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Engagement Fellowships

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About Engagement Fellowships

Engagement Fellowships support and develop the careers of emerging leaders in public engagement.

We’re looking for people with:

  • a vision for the future
  • leadership potential.

We want to:

  • accelerate and enhance the careers of talented people, propelling them to become the public engagement leaders of tomorrow
  • enable fellows to investigate and shape best practice in public engagement
  • raise the profile and prestige of public engagement with science
  • encourage a network of influential public engagement ambassadors.

What we offer

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

  • salary or salary buyout (on a full- or part-time basis)
  • project costs
  • training, where appropriate
  • access to meeting space and facilities at the Wellcome Trust for the duration of the fellowship
  • desk space within The Hub, in Wellcome Collection
  • 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
Albert Webb from Brain Donors series
Thomas S.G.Farnetti, Wellcome Images.
Left to right: Bella Starling, Delia Muir and Steve Cross.
2015 Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellows.


Engagement Fellowships are open to a wide range of people, including:

  • professional science communicators
  • academics exploring health and wellbeing (eg, biomedical or social scientists and medical historians)
  • clinicians or healthcare professionals
  • professionals working in the arts.

You can apply for an Engagement Fellowship if you have at least three years’ experience of engaging the public with ideas around health and wellbeing.

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

If you’re affiliated to, or employed by, a UK academic organisation, and plan to remain so during and after your fellowship, you may be asked to demonstrate how you will help to further embed public engagement as a core activity within your home institution on your return.

How to apply

1) Submit your preliminary application

Complete an application form via the Trust’s WT Grant Tracker online application system and submit it before the published deadline.

2) Review and longlisting

Preliminary applications will be assessed by a panel of Wellcome Trust staff and if long-listed we’ll ask you to submit a full application.

3) Submit your full application

4) Review and shortlisting

Full applications will be assessed by a panel of Wellcome Trust staff and the Chair of the Interview Committee. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview.

5) Interview

Applicants will be expected to give a short presentation followed by questions from the Interview Committee.

Deadlines and contacts

Applications will be considered once a year. The next preliminary application deadline is 12 February 2016.

We will assess preliminary applications by late March and invite successful applicants to submit a full application.

Shortlisted applicants will be required to attend an interview on 20 July 2016.

The deadline for preliminary applications in 2017 will be 20 February.

Contact us at:

Engagement Fellowships
Wellcome Trust
Gibbs Building
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK

T +44 (0)20 7611 5757

Funded Fellows


Steve Cross, Engagement Practitioner and Comedian

Steve is a veteran public engagement practitioner who has worked in science centres, museums and charities and as Head of Public Engagement at UCL. He’s the founder of Bright Club, the national network of academic research comedy events, and Science Showoff, a travelling chaotic science comedy cabaret. As an Engagement Fellow he’ll be looking at how new communities of engagement can be built across the UK, using comedy as a nucleating centre.

Delia Muir, Academic and Theatre Practitioner

Delia is currently a Patient and Public Involvement Officer at the University of Leeds. She originally studied acting and continues to work as a freelance performer and theatre practitioner. She has used performance techniques in several engagement projects – for example, using role-play and video to help collaborative data analysis. Through her fellowship, Delia will examine the links between public involvement and public engagement. She plans to focus on the use of applied performance techniques to facilitate public involvement in health research.

Bella Starling, Engagement Practitioner and Researcher

Bella’s Engagement Fellowship will explore how public engagement contributes to citizenship, civic life and social capital. By working with people who have been interested in biomedical science from all walks of life and in various settings, her work will focus on understanding the social outcomes of public engagement to ultimately support public engagement practice as a catalyst for social change.


Alex Julyan, Visual Artist and Producer

Alex plans to use the Fellowship to create projects that investigate the spaces in-between the public experience of healthcare and the language of policy. Bringing art, architecture and science together she aims to connect opinion and experience in unexpected ways.

Brian Lobel, Performance Artist

Brian plans on expanding his work on patient experience through new performance work and expansion of previous projects. Brian will attend medical school and observe other trainings in hopes of discovering ways for patient experience to feedback into medical care, health policy and scientific research. Brian's work is particularly focused on the relationship (emotional, linguistic, social) between cancer and other serious illnesses, chronic conditions and disability.

Dan Bird, Engineer

How can we double the impact of a Science Centre visit? In order to provide engaging, relevant and connected experiences that will nurture a long-term relationship with science, we must reach out beyond the science centre building. This Fellowship creates the opportunity to think strategically at a national level and to work with leading engagement professionals in the UK and beyond.


Greg Foot, science presenter

Working to increase the scope and effectiveness of what science communication can offer.

Lavinia Greenlaw, poet

Plans to use the Fellowship to encourage people to think about how scientific and artistic endeavour derive from common ground, how artists are precise and scientists are imaginative, and how looking at the same question from different angles – using different equipment, concepts and vocabularies – can enrich and illuminate a subject.

Alasdair Hopwood, artist

Aiming to explore the role of science engagement in his practice and to initiate a series of projects that examine the limits of cross-disciplinary collaboration.


Dr Erinma Ochu, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester

Aimed to explore innovative ways to embed biomedical science in people’s everyday lives. She will investigate how ‘citizen science’ – science carried out by the public – can contribute to biomedical research challenges.

Roger Kneebone, Professor of Surgical Education at Imperial College London

Planned 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.


Richard Barnett, historian and Sick City Project

Used the Fellowship to develop inspiring outreach projects in a range of media, to establish a community of students with experience and enthusiasm in engagement, and to promote engagement as part of every academic career in the medical humanities.

Kevin Fong, Consultant Anaesthetist at University College London Hospital and TV presenter

Used the opportunity to immerse himself in the world of science communication, with the flexibility to participate and experiment in a wide range of projects. The Fellowship freed him from regular clinical duties, providing the time to develop his existing skills in science communication and to experiment with newer forms of communication.
Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK T:+44 (0)20 7611 8888