How we engage the public
Because health matters to everyone, we should all have the opportunity to explore, debate and shape science and health research.
That’s why we encourage conversations about science and health that are informed and inclusive. It’s through these conversations that great ideas are shaped and shared, and everyone can play a role in improving health.
On this page
Why it's important
The public engagement we support:
- helps a wider range of people to connect with science and health, in ways that are accessible and relevant to them
- makes sure the role of science and health in culture is visible and talked about
- inspires a diverse range of organisations and industries to creatively and critically engage with science and health research
- develops a culture of research that is informed by people from across society.
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 people, places and projects around the world, through our funding schemes and other opportunities:
- we develop leaders in public engagement, from a wide range of perspective and backgrounds
- we support creative spaces where great ideas can thrive, and where people can come together to explore research, exchange ideas and make things happen
- we back activities that allow a wide range of people to explore and debate science and health research
- we lead change to embed public engagement in research, encourage a diverse range of organisations to feature science and research in their work, and support networks and organisations to measure best practice and share expertise.
In January 2017, we opened applications to our new Public Engagement Fund, which replaces many of our old schemes. We did this to help make our funding more accessible and easier to apply for. Read more about the thinking behind our new Public Engagement Fund, or look at all of our available funding.
Who we support
The people, projects and places we support include everyone 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 The Nappy Science Gang, Dharavi Biennale and Shift.ms
- innovative projects in the creative industry, like The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds, Gingersnap and Brainstorm
- major public engagement initiatives that have offered new perspectives to thousands of people, like The Crunch
- partnerships with organisations that can reach a range of different audiences, like Engaging Libraries with Carnegie UK Trust.
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 don’t talk to yet. We prioritise projects for audiences who have few opportunities to engage with research. If you represent a community or organisation that we’re not involved with, we’d love to hear from you.
Read more about the projects that we’ve funded.
Our work with creative communities
Connecting with research can inspire new ideas and enrich existing ones. As well as offering funding, we help with the development of content and networks.
We run programmes of activities for specific 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
Being able to engage the public makes researchers – and their research – more successful. 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.
See our public engagement funding schemes
Read our public engagement reports