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People Awards and Society Awards

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About People Awards and Society Awards

Albert Webb from Brain Donors series
Image: ‘Mr Albert Webb’ from the Brain Donor series in Ania Dabrowska and Dr Bronwyn Parry’s Mind Over Matter 2011 exhibition, supported by a People Award.

People Awards and Society Awards are two related schemes supporting projects that encourage the public to explore biomedical science, its impact on society and culture, its historical roots or the ethical questions that it raises.

Both schemes aim to:

  • stimulate interest, excitement and debate about biomedical science and/or the history of medicine
  • support formal and informal learning
  • reach audiences of all ages and from all walks of life and inform, inspire and involve them
  • encourage high-quality interdisciplinary practice and collaborations
  • investigate and test new methods of engagement, participation and education.

The schemes are open to a wide range of people, including: mediators, facilitators and practitioners of science communication; science centre/museum staff; artists; educators; film makers; theatre producers; games developers; public participation practitioners; health professionals; and academics in bioscience, social science, bioethics and medical history and humanities.

Project activities and outputs may include:

  • workshops, events, debates and discussions
  • exhibitions and museum outreach
  • films, games, websites and cross-platform projects
  • performance or theatre projects involving existing work or work that may be more illustrative than artistic
  • deliberative or opinion-gathering projects
  • creation of teaching materials
  • projects that use the collections of the Wellcome Library and Wellcome Collection at the Science Museum.

Please see the eligibility tab for the difference between the two schemes.

Please note we have recently revised the criteria for our Co-production Awards specifically to support production costs for broadcast, games or film mass-media entertainment projects up to and including £40,000. Please see here for details of this scheme.

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must be based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland and the primary audience engagement must take place in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. Applicants are usually affiliated to organisations, but you can apply as an individual for a People and Society Award.

Projects must be scientifically sound - we look for scientific input either through a scientist taking on an advisory role or through direct collaboration.

People Awards (up to and including £40 000)
People Awards are for innovative and creative projects that engage the public with biomedical science and/or the history of medicine. They can fund small-to-medium-sized one-off projects or projects that pilot new ideas with an aim to scale up or become sustainable following the grant, or they can part-fund larger projects.

Society Awards (above £40 000)
Society Awards can fund the scaling-up of successfully piloted projects (whether funded through People Awards or through other means) or can fund projects that are more ambitious in scale and impact than is possible through a People Award. Society Award projects would normally expect to reach audiences with a wide geographical spread across the UK and/or Republic of Ireland. They can also part-fund larger projects. The average level of a Society Award is around £180,000 over 2-3 years.

Mass-media entertainment projects are not suitable for the People Awards and Society Awards. We have recently revised our Co-production Awards to specifically fund production costs associated with broadcast, games or film mass-media entertainment projects, please see here for more details.

If your proposed project involves the creation of new artistic work, please also see our Arts Awards.

Projects that are not eligible for People Awards and Society Awards include:

  • health promotion or campaigning projects
  • arts projects for therapeutic purposes
  • projects that do not deal with biomedical science or the history of medicine

How to apply

People Awards (up to and including £40 000)

Complete an application form via the Trust’s WT Grant Tracker online application system and submit it before the published deadline. Please refer to the application guidelines [PDF 193KB], Grant Conditions and evaluation guidelines [PDF 127KB] before completing your application.

Download a sample of the application form.

How to submit your application
You have two submission options which are managed through questions on the application form:

Option 1
If no one in your organisation needs to approve the form, you can submit the application directly; once you have validated your form and selected Submit, the form will be submitted straight to the Trust.

Option 2
You can nominate an approver in your organisation (e.g. a director) that can approve and submit the application to the Trust. The authorised approver has to accept the role and may need to register if they are a new user, or log into the Portal if they are an existing user. An email will inform them that you have submitted an application to them for approval. Once reviewed, they can approve and submit the application to the Trust.

Applications for our Small Arts and People Awards are no longer peer reviewed ahead of Committee meetings. We changed this to enable faster funding decisions and to relieve the burden of peer review from public engagement professionals and researchers. The Trust will continue to provide written feedback from funding Committees for all eligible applications submitted to the schemes.


Society Awards (above £40 000)

Complete an application form via the Trust’s WT Grant Tracker online application system and submit it before the published deadline. Please refer to the application guidelines [PDF 193KB], Grant Conditions and evaluation guidelines [PDF 127KB] before completing your application.

How to submit your application
You have two submission options which are managed through questions on the application form:

Option 1
If no one in your organisation needs to approve the form, you can submit the application directly; once you have validated your form and selected Submit, the form will be submitted straight to the Trust.

Option 2
You can nominate an approver in your organisation (e.g. a director) that can approve and submit the application to the Trust. The authorised approver has to accept the role and may need to register if they are a new user, or log into the Portal if they are an existing user. An email will inform them that you have submitted an application to them for approval. Once reviewed, they can approve and submit the application to the Trust.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss these arrangements in more detail.

