Frontiers meetings are a way for experts to help shape our direction and strategy in a particular area of our work.
The outcomes of the meetings might include:
- new strategic priorities
- changes to our funding schemes or themed calls
- a public engagement initiative or event.
The meetings are also a chance for participants to share ideas and make connections, opening up new opportunities in their own areas of work.
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How Frontiers meetings work
Frontiers meetings are invite-only immersive retreats, which last for two days.
Each meeting brings together 30 thought-leaders from around the world, across science and health. They can include everyone from basic and social scientists to technology experts and policy leaders.
There's a governor or senior Wellcome staff member at every meeting. This means we have well-informed representatives at board discussions afterwards.
The meeting always results in a direct report to our Board of Governors. The discussions at the Board of Governors may then lead to a new approach or a change in strategic direction.
Frontiers meeting topics all relate to fundamental issues in science or research and how they connect to society. They can address challenges or highlight new opportunities.
We accept suggestions for Frontiers meeting topics. We'd like ideas from everyone: researchers, businesses, and anyone interested in health and science.
Please submit your ideas through our online form.
We review the submissions for topics two or three times a year, and we organise one or two meetings each year. If we choose your suggestion, we'll invite you to help us develop it so you can see your idea evolve.
We'll consider any ideas, but we're particularly interested in the following two areas:
A research topic should be an issue that affects the four main areas we fund. These are science, innovations, the humanities and social sciences, and public engagement.
These need an interdisciplinary approach to stimulate change. For example, scientists need to work with policy-makers and the public to address the challenges of drug-resistant infections.
Examples could include mental health disorders and obesity.
The Frontiers Alumni network
We invite all Frontiers delegates to join our Frontiers Alumni network. This gives them the chance to network with a wider group and build on the connections they make.
We welcome the alumni network's ongoing feedback and advice on the meeting outcomes.
Previous Frontiers meetings
Protecting Mental Health - acting early against anxiety and depression
Most mental health conditions are chronic. More than 75 per cent begin before the age of 24 and half begin by the age of 15.
There is a strong public health and economic case for the prevention and early detection of mental health disorders, but research in this area is still limited. There is also a failure to validate and translate this evidence into policy and practice to improve mental health.
For this meeting, we brought together psychiatrists, psychologists, neuroscientists, clinicians, international funders, education and policy experts to:
- define the research gaps and opportunities for building an evidence base for the prevention and early detection of depression and anxiety
- identify what's needed to translate this research into policy and health initiatives.
We were interested in understanding what the priorities for research, funding, leadership, policy and advocacy should be to drive progress in the prevention and early detection of anxiety and depression.
We're currently compiling a meeting report to summarise some of the meeting's key messages and advice. We will share it here once it's finalised.
This meeting explored how new digital technologies can be used in health research. These technologies include:
- wearable fitness devices
- mobile phone apps
- social media
- citizen science.
The increasing popularity of these technologies has opened up new ways of doing research. It’s also created large untapped pools of health-related data.
For the meeting, we brought together technology experts and researchers to tell us about:
- the opportunities and challenges of using new digital technologies in biomedical research
- areas where our support could advance the use of digital technology in research.
We've pulled together the meeting's discussions to highlight the most important messages and advice. Read the report on Digital Phenotypes – Health research in the digital age [PDF 178KB].
Interdisciplinary research is a necessary part of modern-day biomedical research. This meeting explored how the Wellcome Trust could:
- do more to support interdisciplinary research
- help overcome interdisciplinary research challenges
- help to create a culture that encourages interdisciplinary research.
We brought together people from academia and industry to:
- share their experiences
- discuss mechanisms for interdisciplinary working
- tell us how to better support interdisciplinary research.
Read the report on One Science – Life at the interface [PDF 399KB].
If you have any questions about our previous meetings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.