying the very latest insect-inspired ideas that will help safeguard our future.

Museum of English Rural Life

University of Reading

£385,277

As part of a wider redevelopment, this grant supports the presentation of the themes of Food Production and Human Nutrition, Livestock Management and Animal Health and Rural Health and Medicine across four new galleries. The galleries - A Year in the Countryside, Forces for Change, Town and Country and an Active Dialogue Space - will explore the themes using historic and contemporary objects, interactive exhibits, film and social media and will be supported by events and an artist residency. The project aims to increase visitor numbers to MERL to 50,000 a year from 35,000 a year and to diversify the audience to include more children, young adults and BME communities.

Museum of Science & Industry

£1,800,000

This grant supports the creation of a new 700m2 Temporary Exhibition Gallery at Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, situated within a heritage setting. The gallery will allow MOSI to host world-class science exhibitions in the North West, creating a beacon for contemporary science in the region. One aim is to co-create exhibitions with Wellcome Collection and to share and transfer science exhibitions within the Science Museum Group. The first proposed exhibition in the space, The Body Electric, in partnership with Wellcome Collection is scheduled for May 2018. An on-going exhibition programmewill be complemented by a learning and public programme.

2015 funding rate:

We received 12 preliminary applications for Capital Awards. Of these, four were invited to submit a full application. One withdrew their funding request and the three remaining were supported, giving an overall funding rate for the scheme of 25%.

2014

Dundee Science Centre

£850,000

This grant supports the extension and redevelopment of Dundee Science Centre’s first floor by 250m2 to house an extended Science Learning Institute (SLI) and create a new exhibition and theatre space. The exhibition will explore research in medical technology and minimal access surgery, and will be supported by a programme of public engagement with researchers from the Institute for Medical Science and Technology (IMSaT), University of Dundee. The SLI supports the professions that engage with young learners and adults, and will develop hands-on activities, workshops and learning programmes.

National Museums of Scotland

£1,299,738

National Museums of Scotland will weave biomedical content across six new galleries showcasing Scotland’s national science and technology collections through multidisciplinary, digital and interactive exhibits. Galleries will be themed around human experience rather than scientific discipline or chronology, with up to 40% of gallery content devoted to biosciences. The new exhibitions will be complemented by new digital content and learning programmes for families, schools and adults.

Brain, Mind and Culture

International Centre for Life Trust

£650,000

Centre for Life in Newcastle will create a 400m2 hands-on neuroscience and psychology gallery hosting live research from local academics and enabling open-ended experimentation by visitors. The project aims to communicate the methods used by researchers to investigate the brain and mind as well as their research findings. The exhibition will include a permanent space for researchers to meet the public and share their work.

2014 funding rate:

We received 10 preliminary applications for Capital Awards. Of these, five were invited to submit a full application and of these the three above were supported, giving an overall funding rate for the scheme of 30%.

2013

Science Gallery London

King’s College London

£3,000,000

King’s College London will create a new flagship centre for public engagement at the interface of science, health and the arts on its Guy’s Campus in South London. The aim is for the site to engage over 250,000 visitors a year with research at King’s through changing programmes, ranging from exhibitions to ‘Lab in the Gallery’ experiences offering the public the opportunity to participate in real research. The project is aiming to be the first international member of the Global Science Gallery Network with 2,215m2 of space opposite London Bridge Station at the base of The Shard.

2013 funding rate:

We received 12 preliminary applications for Capital Awards. Of these, four were invited to submit a full application and of these one project was supported, giving an overall funding rate for the scheme of 8%.

2012

National Horseracing Museum

£750,000

The National Horseracing Museum will create a new heritage centre in Newmarket that will celebrate its international status as the home of horseracing. The site will combine a new national museum of the sport and a nationally important gallery of British sporting art. It will also include a working stable yard as part of a combined visitor experience. The new museum aims to display the history and development of horseracing. This grant is to enable the new museum to focus on a number of scientific themes including: the evolution of the horse and the genetics of selective breeding; horse forensic science; the history and development of equine veterinary science and practice; biomechanics and biomimicry; nutrition in jockeys and racehorses; and the scientific basis of changing training techniques (the bioscience of both horse and rider as trained athletes).

Neuron Pod

Centre of the Cell

£1,100,000

Centre of the Cell is a science education centre, outreach project and online resource dedicated to cell biology and biomedical science. It is embedded within working biomedical research laboratories at the Blizard Institute, at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, in Whitechapel, East London. This project supports the creation of a second building, the Neuron ‘Pod’, which will be free-standing, situated in mews space adjacent to the existing Nucleus ‘Pod’ and accessed by the same entrance as the original ’Pod’. Its key objectives are to enrich the Centre of the Cell experience with a new multifunctional space that: complements the existing activities and extends the length and scope of available programmes; expand their activities with more live science shows, hands-on workshops, experiments, films, and exhibitions; adapt the Centre of the Cell experience for different audiences; increase their visitor numbers; and, generate income, making a major contribution to their long-term sustainability.

2012 funding rate:

We received 12 preliminary applications for Capital Awards. Of these, five were invited to submit a full application and of these two projects were supported, giving an overall funding rate for the scheme of 17%.

2011

Science Garden

Thinktank

£500,000

Science Garden is a new 2,750m2 outdoor exhibition featuring large scale interactive exhibits, located in the heart of Birmingham’s City Park. It will be a permanent public landmark celebrating public engagement with science. Science Garden is situated directly in front of Thinktank forming a vital link between the new City Park and the museum, helping to extend the museum’s science learning activities outside and bringing more people into the museum itself. Science Garden aims to be a highly interactive outdoor exhibition, providing an informal environment where visitors of all ages can learn about and enjoy science together. Science Garden creates a dedicated outdoor learning space for on-going public programmes, including large scale events exploring science, sport and health.

2011 funding rate:

We received nine preliminary applications for Capital Awards. Of these, four were invited to submit a full application and of these one project was supported, giving an overall funding rate for the scheme of 11%.