How we engage the public
We believe that if the public – by which we mean individuals, communities and society – are actively involved in our work, then Wellcome will be more likely to succeed in its mission and will become even more accountable.
We focus on people, helping everyone play their own role in improving health.
On this page
Why it's important
The public engagement we support:
- Empowers people – helping them access, use, respond to, and create health research and innovation
- Creates people-centred health research – improving our understanding of people’s experiences and how we use that knowledge to improve Wellcome’s work
- Helps society value our work – bridging the gaps between Wellcome and society so that research and innovation are trustworthy and valued by people, whether or not we work with them.
What we're doing
We develop and support the best ways of bringing science and health research closer to the society in which it operates.
To make this happen, we’re investing in and partnering with people, organisations and projects around the world:
- we develop partnerships that support a wide range of people to explore, create and debate science and health research
- we develop the evidence base for public engagement, and support networks and organisations to measure outcomes and share expertise
- we develop leaders in public engagement, from a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds
- we lead change to embed public engagement in research
- we encourage a diverse range of organisations to integrate science and research in their work.
Who we support
The people, projects and places we support range from small community groups and charities to Nobel Prize winners and national galleries.
Our projects include:
- community-led projects that involve people with the science that shapes their lives, like MH:2K, Dharavi Biennale and Museum of Homelessness
- innovative projects in the creative industries, like Hellblade, Dark River and Great and Tiny War
- investing in organisations, like Shift.ms and Invisible Dust, to help them become more financially sustainable
- partnerships with organisations that can reach a range of different audiences, like Unlimited.
We also run Wellcome Collection, the free visitor destination for the incurably curious.
We want our work to reach as many people as possible, especially people we haven’t yet talked to. We prioritise projects for audiences who have few opportunities to engage with research.
Read more about the projects we’ve funded.
Our work with partners
Connecting with research can inspire new ideas and enrich existing ones. We believe that to engage as many people as possible in improving health, we need to work with a variety of partners.
As well as offering funding, we have previously run programmes of activities that have focused on sectors:
- the writers, producers and commissioners exploring biomedical research in broadcast and film
- developers and publishers making entertaining digital games
- artists and arts organisations
- public venues and spaces.
Public engagement for researchers
We want the researchers and organisations we fund to talk to the public about their work.
To help, we offer support for scientists and academics who want to engage the public with their research.
Public Engagement Associates - pilot programme
We want to involve more people in our work, so we’re trialling a new way of working. This programme is designed to find people from a range of backgrounds and sectors to help shape our work, challenge and inspire us, and to bring fresh insights.
Our first call for nominations in March/April 2018 has closed, but keep an eye on future rounds. Find out more about the programme.
See our public engagement funding schemes
Read our public engagement reports