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International Engagement Awards

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What are the Awards?

The International Engagement Awards support public engagement projects and work that builds capacity for engagement with biomedical research in Sub-Saharan Africa, South-east Asia and South Asia.

The scheme aims to:

  • stimulate dialogue about biomedical research and its impact on the public in a range of community and public contexts
  • promote innovative partnerships between community organisations and the cultural sector, and scientists/researchers
  • strengthen capacity to conduct public engagement with biomedical science and health research


The scheme is open to a wide range of people and organisations including scientists, health researchers, NGOs, educators, artists, theatre practitioners and cultural or community organisations.

If your project is not led by a scientist, health researcher or research institution, you must have biomedical scientific input into the project by working in partnership with an expert in the area of biomedical science you are exploring. Similarly, we also strongly encourage scientist-led projects to be planned in collaboration with partners in civil society or the creative industries.

Please read about a Vietnamese project supported through the scheme, ‘Doi Moi’ [PDF 179KB], which aimed to bring science to the forefront of people’s minds in an engaging and entertaining way through theatre productions, lively debate and informed writing.

You may also be inspired by the Art in Global Health projects that supported artist residencies in six research centres across the world to look at personal, philosophical, cultural and political dimensions of health research.


The audience for the project, and the engagement activity, must be in a low- or middle-income country within Sub-Saharan Africa, South-east Asia or South Asia that is also eligible for our Investigator Awards within the broader remit of the Trust (but also including India). These are the countries that marked with an asterisk on our LMIC country eligibility page.

If you are a Wellcome Trust-funded researcher outside of these regions, please contact us to discuss your engagement plans.

Projects that are not eligible for International Engagement Awards include health promotion or public health campaign projects, research projects, or projects that do not deal with biomedical sciences or the history of medicine.

How do I apply?

To be eligible, you must be either:

  • a biomedical scientist or health researcher
  • or collaborating with a researcher, research group or institution to provide expertise in the area of biomedical science you are exploring

To apply for a grant of up to £30,000 for up to three years, please complete an expression of interest [Word] and email it to us. We will reply to your email with information about the project’s suitability for the scheme and invite a full application if applicable.

We encourage you to contact us as early as possible before the deadline so we are able to provide feedback and there is sufficient time for you to complete the full application form.

As of January 2015 applications for our International Engagement Awards will no longer be peer reviewed ahead of Committee meetings. This change aims to enable faster funding decisions and to relieve the burden of peer review from public engagement professionals and researchers.

All eligible projects will be assessed individually on merit and need by a funding committee. Final decisions will be made approximately 10 weeks after the full application deadline.

What projects have been funded?

The International Engagement Awards scheme has previously funded projects such as:

Shane McCracken
Gallomanor Communications Ltd
I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here! - Kenya

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! – Kenya takes this successful UK online science engagement format to Africa. This project will research, adapt, pilot, evaluate and roll out a version of the UK event for schools in Kenya. It will also share the learning and train a local project manager so that the event can be run autonomously in subsequent years. Working with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, the project will engage with 20 schools in the local area and across Kenya to evaluate how the event can be improved with the ultimate aim of students and scientists across Africa reaping the benefits of communicating with each other online.

Lena Bui
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam
Sacred water

‘Sacred Water’ is an artist-led project exploring people’s relationship with water usage and risks of enteric disease from ancient spouts around the Kathmandu Valley. The project is based on research on endemic urban typhoid transmission being carried out at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Nepal at Patan Hospital, Kathmandu. The project will result in a short film on the use of ancient fountains and develop an art workshop for local residents to express their relationship with water and their health concerns. By weaving together visual elements drawn from scientific research and those from people’s imaginations they will work to develop some understanding of the discrepancies between science and real life practice, and contribute to building trust and understanding between the local communities, researchers and artists.

Rhian Twine
University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Research IS Relevant to Rural Adolescents and their Educators

The Community Engagement Office (LINC) of the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), South Africa, will seek to engage young people with research findings relevant to their own health and wellbeing. Interactive learning materials, aligned with a compulsory high-school curriculum, will be developed in collaboration with young people and educators. The course will incorporate findings from local research on issues prioritised by the young people themselves including adolescent pregnancy, HIV prevalence and sexual behaviour, and risk factors for chronic disease. Young people will identify ways to use information to change their own, their family and community’s lifestyle choices. A “Research IS Relevant” workbook enables LINC to will be updated annually.

Nicholas Fernandez,
Fact and Fiction Films
'GameLife - Vietnam'

This project, inspired by the Wellcome Trust’s ‘Gamify Your PhD’ in the UK, will engage young Vietnamese scientists together with game designers in a competition and collaboration that aims to generate playable electronic games. The games will explore the important research being conducted at the Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, and will be designed to engage a broad youth audience. On each development team, scientists will provide scientific concepts and rigour, while the game designers will provide their own ideas, technical skills and industry insight. The two winning games will be awarded a budget for further development. All the games will be exhibited as part of a roadshow at diverse youth venues, for people to play the games, explore the science and meet the scientists.

Anastasia Koch
University of Cape Town, South Africa
Eh!Woza (Hey! Come [with us])

This project led by the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IIDMM) in partnership with IkamvaYouth, an educational NGO, and digital artists aims to engage youth people with TB biomedical research conducted in Khayelitsha. During the first phase – “What has Cape Town Taught the World about TB?” – young people will drive production of a set of infographics that describe TB biomedical research in Cape Town. During the second phase – “What Contributes to TB in My Community?” – the participants will produce short documentaries that describe factors they determine contribute to TB transmission, as well as personal attitudes towards the disease. This media will be published in Live Magazine with the aim of reaching a broader youth audience.

Information on all our previous funding is available here.

Deadlines and contacts

Please submit your expression of interest as early as possible but at least two weeks before any full application deadline. The following deadlines are for invited full applications:

• 4th September 2014 (expressions of interest must be received before 21st August)

• 13th March 2015 (expressions of interest must be received before 27th February)

• 11th September 2015 (expressions of interest must be received before 28th August)

You can contact us at:

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

T +44 (0)20 7611 5757

Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK T:+44 (0)20 7611 8888