Using an engaged research approach

Engaging with stakeholders, from the public to policymakers, opens your research to new perspectives. This guide outlines our approach to engaged research, what this looks like and the values associated with it. 

What is an engaged research approach? 

Wellcome is committed to funding research that is open, engaged, equitable and efficient, as: 

  • it is the morally right thing to do  
  • it can strategically produce higher quality and more impactful research and 
  • research that does not engage appropriately with stakeholders both drives mistrust of the research enterprise and runs the risk of promoting research that is not aligned with the needs of those most affected by health challenges. 

To support these ambitions, Wellcome is taking an engaged approach. This asks researchers to integrate engagement into the design of their project, to be inclusive of a range of stakeholders and to work collaboratively to ensure the relevance of the research.  

Find out more about Wellcome's approach to people, culture and openness.

What does this look like? 

Wellcome believes that engagement can be across a range of stakeholders. Stakeholders can include: 

  • the public (for example, general public, lay perspectives, under-served groups) 
  • the community (for example, community groups, community advocates, patient and carer groups, members living in geographic areas where research will be conducted) 
  • policymakers (for example, policy groups, advocacy groups, advisory committees or bodies) 
  • researchers (for example, people using similar methodologies in different fields, people researching the same topic but with different disciplinary, methodological orientations or key networks) 
  • intermediaries – people who might be best placed to facilitate connections between your research and other stakeholder groups to foster greater understanding, participation, and longer-term uptake and impact (for example, clinicians, cross-sector representatives).  

In some cases, it might be necessary to involve one or more of these groups. If needed, please provide justification.  

Engaging with stakeholders is a key part of ensuring that the research Wellcome supports solves the urgent health challenges facing everyone. This should be done as part of your award and during your time allotted to the award. The costs associated with it should be outlined in your application.  

Early engagement (project conception or project proposal) with stakeholders will help you understand what might be required of your team throughout your award and enable you to plan, cost and staff this appropriately.  

Your engagement aims can change during your research project. However, if engagement activities and costs are not detailed in your application, there will not be another opportunity to apply for engagement funding related to the work.  

Values-based engagement 

Wellcome is open to a range of activities associated with engaging key stakeholders with your project. These activities must enable an open dialogue (two-way communication) between your key stakeholders and your research, and you must be able to outline how these engagement activities inform and enhance your research. Wellcome is not prescriptive with the activities you can undertake, but all engagement requires activities to: 

  • be inclusive in design and approach 
  • build and/or maintain positive and inclusive relationships  
  • have open and transparent communication.  


Contact us 

Contact our Funding Information Advisers if you have a question about funding.

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