The Society Awards Funding Committee will assess your application. If successful, you will then be invited to submit a full application (usually about two months after the preliminary deadline).

Your full application will be peer reviewed by at least two independent reviewers, and we will invite you to respond to their comments in writing. We will then ask you to present your proposal to the Society Awards Funding Committee. This meeting will discuss the peer reviews and your response to them, and will make a funding decision.

Deadlines and contacts

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

Please contact us if you wish to discuss these arrangements in more detail.

There are four deadlines per year. Forthcoming deadlines are:

  • 21 August 2015 (17.00)
  • 20 November 2015 (17.00)
  • 19 February 2016 (17.00)
  • 20 May 2016 (17.00)

Funding decisions will be made approximately two months after the relevant deadline; we will tell you the result shortly afterwards. The committee reserves the right to request independent expert review of applications to inform their decisions. In cases where this is required funding decisions may take longer.

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

Please contact us if you wish to discuss these arrangements in more detail.

There are two deadlines per year. Forthcoming deadlines are:

  • 18 September 2015 (17.00)
  • 11 March 2016 (17.00)

We will make shortlisting decisions for preliminary applications approximately two to three months after the relevant deadline; we will tell you the result shortly afterwards.

Contact us at:
People /Society Awards
Wellcome Trust
Gibbs Building
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK

T +44 (0)20 7611 5757
E PEgrants@wellcome.ac.uk

Previous funding

Human+ was a thought-provoking exhibition about human enhancement curated by the Science Gallery Dublin. A cross-disciplinary approach, an ambitious events programme and impressive partnerships resulted in a high-quality, engaging and multifaceted exhibition that attracted more than 42,000 visitors. Human+ case study [PDF 145KB]

Read summaries of all People and Society Awards.

Funding rate: During the financial year from October 2013 to September 2014 the Committee received 211 People Award applications. Of these, 36 were funded, giving an overall funding rate for the scheme that year of 17%. The Trust received 30 preliminary applications to the Society Awards. Of these seven were shortlisted for full application and four were funded, giving an overall funding rate for the scheme that year of 13%.

Society Awards

Awarded November 2015

Denise Eaton
Virtual Reality Prosthetics: Body and Mind
Sheffield Hallam University
£216,714

Virtual Reality Prosthetics: Body and Mind will develop a range of interactive activities and exhibits together with schools and university technology colleges, partners, stakeholders and users about joint physiology, prosthetics and the lived experience of people with limb loss. It will deliver this exhibition in a wide range of museum and non-museum spaces both locally and nationally. It will engage the public with emerging technologies and cutting-edge multi-disciplinary research and will leave a legacy of online materials to encourage further learning and debate.

People Awards

Awarded January 2016

Ailin Conant
Marked – UK Theatre and Homeless Sector Tour
Theatre Témoin Limited
£39,985

The Marked is a vivid mask theatre piece about a young man sleeping rough in London, which examines the effect of childhood trauma on adult psychology. We will tour The Marked between March 2016 and June 2017 reaching 4,150 people nationwide, including 600 people experiencing homelessness.

Mhairi Stewart
Cell Block Science
University of St Andrews
£32,664

This project will facilitate the delivery of a programme of public engagement with science activities in the prison learning centres of HMP YOI Cornton Vale and HMP Shotts. Activities will be designed and delivered by scientists from the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre (BSRC), St Andrews University with assistance from their public engagement officer, Mhairi Stewart. The BSRC is uniquely placed to cover many STEM subjects including Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Medicine. The programme will launch with the University of St Andrews researchers visiting the prison learning centres and the establishment of a science library in the centres.

Rosie Wellesley
Bringing eczema to children’s picture books
£6,869

Eczema affects a fifth of children in developed countries and its prevalence is increasing. Managing eczema takes time and can be stressful for parents and children alike. Picture books are often used to help children understand an issue (the arrival of a new sibling; toilet training, etc). I want to produce a high quality picture book where eczema features in the story. Carers and children with eczema will have an input into the creative process.

Bobby Baker
Roving Diagnostic Unit
Daily Life Ltd
£36,776

We are seeking funding to develop and test the Roving Diagnostic Unit, where people with lived experience of mental distress co-produce participatory adventures to ‘diagnose’ local cultural centres by: 1. Running a programme of cultural activity that triggers and cultivates public interest, fascination and debate about mental health, its diagnosis and its treatment.; 2. Piloting new methods of engaging participants who experience mental distress to co-lead public engagement activities within cultural organisations whilst assessing the impact on health outcomes: mental health, recovery, wellbeing.; 3. Developing more effective ways to share and reflect on our learning so as to reach people from all walks of life, including health and social care professionals, and to stimulate lively and thought provoking debate.

