People Awards and Society Awards
What are People Awards and Society Awards?
People Awards and Society Awards support projects that enable the public to explore biomedical science, its impact on society and culture, its historical roots and the ethical questions that it raises.
The 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 the Wellcome collection at the Science Museum.
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, or projects that do not deal with biomedical sciences or the history of medicine.
You can apply for funding at two levels:
People Awards (up to and including £30 000)
People Awards are for innovative and creative projects in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland 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 £30 000)
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 Society Awards scheme has two deadlines a year: one is an open call and the other is a themed call.
Society Awards are open to games projects that are partnered with a scientist or science institution and have public engagement with science as their core objective. Large broadcast media projects, including mass-market games projects that focus on entertainment rather than education, are not eligible for Society Awards. Such projects may be considered for Co-Production Awards (Broadcast, Gaming and Film) as part of our broadcast media strategy. Smaller broadcast media projects are eligible for People Awards for production, outreach and dissemination costs or Development Awards (Broadcast, Gaming and Film) for development costs).
How do I apply?
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 £30 000)
Complete a full application form, via the Trust's eGrants online application system (select the 'People Awards' form in the 'Full application' drop-down menu), and submit it at any time before the published deadline.
Please note that organisations need to be registered on eGrants before an affiliated application can be submitted. This is done by contacting the Trust; for full information, see the 'About' page on eGrants.
All eligible projects will be peer-reviewed and assessed individually on merit and need by a funding committee.
Society Awards (above £30 000)
You must complete and submit a preliminary application form [Word] by the published deadline. Please refer to the application guidelines [PDF], Grant Conditions and evaluation guidelines [Word] before completing this form and emailing it (as a Word document) to email@example.com.
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.
What projects have been funded?
We have recently funded the following projects:
Awarded January 2013
Edinburgh International Science Festival
Edinburgh International Science Festival will adapt six of its life science workshops to be suitable for adults and then become a centrepiece to a Science Festival Late. It will also devise a suite of busks based around life sciences that will be performed on the streets of Edinburgh and at a range of cultural festivals across Scotland.
University College London
Retina patient days - engaging patients with gene and cell therapy research
This project puts patients and the public at the heart of UCL's programme of research into gene and cell therapies for sight loss, which includes the world's first gene therapy trial for inherited blindness (Leber congenital amaurosis caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene) and Europe's first safety trial of retinal stem cell transplantation for macular degeneration (Stargardt disease). This ambitious series of participatory events will engage patients and the public with research through presentations, interdisciplinary science and design workshops as well as face-to-face meetings with scientific researchers. All participants and advisers will help to shape future research.
'Sick!' is an ambitious, international, cross-art form festival that seeks out new ways of talking about and dealing with the experience of sickness of all kinds: physical, mental, ethical and spiritual. The diverse and accessible programme of performance, dance, film and digital art will be framed by presentations from leading medical practitioners and academics. It will include a series of debates bringing together artists, health professionals and people for whom sickness is an urgent, present reality. 'Sick!' will invite audiences and participants to reconsider illness humanely, critically and with an irreverent humour.
Children's Radio UK Ltd
Professor Hallux… In Time
'Professor Hallux… In Time' will help demystify medicine, its history and scientific development through a live stage show where children will be able to get hands-on with medicine. They will also contribute speech content for a new interactive learning tool, and pose questions for a new series of Hallux radio adventures. Working collaboratively, Fun Kids and Chickenshed Theatre will bring the subjects to life by developing characters and material suitable for a live theatre and radio audience. The overriding artistic approach is to demystify what is often perceived as a scary subject and difficult to understand.
Darlow Smithson Productions
Nicola Wilding - Elective Amputee
Thirteen years ago, Nicola Wilding lost the use of her right arm in a horrific car accident. This year, she'll be fitted with the world's most advanced bionic limb, but first she must have her own arm amputated - 'My New Arm' tells her story. From first consultation, through explorative surgery, to final amputation, prosthetic fitting and training, this intimate documentary portrait of a woman undergoing unique body transformation tracks an emotional journey like no other. Ground-breaking science and an incredible personal story intertwine to explore issues of disability, revolutionary medicine and the dramatic impacts of body-changing technologies.
Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
500 Years of Plants, People and Medicine in Edinburgh
'500 Years of Plants, People and Medicine in Edinburgh' will use the facility of a historic 18th-century botanic cottage, which is due to be rebuilt at RBGE, to enthuse people about the history and close connections between medicine and science in Scotland over the past 500 years. The project will develop a range of communication vehicles, including: a film depicting the role of science and medicine during the Enlightenment; a heritage trail around Edinburgh linking significant sites in the story of medicine, gardens and plants; and innovative interpretative displays.
University of Glasgow
Building Superheroes: The Science of Superpowers
'Building Superheroes: The Science of Superpowers' is a live experiment show drawing from the latest research in life sciences and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. Bringing together academics and students from across the sciences, the project will produce a show and discussion session, targeting over 10 000 school pupils in the west of Scotland from disadvantaged backgrounds, where take-up of STEM subjects is low. This project is a collaboration between the Schools of Life Science, Engineering and Chemistry at University of Glasgow and science communication consultancy Time-Tastical Productions.
