Public Engagement Wellcome ISSF funding round now live!

by | Sep 5, 2019

Have you got a great idea to engage people and communities with your research? Would you like funding to develop projects that matter to you, your research and the communities around you?

Last year, the University’s commitment to public engagement was recognised with an Engage Watermark Gold Award. To help staff and researchers engage people in activities that relate to health or biomedical research, there is funding and support available through the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) Public Engagement Funding schemes.

The schemes have been running since 2012 and have allocated a total of £140,800 to over 50 projects. This funding has enabled researchers and staff to reach communities locally, and even globally, initiating dialogue and sparking curiosity about research through, for example, science-inspired art pieces, immersive events, innovative games and family activities.

Applications are now open for the three schemes: Emerging Engagement (up to £500, If you’re new to public engagement), Established Engagement (up to £3000 if you already have experience, match funding required) and Professional Development (up to £2000). Closing date for all schemes is 3 November 2019 (23:59).

All applications are assessed by a cross-faculty panel and here are some tips to some tips to help you submit a strong application. The full guidance is here and remember that you can always contact us – –  for advice.

What makes us say ‘yes’ to your application?

1. Defining your audience(s):
Establishing a clear idea of the audience/s you want to reach is your first step. Successful applicants clearly articulate who they want to engage and why. Think about what kind of approaches will attract your audience, what your project will offer and how your audience could benefit from it. We are particularly interested in proposals for reaching new and diverse audiences.

2. Being outcome-focused:
Start by thinking about outcomes you want to achieve. What is it that you want your project to accomplish? What difference will it make to your audience? Applications that we receive often focus too much on outputs such as activities or events without articulating a clear rationale. .

3. Demonstrating evaluation:
Being clear about what you want to do and achieve is only one part of the story. To strengthen your application, clearly articulate how you will measure success. For example, if you want to run a community event to encourage people to put your research findings into practice, how will you measure this?

It’s vital that you think about your evaluation plan from the start and take your time to find ways to embed evaluation in your activities. Don’t know where to start? Check out this guide.

4. Clear delivery plans:
Give us confidence that you can deliver the project within time and budget. Successful applications have clear timelines and budgets detailing exactly how you’ll be spending the funding. This is particularly important if you’re applying for more than £500 (i.e. Established Engagement).

Put time aside to think through what you need to make the project happen. Who will do what? When? How much will it cost? Can you use services and goods already offered by the University, or will you need to outsource them? Be realistic about the time. Where might things go wrong and how can you limit those risks?

The purpose of this funding is to help you deliver imaginative, high quality and inclusive public engagement that benefits both you and the audience(s). If you’ve got an idea, please do take the opportunity to talk it through with any of the people listed below at an early stage.

If you are interested in applying:

The application forms for each scheme can be found here.

Need some inspiration? Find more about previously funded projects here (scroll down to ‘Engaging the Public’). If you want to know more about Public Engagement (PE) and Social Responsibility (SR) at the University, you can follow these links to the PE strategy Public Engagement Strategy and SR agenda.

Talk to us! We strongly encourage you to get in touch with us at an early stage for guidance and advice to strengthen your application.

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