Press release

Pop-up surgery and citizen science: new Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellows announced

The Wellcome Trust today announces its two new Engagement Fellows - Professor Roger Kneebone from Imperial College London and Dr Erinma Ochu from the University of Manchester.

The Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowships champion and develop upcoming stars in public engagement with science. The scheme, now in its second year, provides support for science communicators with a strong track record of delivering high-quality public engagement and aims to propel them to become leaders in their field.

Roger Kneebone, Professor of Surgical Education at Imperial College London, plans to use his fellowship to build on his passion for education and for communicating and exploring new ideas. In particular, he will look at how his field of surgery overlaps with the worlds of art, performance and craftsmanship.

During his fellowship, Professor Kneebone will build links between Imperial College London's world-leading biomedical research and a wide range of public engagement events and venues, creating imaginative ways for scientists and publics to share ideas and influence one another's thinking.

Dr Erinma Ochu will explore innovative ways to embed biomedical science in people's everyday lives. She will investigate how 'citizen science' - science carried out by the public (e.g. in mass participation activities such as Turing's Sunflowers, which invited people to grow sunflowers to analyse mathematical patterns in nature) - can contribute to biomedical research challenges.

Working with high-profile mentors, researchers and the Wellcome Trust Arts Awards team, she will also explore the role that new technologies and interactive storytelling can have.

Dr Ochu will take up her fellowship at the University of Manchester, where she already holds an honorary research fellowship in the Faculty of Life Sciences. She will work in partnership with MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester) and festivals to test out new approaches.

The Engagement Fellowships are part of the Wellcome Trust's strategic vision of working with researchers and the creative industries to help societies explore and become involved with biomedical science, its future directions, its impacts on society and the ethical questions that it brings.

The fellowships were launched last year with awards to anaesthetist, astrobiologist and TV science presenter Dr Kevin Fong and medical historian and Sick City Project creator Dr Richard Barnett.

Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, says: "Kevin and Richard, our first two fellows, have impressed and surprised us over the first year of their fellowships with imaginative projects that engage the public through live events, TV and radio, and mobile apps. Roger and Erinma already have strong track records in public engagement, and we hope that these fellowships will enable them to join Kevin and Richard as pioneering communicators."