Will Bourdillon
Gutted (Theatre Production)
Conker Theatre
£5,000

Gutted is a brave new theatre production that aims to offer a shared physical space for people to reflect on the impact of chronic illness on the lives of sufferers and those caring for them. An autobriographical one-woman-show, it draws on the experiences of performer Liz Richardson, who herself suffers from Ulcerative Colitis (similar to Crohn’s Disease), and through humour, sensitivity and a bold contemporary theatre style, investigates the boundaries that cause us to feel shame.

Imre Bard
Hack the Senses!
£39,230

‘Hack the Senses!’ will engage the public with the science of perception in an innovative, hands-on manner. Following a series of inspiring talks and workshops we will organise a weekend hackathon that will open up the world of sensory substitution and augmentation to explore how we can broaden our perceptual universe. We seek to bring together people from a variety of backgrounds and provide them with the space, facilities and tools to prototype new ideas that enhance, expand and augment the senses.

Toby Peach
The Eulogy of Toby Peach
£11,529

The Eulogy of Toby Peach is an award-winning theatre show that shows a young man’s journey with cancer in an honest, fascinating and inspiring exploration of modern science and the wonders of the human body. The Eulogy is a discovery of self-mortality and this original piece explores a true story and an important and difficult subject in a refreshing, insightful and humorous way. This project includes the 2016 national tour and supporting workshops for patient groups and schools groups to investigate how biomedical advancements and research are supporting cancer patients and inspiring ‘hope’.

Awarded October 2015

Mr Iain Barr
University of York
Science is for Parents Too: Making a National Impact
£39,310

‘Science is for Parents Too’ has engaged parents with the Key Stage 2 and 3 curricula in recent years, and this final addition to the initiative offers an insight into the newly-revised science GCSE. Seeking to cascade learning through the family unit and make science education a topic for everyday dinner table conversation, the project aims to inform parents of the wide array of study and career options which are open to all and in the process develop children’s aspirations. The initiative also aims for portability, and this project is intended to lay the foundation for wider national roll-out.

Ms Nicola Gibson
Stillbirth Stories – Oral History Archive Project
£39,991

‘Stillbirth Stories’ is an online, oral history archive documenting the experience of stillbirth from the perspective of parents and clinicians. Their personal and professional testimonies, accessible to all, will create a unique online resource for those directly affected by the experience of stillbirth. The archive will also work as a platform for professional learning, support and dialogue around the subject. The opportunity to listen and share in real stories – people talking about their experiences in their own words – will engage the public with this hidden pregnancy outcome in a way that statistics and facts cannot.

Dr Miranda Wolpert
Anna Freud Centre
Talking Mental Health (working title)
£39,364

‘Talking Mental Health’ is a creative, collaborative project which invites children and young people to co-produce an accessible and engaging 6-minute animation for 9-11 year olds on how to talk about mental health, and produce a series of support materials for key stage 2 teachers (e.g. lesson plans) and ‘leave behind’ products for children and parents’.

There are few resources to support young children to communicate with others if they are facing mental health issues. This animation will draw on and share the experiences of a range of young people to help other children understand that they are not alone, to help them make informed decisions about whether to talk to someone and to decide who to talk to, and what to expect from others.

Prof Lois Weaver
YouTube Channel for Elders (working title)
£40,000

Artists Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw use creativity to help elder participants develop agency in a rapidly growing and increasingly invisible demographic. Weaver and Shaw engage the public to redefine narratives about ageing in positive ways. As senior artists themselves, they have created a YouTube Channel and online community where elders are central to all processes. Working with gerontologist Dr Ali Mears, they have created spaces where the public can learn about issues affecting the older generation including health, lifestyle and top tips for survival as an elder person in the twenty first century.

Ms Kate Kennedy
Orleans House Gallery
From the Outside In
£35,578

‘From the Outside In’ is an interdisciplinary collaboration between artists and scientists working together to devise and facilitate a series of workshops for members of Octagon Club and Transitions Art Group – Orleans House Gallery’s evening art clubs for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and special educational needs. Projects engage participants with biomedical science through hands-on creative activities emphasising a reflective understanding of how biomedical science impacts participants’ own lives, lived experience and wider environment. Workshops are led by artists Morgan Sinton-Hewitt, Anna Dumitriu, Elizabeth Murton and Heather Barnett and science communicator Dr Sarah Bearchell.

Mr Andy Glynne
Mosaic Films
Shattered Minds: Our Traumatic Wars
£37,500

‘Shattered Minds’ is comprised of a series of richly evocative animated documentary films containing first-person testimony from both world wars, as well as experiences from Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. The testimony of each individual is brought to life using innovative animation, providing a unique and powerful visual perspective on the internal and external struggles that characterise trauma. Using a wealth of source materials, including letters, diaries and oral interviews, the films look at the causes of trauma, how treatments have changed over time, and journeys to recovery.

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