Grants awarded: Society Awards

Project summaries of Wellcome grants awarded under the scheme ‘Society Awards’. Society Awards have been replaced by the Public Engagement Fund.

Previously, Society Awards supported public engagement projects that encouraged the public to consider and debate issues raised by health and wellbeing research. 

2015-16

Paul Amann

Workers’ Educational Association

Building a fair society with healthy lives

£245,280

Biomedicine has an ever-increasing impact on our lives, but things like genetics, nanotechnology and pollution are often poorly understood. Our England-wide adult community learning programme aims to build people’s confidence in and understanding of science, and the impact that scientific research has on our communities and lives. It builds on the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) support for hard-to-reach communities in England.

Dr Giovanni Biglino

Go Create!

The Heart of the Matter 

£214,347

The Heart of the Matter is an artistic and scientific exploration of the heart. Working with different groups, including patients with heart conditions, it will explore participants' heart narratives in workshops led by artist Sofie Layton and bioengineer Giovanni Biglino. These stories will be made into artworks and an exhibition will be curated, creating a dialogue between the artistically made hearts and medical hearts manufactured using 3D printing technology. The exhibition, which will tour London, Bristol and Newcastle, will be complemented by dissemination events, lectures and outreach activities. The images and stories will be shared on a website after the exhibition. 

Sophia Collins

Nappy Science Gang

Nappy Science Gang phase 2

£147,306

Nappy Science Gang is a user-led citizen science project about parenting. We will work with 12 parenting-related Facebook groups to choose a research question that's important to them, then support and guide them through designing and running their own citizen science experiment to answer it.

Denise Eaton

Sheffield Hallam University

Virtual Reality Prosthetics: Body and Mind 

£167,968

Virtual Reality Prosthetics: Body and Mind will develop a range of interactive activities and exhibits about joint physiology, prosthetics and the lived experience of people with limb loss. The work will be developed together with schools and university technology colleges, partners, stakeholders and users. It will be delivered in a wide range of museum and non-museum spaces, locally and nationally. The aim is to engage the public with emerging technologies and cutting-edge multidisciplinary research, and to leave a legacy of online materials to encourage further learning and debate.

Margo Horsley

Public Service Broadcasting Trust

Feel Happy ‘Issues’ Series 

£244,422

The Feel Happy Fix [Health] Series will focus on young people (aged 16-25) and their experiences of health interventions. Through the project, young people will create 100 transferable and adaptable ‘fixes’, including short films, posters, websites and apps. The fixes will be circulated among stakeholders, such as health professionals, researchers, policymakers and youth workers. This will form the basis of wide engagement on five focus areas of young people’s health, and give insights into how these areas can be better supported and sustained. 

Nick Llewellyn

Access All Areas

Madhouse: large-scale immersive theatre production, outreach programme and symposia

£175,500 

'Madhouse' is an immersive theatre experience celebrating and mourning the history of learning disability and the effect of confinement and isolation on the learning-disabled community. It’s inspired by the legacy of campaigner Mabel Cooper, who pressed the button that blew up the hospital for learning disabilities that had been her life-long prison.

Developed by disruptive theatre company Access All Areas, in association with world-leaders in immersive theatre DreamThinkSpeak, five learning-disabled artists will curate their own hospital room in an immersive, satirical look at what society expects of people with learning disabilities.

2014-15

Awarded May 2015

Frank Hargrave

The Norton Priory Museum Trust

Flesh on the bones

£116,000

Flesh on the Bones is a public engagement project designed to capture people’s imagination and inspire them to explore the past through the use of science and bioarchaeology. Interactive museum displays and an associated education and outreach programme will engage with thousands of visitors, school children and community members. Participants will use science to explore the fascinating stories of the people who lived and worked at Norton Priory during the Middle Ages.