Awarded October 2012
The Archaeology of Medicine Roadshow
The Archaeology of Medicine Roadshow explores the history and archaeology of medicine and medical practices in Britain from 43 CE to 1066 through interactive educational experience for Key Stage 3 pupils in 15 schools across Cheshire and Merseyside. The project has been developed in partnership with educational experts, archaeologists and osteoarchaeologists in order to explore the historical impact of biomedical science, considering ideas and attitudes towards health, medicine and the human body in Roman and Anglo-Saxon society.
Arts Catalyst has invited MadLab, a community space for the grassroots arts, technical and scientific communities in Manchester, to do a two-week residency. For their residency, MadLab will focus on their cutting-edge work in the emerging field of 'DIYBio' and transform Arts Catalyst's large warehouse space into a 'Lab Easy', offering participants low-fi DIY alternatives to standard lab protocols through a series of open labs. In addition, one Lab Easy workshop will be an off-site market pitch, offering local residents hand-on demonstrations in DNA barcoding various food produce.
International Centre for Life
UK Maker Faire Biomedical Maker Zone
Generations of amateurs have participated in electronics, rocketry, astronomy, engineering and other disciplines. Until recently, working with biomedical science and technology has not been an amateur pursuit. Now, as knowledge spreads and digital technologies expand what is possible, a new breed of amateurs working in this area is beginning to appear, demystifying research that used to be restricted to labs. This project will pilot a biomedical science and technology zone at the 2013 Faire with a view to having larger biomedical zones for future UK Maker Faires. The zone will include five stands for international groups of biomedical Makers, an interactive art installation, and a mass participation community project.
Prof Judith Glynn
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Cartographies of Life and Death: John Snow and disease mapping
'Cartographies of Life and Death' is an exhibition planned to mark the bicentenary of John Snow's birth. The exhibition will be held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and will explore the significance of Snow's work, the field of disease mapping and its implications for society today in terms of public health. The exhibition will display historical objects alongside existing and newly commissioned contemporary artworks. The contemporary component will draw both on historical sources and current epidemiological research and enhance today's relevance of Snow's findings and methods. This will include off-site participatory events that will draw in a wider audience.
Théâtre Sans Frontières
Louis Pasteur and the Devastating Germs
'Louis Pasteur and the Devastating Germs' is a participatory workshop day for 12-to-14-year-olds from North East England and Glasgow, based on the life and work of 19th-century French scientist Louis Pasteur. Students will engage in science and arts activities, some of which will be led in French, to explore Pasteur's life and legacy. They will meet Pasteur and British scientist Joseph Lister 'in person' and interact with them through a series of drama activities and discussion opportunities. They will make scientific observations and carry out microbiological experiments, reporting on these in French to reflect the communication challenges involved in international scientific collaboration. The students will create their own drama scenes to reflect key moments from Pasteur's life. On return to school, the students will participate in follow-up activities with broad curriculum links.
Angels and Ghosts
'Angels and Ghosts' is a cross-platform project centred around a short animated film with a website, exhibition, social media and a series of panel discussions to accompany it. The project aims to explore the biomedical questions raised by individuals who have a family member affected by schizophrenia. The story is based on the real experiences of one girl who has two brothers both of whom have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. The aim is to use the popular Hollywood narrative of good over evil, coupled with a well-known actress playing the main protagonist, in order to bring a general audience to the story.
The AXNS Collective (Art X Neuroscience) will mount an exhibition and seminar series in Oxford to highlight the influence of neurological conditions on art. The exhibition, 'Affecting Perception', will display art influenced by neurological change and will be accompanied by a series of discussion events on neuroscience and 'neurological art', and workshops in Oxford schools to explore themes around neurology and neuroscience.
2012 open call
Michael John Gorman
Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin
'LIVING MACHINES' will be a flagship exhibition, event and workshop programme at Science Gallery from October 2013 to January 2014, tackling the provocative questions surrounding the research implications of synthetic biology. Including a curatorial team from Imperial College London and Royal College of Art, London, 'LIVING MACHINES' will explore broad themes such as living versus non-living, human versus nature, design versus evolution. Taking a focus on works that will bring visitors into dialogue with the complex boundaries between life and non-life explored in synthetic biology, 'LIVING MACHINES' will tackle both extremes of hype surrounding synthetic biology from the threat of world-ending disaster on one end and the promise of solving all the world's ills on the other. 'LIVING MACHINES' will leave audiences with a nuanced and thoughtful assessment of the discipline of synthetic biology.
