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Research Enrichment – Public Engagement

This funding supports Wellcome grantholders who want to use public insights to develop their research. Engagement helps to build the public's trust in research, and ensure research is valued within society.

We’re changing our funding schemes

The way we fund research is changing to support our new strategy. A simplified set of funding schemes will be open for applications in summer 2021.

This scheme will close to applicants during 2021. See 'key dates' on this page for the final application deadline.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

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Level of funding:

Between £10,000 and £250,000 (depending on your main Wellcome grant)

Duration of funding:

Funding will end at the same time as your main Wellcome grant

Who can apply

You can apply for this funding if you want to engage the public with research you're doing on your main Wellcome grant.

You must be:

  • a current Wellcome-funded grantholder


  • a successful applicant to one of our schemes – you've received an award confirmation letter.

In both cases, you must be the lead applicant.

If your main Wellcome grant is one of the following, you should contact us before you apply as there is a different application process:

We encourage applications from researchers at all career stages, although we expect most applicants to have some experience of public engagement.

Your proposal

There are no limits on scope, but your proposal should be aligned to your current research programme and underpinned by a clear rationale. 

It should include opportunities for you to:

  • explore how public engagement can ensure your research resonates with the public
  • use insights from the public to develop your research
  • develop your public engagement and leadership skills, and the skills of your team members.

We will review:

  • the main outcomes you want to achieve during your engagement programme, for example through the use of logic models  
  • the people you want to engage with, and why you want to do this 
  • the feasibility of your programme 
  • the partners you’ll work with and how you’ll work with them
  • how you’ll evaluate your programme and share learning and/or contribute to the public engagement evidence base
  • how the programme will enable you to develop new engagement approaches or expand the scale, reach and impact of a proven public engagement project
  • how the programme will help you and others to build upon your public engagement skills and expertise
  • value for money.

See the most common areas in which applications to this scheme could be improved in Research Enrichment – Public Engagement: ten common pitfalls [PDF 273KB].

Who can't apply

You can’t apply if your main Wellcome grant is one of the following:

You can’t apply if your main Wellcome grant is based at the University of Oxford or a Scottish university. We’re running a funding pilot with these universities – in place of this scheme – and you should contact them directly for more information:

You can't apply to carry out activities that involve the transfer of grant funds into mainland China.

Other schemes

Research Enrichment – Diversity and Inclusion

Enabling Wellcome grantholders to identify and tackle barriers to diversity and inclusion in their work.
Full details of Research Enrichment – Diversity and Inclusion
Scheme finder

You can ask for Research Enrichment – Public Engagement funding of between £10,000 and £250,000. 

We suggest you think about a proposal valued at around 5% of your total research grant, but we are flexible as long as you are able to justify the amount you ask for, based on: 

  • the funding level and time remaining on your main Wellcome grant 
  • the scale and scope of your proposed public engagement programme.

Funds can be used for a range of costs such as:

  • We will provide costs for staff who will coordinate and support the development of your public engagement programme. You can ask for these costs if:

    • you have a public engagement programme with substantial reach and impact
    • your main Wellcome grant is a large research grant with more than one research group, eg a Collaborative Award.

    We don't cover the salaries of staff already funded by their organisation.

  • other personnel costs directly related to the programme, including salary replacement or cover, eg teaching staff
  • consultancy costs and project management fees
  • direct activity and production costs, including venue costs, equipment and materials
  • relevant public engagement training and development for you and any staff employed on your grant
  • We will provide travel costs for you to:

    • attend relevant training or public engagement conferences
    • visit audiences and collaborators
    • develop and deliver your public engagement activities
    • support the involvement of collaborators and audiences.

    You can also ask for costs to cover caring responsibilities if you or any staff employed on your grant 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 public engagement programme
    • 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.

    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.

  • evaluation, including formative/development costs
  • administration costs that are not already covered by other funding
  • marketing and publicity costs for events and activities
  • We will provide costs for enhanced DBS checks (formerly Criminal Records Bureau checks) for applications in the UK. If you are a scientist, these are free if you register to be a Science and Engineering Ambassador.

  • contingency costs, as long as these are reasonable and you can justify them
  • VAT on fees where the VAT can't be reclaimed.

What we don’t offer

You can't use Research Enrichment – Public Engagement funding for:

  • engagement activities that are essential to carrying out your research in an ethical way, for example consulting with community advisory panels or communicating research findings to research participants
  • engagement with specialist audiences, for example policy makers, scientists, healthcare professionals and public engagement professionals, without the involvement of public voices
  • media and communication activities, such as broadcast, radio, websites and press releases.

We don't fund overheads.

You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).

Start your application

Stages of application

  1. Before you apply

    Please read our guidance notes: 

    You should discuss your proposal with the public engagement team at your organisation before you apply. We also recommend you draw on the expertise of colleagues with public engagement experience. 

  2. Submit your application

    Complete your application on Grant Tracker.

    View the Sample full application form for Research Enrichment [PDF 115KB].

    You can also apply for enrichment funding for diversity and inclusion. You’ll need to complete a separate application form for each type of funding. Applications will be assessed separately.

    If you’re already a Wellcome-funded grantholder

    You can apply at any time from your award date, but you need to be able complete your programme of activities by the end date of your main Wellcome grant. 

    If you’re applying for your main Wellcome grant

    You can begin your application for Research Enrichment funding at any time while you’re applying for your main Wellcome grant. 

    You should only submit your Research Enrichment application when you’ve been informed that your main Wellcome grant has been awarded.  

  3. Decision

    Wellcome staff will assess your application. External peer review will be used for applications over £100,000.

    We aim to give you a decision and any feedback within ten weeks of the application deadline. There are no interviews. 

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.


You must submit your application by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the deadline day. We don’t accept late applications.

January 2021 round

  • Application deadline

    12 January 2021, 17:00 GMT

  • Decision

    March 2021

April 2021 round

This is the final round.

  • Application deadline

    9 April 2021, 17:00 BST

  • Decision

    June 2021

Key dates

This scheme will close in 2021. These are the final dates.

January 2021 round

  • Application deadline

    12 January 2021, 17:00 GMT

  • Decision

    March 2021

April 2021 round

This is the final round.

  • Application deadline

    9 April 2021, 17:00 BST

  • Decision

    June 2021

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.