Awarded November 2014

Sara Kenney

Surgeon X

Wowbagger Productions

£227,960

Surgeon X is a cross-platform comic series that explores the future of surgery and medicine, including biomedical ethics. The comics are aimed at an interested public. Surgeon X is a doctor called Rosa who has extraordinary, surgical and medical abilities. She doesn’t possess superpowers, but is a prodigy in her field. When Rosa encounters a patient she makes judgment calls on the sorts of treatments they receive. The content of these comics will be the result of an extensive dialogue with scientists, medics, biomedical ethicists and sociologists.

Ellen Dowell

Potplant Ltd

Einstein’s Garden 2015-2017

£198,946

This award will transform, strengthen and sustain Einstein’s Garden’s place within the UK’s cultural landscape as a space for brave experimentation with new forms of science engagement, as an interdisciplinary community of science and creative engagement experts and as a producer of adventurous, playful and unexpected projects placing biomedical science centre-stage. Twelve projects fusing contemporary cultural forms with compelling biomedical themes with be developed and presented at the Green Man Festival and a wide range of other cultural contexts. Activities will generate original ways for audiences to discover, conceptualise, question and debate biomedical science, always prioritising direct engagement with scientists.

Trisha Lee

MakeBelieve Arts

The World Inside Me

£160,000

The World Inside Me is a two-year programme about the incredible things that are happening in our bodies and brains as we grow older. Using story to engage primary school children with science, we take theatre audiences on a journey through the world inside us, discovering how wonderfully complex we really are. Accompanying these three shows - on the body, the brain and the process of ageing - is a website with video footage of characters and situations drawn from each show, to enhance the learning potential of the programme.

2013-14

Awarded November 2013

Dean Madden

University of Reading

Synthetic Biology for Schools

£205,563

Synthetic biology is a new way of understanding and making use of living things. The Synthetic Biology for Schools project will produce practical, interdisciplinary, teaching materials mainly for use in UK schools, supported by workshops for teachers and their 16–19 year-old students. The emphasis throughout is on open-ended experimentation, ensuring safe microbiological laboratory practice and considering the ethical and other challenges that this new field brings. The project’s resources will be available on-line and the practical materials will be made available at low cost to appropriately-equipped and trained organisations that wish to explore this exciting new approach to biology.

Lulie Biggs

Actiondog Productions

Flavour SenseNation

£208,915

Flavour SenseNation explores the ways we use each of our senses to inform our experience of food and flavour, with touring exhibition and educational resources for primary schools. Activities are both fun and educational, engaging audiences in mainly non science settings. From tongue mapping and identifying which of our taste buds are most sensitive to the five basic tastes, discovering how and why different sounds and food textures can influence our enjoyment of food, to investigating how preconceptions can impair our sensory skills; the experience inspires audiences of all ages.

Awarded May 2014

Freddie Yauner

Shift.ms

The MS Reports

£220,275

The MS Reports is a dynamic community-driven video library of expert knowledge. This project will see leading multiple sclerosis (MS) experts team up with MSer (people with MS) citizen journalists to create online content, captured by these MS reporters on their smartphones. The MS Reports web platform will host a community-generated bank of questions driven by MSers. A national network of trained and empowered MS reporters will meet with MS experts to ask these questions and film the process. This will result in a unique patient community, generating online expert content for themselves, whilst influencing research agendas.

Dean Paton

Big Heritage CIC

The Roman Medicine Roadshow

£199,719

The Roman Medicine Roadshow is designed to engage new audiences with the social and cultural history of medicine and health, engendering debate and discussion on health, social care, medical ethics, pseudo-science and faith healing in the ancient world and the 21st century. It also provides hands-on opportunities for young people to explore trauma, disease and healing through examining osteoarchaeological evidence and participating in ‘live’ surgery demonstrations based upon procedures documented in Roman medical texts and using reproductions of Roman surgical equipment. In addition, participants will examine the role of plants and herbal treatments in the ancient world, comparing ancient theories (such as humorism and miasma theory) to our modern understanding of the chemical properties of plants and their effects upon the body.

