University of Manchester Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) – Public Engagement Schemes

by | Feb 28, 2022

The University has been awarded Institutional Strategic Support Funding (ISSF) from Wellcome.

As well as supporting research, this fund supports the University’s strategic goal for  Social Responsibility, which includes objectives for Public Engagement (PE) and Civic Engagement.

Our social responsibility activities capture our unique Manchester spirit, motivating communities to research, teach and share their ideas and students to study with us. We have been ranked as the top UK University for our social and environmental impact for two years running (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings).

To support our commitment to social impact, the ISSF Public Engagement (PE) Schemes aim to support and encourage staff and postgraduate students to connect, share and involve the public in our work.

There are two schemes which are open to University Staff, Post-Docs, Postgraduate Students (PhD and PGT) from every faculty:

  • Skill Sharing Programme
  • Professional Development Fund

Skill Sharing Programme for 2022 – 2023

We are hosting a series of online sessions (March 2022 to February 2023) which will provide practical insights about public engagement, with a diverse range of experienced practitioners, sharing case studies and best practice

These sessions follow on from the online masterclasses focusing on engaging audiences digitally 2020-2021.

This programme is primarily aimed University Staff, Post-Docs, Postgraduate Students (PhD and PGT) and Public Contributors with little to no experience in public engagement but are also open to anyone wanting to know more about PE practice.

All sessions are free to attend, will be captioned and BSL interpreted. Where possible we’ll also publish a video recording of the session and/ or additional resources.

Find the full list of sessions and booking instructions below:

Using visual storytelling methods to talk about your research by Hana Ayoob:

When: 24/03/2022 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Summary: Pictures, diagrams, and other tools can help you to tell engaging and effective stories about your work and research. Hear about how visual elements can add clarity to your stories, discover techniques and tools for creating different visuals and find out how to ensure these visuals remain accessible. During the session you will begin making your own mini zine (pamphlet/magazine) to put these visual storytelling principles into practice.

Resources from this session:

  • Find the recording here. (BSL interpreted, captions available on YouTube)
  • Summary of tips and tools here.
  • How to make a simple zine guide here.

Impactful engagement: evaluating your projects by Jamie Gallagher

When: 18/05/2022 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Summary: Successful public engagement can benefit research, researchers and the public – but how do you go about demonstrating this change? This workshop will guide you through the best evaluation processes showing you When, Why and crucially How to use evaluation to give you reliable and clear data. Demonstrate success to funders; record Impact for REF; learn how to improve your processes and have a better understanding of the people you are connecting with 

Resources from this session:

  • Find the recording here. (BSL interpreted, captions available on YouTube)

Using traditional storytelling to talk about research and co-creation of stories by Nathaniel Hall

When: 06/2022 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm

Summary: Using storytelling to talk about your research is an engaging and effective communication technique. In this workshop you’ll learn about the principles of facilitating co-production of stories, best practice in storytelling and how to use storytelling to talk about research

Resources from this session:

  • Find the recording here. (BSL interpreted, captions available on YouTube)

Accessible and inclusive public engagement practice by Robyn Watson, Alex Sturrock, Katie Twomey and Wayne Sharples.

When: 09/2022 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Summary: This session will feature a roundtable discussion from a range of speakers and internal case studies about accessible and inclusive public engagement practice followed by a Q&A section.

Resources from this session:

Community Engagement: different ways of working with community partners

When: 29/03/2023 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Summary:  The session will include case studies about different ways of working with community partners and principles of what makes a good partnership, followed by a Q&A section.

Book here.

Resources from this session:

  • To come post-session.

If you have any questions about the sessions please contact Paolo Arru at

Professional Development Fund

If you want to develop your own skills or those of your team you can apply to the Professional Development Fund.

  • If you’re applying for yourself, you can apply for up to £2000 to cover all expenses related to taking part in your professional development.
  • If you’re applying on behalf of a department/team, you can apply for up to £3000 to cover all expenses related to the development opportunity.

Awards will be made monthly starting in March 2022 and awardees must spend funds by March 2023.

Apply for this if…

  • You want to boost your team’s public engagement skills
  • You already have a public engagement dimension to your research or role and you want to develop professionally.

What you need to demonstrate in your application:

  • The outcomes you or your team aim to achieve through this development
  • Details of the activity and how you or your team will apply the learning in your work
  • Timescales
  • Budget
  • Evaluation plan
  • Legacy and how you will share your learning with other staff within the University

What we can fund:

  • Public engagement practice and skills (e.g Engage Academy, Little Event, evaluation courses etc)
  • Skills development on delivering Equality Diversity and Inclusion relevant to public engagement (e.g. accessibility, working with diverse audiences)
  • Creative practice relevant for public engagement (e.g. production courses, theatre making, design thinking etc)
  • Practice-focused conferences (e.g. BIG STEM communicators network, Talking Maths in Public, The Presenter Network Conference etc)
  • Ad-hoc opportunities (e.g. mentoring with community groups, creatives etc) on a case-by-case basis
  • Team development opportunities (e.g. facilitator led bespoke team training).

Requirements for awardees who receive the funding:

  • Spend funds by March 2023
  • To acknowledge ISSF and Wellcome funding as part of activities and in any publications
  • To write a blog post about your experience and the outcome of your public engagement activity for University’s ISSF webpages and other relevant channels
  • To participate in the scheme’s monitoring and evaluation process.

To apply:

Deadline: Monthly deadlines, please see more details below.

Send by deadline to:

When will I know if my application is successful or not? We aim to get back to applicants within 3 weeks of the application deadline.

Please complete the online monitoring form and the application form observing the stated word limits. Please use font Arial 10 pt and submit your application as a Word.

Download the ISSF Professional Development Application Form (word).


  • R1 – 09:00 am 28/03/2022
  • R2 – 09:00 am 18/04/2022
  • R3 – 09:00 am 16/05/2022
  • R4 – 09:00 am 28/07/2022
  • R5 – 09:00 am 12/09/2022
  • R6 – 09:00 am 03/10/2022
  • R7 – 09:00 am 31/10/2022
  • R8 – 09:00 am 21/11/2022
  • R9 – 09:00 am 12/12/2022
  • R10 – 09:00 am 09/01/2023
  • R11 – 09:00 am 30/01/2023

For more information or any question related to this programme, please email Paolo Arru on