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Engagement Fellowships

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About Engagement Fellowships

Now in their fourth year, Engagement Fellowships aim to support and develop upcoming stars in public engagement with science.

Engagement Fellowships champion the leaders of tomorrow by fostering the most promising developing talent. We are looking for individuals with a strong track record of engaging the public with ideas around biomedical science and/or medical humanities, who want to make a step-change in their careers.

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 both in the Fellow’s field of work and in the biomedical sciences more widely
  • foster a network of influential public engagement ambassadors within biomedical science

We offer:

  • financial support for up to two years, covering salary or salary buyout (on a full- or part-time basis)
  • project costs
  • training, where appropriate
  • access to office space and facilities at the Wellcome Trust for the duration of the Fellowship, as well as membership of the Wellcome Collection club, Henry’s
  • opportunities to work with Wellcome Trust staff to develop project ideas, where appropriate
Thomas S.G.Farnetti, Wellcome Images.
Left to right: Greg Foot, Lavinia Greenlaw and Alasdair Hopwood.
2013 Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellows.


Engagement Fellowships are open to individuals with a proven track record of delivering (rather than facilitating) high-quality public engagement and with potential to become leaders in the field of public engagement with science in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland.

Applications are welcome from professional science communicators, research scientists, medical historians, clinicians or professionals working in the arts. Applicants may or may not be currently affiliated to or employed by a UK academic institution. In those cases where they are, however, applicants may be asked to demonstrate how they will help to further embed public engagement as a core activity within their home institution on their return.

Fellows must:

  • have at least three years’ experience (full- or part-time) engaging the public with science
  • be based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland

How to apply

You should make preliminary applications in writing (preferably submitted by email to PEgrants@wellcome.ac.uk) and as a single Word or PDF document. This must include:

A statement from the applicant of no more than 200 words about what they would do with a Engagement Fellowship

A CV from the applicant of no more than two sides of A4 (Arial 11 point or similar)

A reference, from either an academic nominator affiliated to a university in the UK or Republic of Ireland or from an employer, of no more than one side of A4, including:

  • how long and in what capacity the referee has known the applicant (at least two years is expected
  • a statement on what the referee considers to be the applicant’s outstanding characteristics that would make them suitable for the Fellowship
  • a statement on what the referee thinks the applicant would gain from the Fellowship, in particular how it would influence their position in the public engagement community.

Deadlines and contacts

Applications will be considered once a year. The 2015 preliminary application deadline is 13 February 2015.

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 14 July 2015.

Contact us at:

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

T +44 (0)20 7611 5757

Funded Fellows


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