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.
Scheme at a glance
Eligibility and suitability
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:
- a Wellcome Centre
- an Africa and Asia Programme
- a Developing Excellence in Leadership and Training in Africa Programme
- Longitudinal Population Study Grants.
We encourage applications from researchers at all career stages, although we expect most applicants to have some experience of public engagement.
The Institutional Research Engagement Fund (IREF) pilots with the University of Oxford and the Scottish Public Engagement Network (ScotPEN) are no longer accepting new applications. Current Wellcome grantholders from the University of Oxford and Scottish universities should apply for engagement funding through the Research Enrichment – Public Engagement fund.
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.
If you propose to work on sensitive topics or with vulnerable groups, you must explain how you will:
- get ethical approval
- safeguard the wellbeing of the people you engage with during your programme, including appropriate aftercare.
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:
- Biomedical Vacation Scholarships
- Doctoral Studentships
- Engagement Fellowships
- Four-year PhD Studentships in Science
- International Master's Fellowships
- Master's Studentships in Humanities and Social Science
- PhD Training Fellowships for Clinicians
- Public Engagement Fund
- Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science
- Seed Awards in Science
- Small Grants in Humanities and Social Science
- The Hub Award
You can't apply to carry out activities that involve the transfer of grant funds into mainland China.
What we offer
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to apply
You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).
Stages of application
Before you apply
Please read our guidance notes:
- Research Enrichment – Public Engagement: ten common pitfalls [PDF 273KB]
- Notes on applying to Research Enrichment – Public Engagement [PDF 49KB]
- Our approach to engaging the public
- How to address social and ethical issues in public engagement
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.
Submit your application
Complete your application on Grant Tracker.
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.
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.
If you are disabled or have a long-term health condition, we can support you with the application process.
Log in to our online grants system (Grant Tracker). You can save your application and return to it any time.
You must submit your application by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the deadline day. We don’t accept late applications.
March 2022 round
Open to new applications
- 8 March 2022, 17:00 GMT
- May 2022
May 2022 round
Open to new applications
- 31 May 2022, 17:00 GMT
- August 2022
Find out about some of the people and projects we've funded for this scheme.