2012-13

Open call

Awarded November 2012 

Jennifer Wong

Guerilla Science

Guerilla Science 2013-2015

£204,435

For five years Guerilla Science has strived to bring the world's discoveries out of cloistered laboratories and stuffy classrooms and into the realm of boisterous celebration: muddy music festivals, noisy warehouses and raucous explosions, always with the conviction that scientific insights belong to everyone and should be enjoyed by everyone. This award enables Guerilla Science to continue operating from 2013 to 2015 at the country's edgiest music festivals, experiment with daring new methods, bring science to new audiences nationwide, and evolve into an organisation that will still be going strong five years from now.

Michael John Gorman

Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin

LIVING MACHINES

£150,000

'LIVING MACHINES' will be a flagship exhibition, event and workshop programme at Science Gallery from October 2013 to January 2014, tackling the provocative questions surrounding the research implications of synthetic biology. Including a curatorial team from Imperial College London and Royal College of Art, London, 'LIVING MACHINES' will explore broad themes such as living versus non-living, human versus nature, design versus evolution. Taking a focus on works that will bring visitors into dialogue with the complex boundaries between life and non-life explored in synthetic biology, 'LIVING MACHINES' will tackle both extremes of hype surrounding synthetic biology from the threat of world-ending disaster on one end and the promise of solving all the world's ills on the other. 'LIVING MACHINES' will leave audiences with a nuanced and thoughtful assessment of the discipline of synthetic biology.

Roger Kneebone

Imperial College London

Surgery, Society and Simulation

£200,000

Surgery can affect anyone at any time, yet to most people it remains a closed - and often scary - world. This highly unusual project uses realistic simulation to bring the worlds of surgery and surgical science to diverse audiences at the Cheltenham, Big Bang and Green Man Festivals over two years. Visitors will see real surgeons operate, watch arts performances inspired by surgery, and participate in discussions with leading experts. The project sets out to fascinate, unsettle and captivate all at once, challenging conceptions of surgery and exploring what it means to operate and be operated on.

Themed call: Health in a Changing World?

Awarded May 2013

Tony Kendle

Eden Project

The Invisible Biome – explore the world inside your body

£250,000

At the Eden Project you can meet towering trees in the Rainforest Biome. Now you can journey inside your body to explore your personal ecosystem in their new microbiome. We are not individuals – inside us live 100 trillion bacteria comprising several hundred species with 3 million non-human genes. Bacteria outdo us 10:1. Once we thought they made us sick, now we are learning they help feed us, protect us, and may even affect our mood, weight, intelligence and personality. Back outside you are one of 7 billion living in the macrobiome. How will you treat your host?

2011-12

Themed call: Health in a Changing World?

Tony Kendle

Eden Project

The Invisible Biome – explore the world inside your body

£250,000

At the Eden Project you can meet towering trees in the Rainforest Biome. Now you can journey inside your body to explore your personal ecosystem in their new microbiome. We are not individuals – inside us live 100 trillion bacteria comprising several hundred species with 3 million non-human genes. Bacteria outdo us 10:1. Once we thought they made us sick, now we are learning they help feed us, protect us, and may even affect our mood, weight, intelligence and personality. Back outside you are one of 7 billion living in the macrobiome. How will you treat your host?

Open call

Michael John Gorman

Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin

LIVING MACHINES

£150,000

'LIVING MACHINES' will be a flagship exhibition, event and workshop programme at Science Gallery from October 2013 to January 2014, tackling the provocative questions surrounding the research implications of synthetic biology. Including a curatorial team from Imperial College London and Royal College of Art, London, 'LIVING MACHINES' will explore broad themes such as living versus non-living, human versus nature, design versus evolution. Taking a focus on works that will bring visitors into dialogue with the complex boundaries between life and non-life explored in synthetic biology, 'LIVING MACHINES' will tackle both extremes of hype surrounding synthetic biology from the threat of world-ending disaster on one end and the promise of solving all the world's ills on the other. 'LIVING MACHINES' will leave audiences with a nuanced and thoughtful assessment of the discipline of synthetic biology.

