Engagement Fellowships (Closed)

Engagement Fellowships develop emerging leaders from a range of backgrounds so they can engage the public with health research.

Scheme at a glance 

This scheme is now closed

Funding amount:

Salary and research expenses covered

Funding duration:

Up to 2 years. Can be done part time.

Who can apply

You can apply for an Engagement Fellowship if you have at least three years' experience in engaging the public with health research. 

You should want to undertake a self-directed fellowship that will enable you to:

  • transform the ways in which organisations and/or platforms involve the public in health research
  • build new networks and share learning
  • shape future professional opportunities
  • develop yourself as a leader.

The fellowships are open to a wide range of people, including (but not limited to): 

  • community leaders or social entrepreneurs
  • academics exploring health and wellbeing (for example, biomedical or social scientists and medical historians)
  • leaders in third sector organisations (for example, charities and other non-profit organisations)
  • professionals working in the arts and creative industries
  • clinicians or healthcare professionals.

You should be based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland.

Your proposal

We're looking for people who see missed opportunities in how people can be empowered by and help to shape health research.

Areas of interest include (but are not limited to): 

  • reaching audiences who have fewer opportunities to engage with research
  • creating people-centred, inclusive research practice 
  • addressing future health challenges, including epidemic preparedness, drug-resistant infection, and understanding and using patient data.

We will review:

  • your vision or the challenge you want to address
  • how your proposal aligns with our public engagement goals 
  • the difference you want to make during and after the fellowship 
  • what leading this change means to you 
  • how you'll develop your leadership skills and challenge yourself 
  • why now is the right time for you to undertake this fellowship
  • how you want to engage with Wellcome during the fellowship. 

If you're employed by a UK academic organisation, we want to know how they will help you to embed public engagement when you return.

An Engagement Fellowship is for up to two years, or you can hold it part-time over a longer period. The support includes:

  • We will fund the cost of your salary during the fellowship. The amount we’ll provide depends on the proportion of time that you’ll spend on the fellowship (eg a pro-rata salary if you work part time).

    If you’re a freelancer, you should calculate your salary based on your approximate annual income for the past two years. You may need to justify the salary level you’re asking for.

    If you will continue to be employed by your current employer, we will pay salary costs for your organisation to employ someone to cover you while you are on the fellowship.

    You should ask your host organisation to calculate these costs. They should be based on the base salary grade for the post(s) that will need to be covered, and should include:

    • employer’s contributions, including any statutory obligations (eg National Insurance contributions if you’re based in the UK) and pension scheme costs
    • any incremental progression up the salary scale
    • locally recognised allowances such as London allowance.

    You should allow for salary pay awards during Year 1. These should be based on pay awards already agreed: if you don’t know what the pay award is yet then use our inflation rate. For Year 1 include any known pay awards for this period or an assumed percentage equivalent to our current inflation rate of 2.0% if this hasn’t been confirmed.

    From Year 2 onwards, we will automatically increase the salary, based on our current inflation allowance rates.

  • You can ask for costs of up to the equivalent of £30,000 a year pro rata, eg for activities, evaluation and contingency.

  • You can ask for travel and subsistence costs to visit any relevant organisations or conferences. You’ll have to justify the reasons for and length of each visit.

    Conference costs can include registration fees.

    You can also ask for costs to cover caring responsibilities if you attend a conference. This includes childcare and any other caring responsibility you have, provided:

    • Wellcome is paying your salary
    • the conference is directly related to your research
    • the caring costs are over and above what you'd normally pay for care
    • the conference organiser and your employing organisation are unable to cover the costs.

    You can ask for up to £1,000 per person for each conference.

    You can also ask for costs to cover regular visits to Wellcome if you’re not based in London.

    Carbon offset costs

    This is a new policy. It applies to all types of travel costs Wellcome provides.

    You can ask for:

    • the cost of low carbon travel where practical, even if it's more expensive (for example travelling by train instead of flying)
    • project-related resources or activities that provide an alternative to travel, such as video conferencing, communication and file-sharing software
    • costs to offset the carbon emissions of the journeys you make.

    We won't pay for the core infrastructure that your host organisation should provide, unless you're eligible to ask for these costs under our overheads policy. Examples of these costs include:

    • organisation-wide video conferencing packages
    • high-speed broadband
    • HD screens.

    See our carbon offset policy for travel for information on what you and your organisation need to do.

  • training, where appropriate
  • access to meeting space and facilities at Wellcome during the fellowship
  • opportunities to work with Wellcome Trust staff to develop project ideas, where appropriate
  • a fellowship support programme, including facilitated progress meetings, senior management support meetings and career coaching.
  • You can also ask for desk space within The Hub, in Wellcome Collection.

What we don’t offer

We don't fund overheads.

This scheme has now closed. There will be no further application deadlines.

Stages of application

  1. Submit your application

    View the sample full application form for Engagement Fellowships [PDF 689KB].

  2. Review and shortlisting

    Applications will be assessed by a panel of Wellcome Trust staff. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview.

  3. Interview

    If you're invited for interview, you'll be asked to make a short presentation. This will be followed by questions from the Public Engagement Fellowship Committee. Interviews take place at the Wellcome offices in London.

Disabled applicants

If you are disabled or have a chronic health condition, we can support you with the application process.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

What you need to know if you're a grant applicant or grantholder.

Grants awarded

Find out about some of the people and projects we've funded for this scheme.

Contact us


Contact our information officers if you have a question about funding.