Press release

Wellcome launches podcast to showcase science’s role in solving global health challenges

A new podcast from Wellcome will spotlight the role that science can play in finding practical solutions to the greatest global health challenges of our time. 

Episodes will address questions such as: How can we protect the most vulnerable from the health impacts of climate change? What can we do to prevent future disease outbreaks? How can we develop novel ways of intervening early to help people with mental health problems? How can researchers work with a community to involve them in the research, and bring about policy change? 

The first three episodes are out on 28th June, listen to the trailer and subscribe on all major podcast platforms:   

Wellcome, a global charitable foundation, has launched When Science Finds A Way to give a platform to researchers and people with lived experience of the challenges they are solving. The podcast brings to life the ways in which scientists can achieve the greatest impact by collaborating with a wide range of people, including policy makers and communities. 

The podcast is hosted by Alisha Wainwright, a Hollywood actor who previously worked as a scientist. She speaks to researchers and people from around the world including the UK, Indonesia, Australia, the US, Brazil, South Africa, Malawi, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Kenya. 

Alisha Wainwright says: “The most impactful scientific research comes when scientists connect and build relationships with communities to learn about their lives. I truly believe the most efficient progress is made when you collaborate with people who don't think like you do, look like you, or come from where you come from.” 

Lucy McDowell, Senior Public Participation Manager at Wellcome, says: “We are facing urgent health challenges around the world, and some communities are especially vulnerable. Through this podcast, we want to highlight inspiring stories about scientists, communities and policymakers working together to find creative and practical solutions. It shows the power of science to transform lives.” 

Wellcome funds discovery research to transform our understanding of life, health, and wellbeing, and is supporting science to take on three of the biggest health challenges facing humanity – climate change, infectious disease and mental health. Some of the projects which are featured are funded by Wellcome, whereas other episodes highlight different examples of groundbreaking work.  

The 13-episode series, When Science Finds A Way, is created by Wellcome in collaboration with the production company Chalk + Blade. New episodes will be available weekly on all major podcast listening platforms beginning on 28th June. To listen to the trailer and subscribe visit:  


The first three episodes launching on 28th June are: 

•    What can we do to stop superbugs? Since the discovery of penicillin in the early 20th century, we’ve seen the risk from minor infections virtually disappear. But after years of antibiotics being overused, we now face a silent pandemic where the treatments we rely on no longer work. The potential scale of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is concerning. Alisha Wainwright speaks to Dr Anand Anandkumar, an engineer turned biotechnologist. We also hear from John Kariuki in Kenya who had to have surgery. After the operation, the prescribed antibiotics did not work as they should have done because of AMR. This experience almost cost him his life.

•    How is research helping the fight for equality? In the 1970s, when a heterosexual couple divorced, courts almost always awarded child custody to the mother, except in one scenario: when the mother had come out as a lesbian. Prof Susan Golombok was determined to challenge these prejudices and to shine a light on the realities of same-sex parenting. She began studying a range of different family structures to build up a body of evidence which has created policy change around the world. We hear from a couple who took part in the research.  

•    How can we work on a heating planet? As the world gets hotter, people around the world are struggling to cope with what extreme heat does to our bodies. Kathy Baughman McLeod, chair of the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance, talks to Alisha Wainwright about the realities of heat stress. They hear from the market traders of Freetown, Sierra Leone, a city on the front line of the climate crisis. They meet the capital’s Chief Heat Officer, who is part of an international network working to protect their cities’ most vulnerable communities. 

About Wellcome  
Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, infectious disease and climate and health.