Roger Kneebone

Imperial College London

Surgery, Society and Simulation

£200,000

Surgery can affect anyone at any time, yet to most people it remains a closed - and often scary - world. This highly unusual project uses realistic simulation to bring the worlds of surgery and surgical science to diverse audiences at the Cheltenham, Big Bang and Green Man Festivals over two years. Visitors will see real surgeons operate, watch arts performances inspired by surgery, and participate in discussions with leading experts. The project sets out to fascinate, unsettle and captivate all at once, challenging conceptions of surgery and exploring what it means to operate and be operated on.

2010-11

Themed call: How Do You Know?

Sharmila Metcalf

The Nuffield Foundation

Nuffield Science Bursaries for Schools and Colleges

£187,500

The Nuffield Science Bursaries Programme gives students from all backgrounds a chance to work alongside practising scientists and engineers, contributing to research or development projects in universities, industry, field centres and research institutions. The scheme is open to anyone in a school or college who is halfway through an advanced-level science programme, which may be academic or vocational. Projects last from four to six weeks and are carried out during the summer holidays. Unlike work experience schemes, the students carry out well-defined projects which have a clear scientific or technological purpose, contribute to the work of the host organisation and allow scope for initiative.

Kevin O'Dell

University of Glasgow

Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies: Public Engagement Project

£150,000

Building on the successful spoof lecture Zombie Science 1Z, Time-Tastical Productions and the University of Glasgow are developing three new shows targeted at young adults using comedy to explain complex concepts in genetics and medical research. In Zombie Science 1G: Gene Therapy, Dr Austin investigates how state-of-the-art genetic technologies can be used to treat and cure zombieism. In Zombie Science 1R: Risk Factor, he enters the world of personalised medicine to discover who's really at risk of a zombie infection. Then, in Zombie Science 1W: Worst Case Scenario, you are the scientists helping Dr Austin save the world.

Open call

Damian Hebron

London Arts in Health Forum

Pop-up: The science of sedentary behaviour

£174,025

This project aims to communicate the science behind sedentary behaviour by surprising, engaging and challenging the public. Using the principle of learning by doing, and by taking science out to public spaces, it will offer fun and memorable ways of explaining what is happening to our bodies, our diets and our society. A ‘pop-up’ installation will tour and be presented in shopping centres. This will provide an interactive way of engaging the public with current scientific thinking on human physiology, energy expenditure and metabolic disease. It will be linked to an online campaign using film and animation. The science will be communicated using social media designed to appeal to a wide audience - especially young adults. Scheduled for during the Olympics, the project will open up understanding of genetics, nutrition, metabolism and disease mechanisms, and how these are affected by movement and our interaction with the physical environment. It will develop a legacy of engagement online and in the memory.

David Colthurst

Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbur

Kent Authentic Biology: Student-led research and discovery in schools

£252,412

Authentic Biology is a series of scientific research projects, led by sixth-form students in five schools. Each school draws on expertise from researchers at local university departments to carry out research into a medical condition of particular interest. Following a successful pilot, funded through a People Award, this series will expand the potential of projects like the Myelin Basic Protein Project to embed research skills in the biology experience of the students and develop the professional learning of teachers and technicians in each of the participating schools. Authentic Biology will involve schools in Winchester, Bristol, Sheffield and London as well as the Langton in Canterbury. The vision is to remodel biology education, to make it stimulating for students whileproviding valuable experience for university thinking and teaching and also offering valuable continuing professional development opportunities for teachers.

Shane McCracken

Gallomanor Communications Ltd

I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!

imascientist.org.uk/

£225,000

'I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!' is a successful online science engagement event where school students can ask scientists whatever they like. They challenge the scientists by asking questions that adults either wouldn’t think of or would shy away from asking. Scientists are forced to think again about their research and the way they talk about it. Funding will help to make 'I'm a Scientist' an established event with a broad base of funding, allowing a doubling of the number of scientists, schools and students taking part each year, doubling the number of zones within three years. The will help to provide scientists with more advice and training, help teachers connect with scientists, facilitate more interactions outside the event between schools and scientists. Other aims are to provide more feedback and evaluation for scientists and funders, to show scientists how winners adapt their language to the audience, and how students’ attitudes change when exposed to scientists.