Imperial College London
Surgery, Society and Simulation
Surgery can affect anyone at any time, yet to most people it remains a closed - and often scary - world. This highly unusual project uses realistic simulation to bring the worlds of surgery and surgical science to diverse audiences at the Cheltenham, Big Bang and Green Man Festivals over two years. Visitors will see real surgeons operate, watch arts performances inspired by surgery, and participate in discussions with leading experts. The project sets out to fascinate, unsettle and captivate all at once, challenging conceptions of surgery and exploring what it means to operate and be operated on.
Guerilla Science 2013-2015
For five years Guerilla Science has strived to bring the world's discoveries out of cloistered laboratories and stuffy classrooms and into the realm of boisterous celebration: muddy music festivals, noisy warehouses and raucous explosions, always with the conviction that scientific insights belong to everyone and should be enjoyed by everyone. This award enables Guerilla Science to continue operating from 2013 to 2015 at the country's edgiest music festivals, experiment with daring new methods, bring science to new audiences nationwide, and evolve into an organisation that will still be going strong five years from now.
2011 open call
London Arts in Health Forum
Pop-up: The science of sedentary behaviour
This project aims to communicate the science behind sedentary behaviour by surprising, engaging and challenging the public. Using the principle of learning by doing, and by taking science out to public spaces, it will offer fun and memorable ways of explaining what is happening to our bodies, our diets and our society. A 'pop-up' installation will tour and be presented in shopping centres. This will provide an interactive way of engaging the public with current scientific thinking on human physiology, energy expenditure and metabolic disease. It will be linked to an online campaign using film and animation. The science will be communicated using social media designed to appeal to a wide audience - especially young adults. Scheduled for during the Olympics, the project will open up understanding of genetics, nutrition, metabolism and disease mechanisms, and how these are affected by movement and our interaction with the physical environment. It will develop a legacy of engagement online and in the memory.
Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury, Kent
Authentic Biology: Student-led research and discovery in schools
Authentic Biology is a series of scientific research projects, led by sixth-form students in five schools. Each school draws on expertise from researchers at local university departments to carry out research into a medical condition of particular interest. Following a successful pilot, funded through a People Award, this series will expand the potential of projects like the Myelin Basic Protein Project to embed research skills in the biology experience of the students and develop the professional learning of teachers and technicians in each of the participating schools. Authentic Biology will involve schools in Winchester, Bristol, Sheffield and London as well as the Langton in Canterbury. The vision is to remodel biology education, to make it stimulating for students whileproviding valuable experience for university thinking and teaching and also offering valuable continuing professional development opportunities for teachers.
Gallomanor Communications Ltd
I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!
'I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!' is a successful online science engagement event where school students can ask scientists whatever they like. They challenge the scientists by asking questions that adults either wouldn't think of or would shy away from asking. Scientists are forced to think again about their research and the way they talk about it. Funding will help to make 'I'm a Scientist' an established event with a broad base of funding, allowing a doubling of the number of scientists, schools and students taking part each year, doubling the number of zones within three years. The will help to provide scientists with more advice and training, help teachers connect with scientists, facilitate more interactions outside the event between schools and scientists. Other aims are to provide more feedback and evaluation for scientists and funders, to show scientists how winners adapt their language to the audience, and how students' attitudes change when exposed to scientists.
Society Awards - 2011 themed call: How Do You Know?
The Nuffield Foundation
Nuffield Science Bursaries for Schools and Colleges
The Nuffield Science Bursaries Programme gives students from all backgrounds a chance to work alongside practising scientists and engineers, contributing to research or development projects in universities, industry, field centres and research institutions. The scheme is open to anyone in a school or college who is halfway through an advanced-level science programme, which may be academic or vocational. Projects last from four to six weeks and are carried out during the summer holidays. Unlike work experience schemes, the students carry out well-defined projects which have a clear scientific or technological purpose, contribute to the work of the host organisation and allow scope for initiative.
Dr Kevin O'Dell
University of Glasgow
Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies: Public Engagement Project
Building on the successful spoof lecture Zombie Science 1Z, Time-Tastical Productions and the University of Glasgow are developing three new shows targeted at young adults using comedy to explain complex concepts in genetics and medical research. In Zombie Science 1G: Gene Therapy, Dr Austin investigates how state-of-the-art genetic technologies can be used to treat and cure zombieism. In Zombie Science 1R: Risk Factor, he enters the world of personalised medicine to discover who's really at risk of a zombie infection. Then, in Zombie Science 1W: Worst Case Scenario, you are the scientists helping Dr Austin save the world.
Deadlines and contacts
There are four deadlines per year for People Awards; upcoming deadlines are:
- 26 April 2013 (17.00)
- 26 July 2013 (17.00)
- 25 October 2013 (17.00)
Funding decisions will be made approximately three months after the relevant deadline; we will tell you the result shortly afterwards.
There are two deadlines per year for Society Awards:
- the next preliminary application deadline for the open call is 28 March 2013 (17.00)
- the autumn preliminary application deadline will be announced in due course.
We will make shortlisting decisions for preliminary applications approximately two months after the relevant deadline; we will tell you the result shortly afterwards.
You can contact us at:
People /Society Awards
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK