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International Engagement Awards

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What are the Awards?

The Wellcome Trust International Engagement Awards provide funding for innovative public or community engagement projects that explore biomedical research or health in Africa and Asia.

We believe that understanding the social, political and historical contexts of biomedical science helps to deliver its full potential for health improvement and builds a society in which both research and the next generation of scientists can flourish.

The public engagement activities we fund bridge the gap between the research community and the general public, and provide channels for these groups to understand one another. Engagement should encourage a critical awareness of the personal, ethical and cultural impacts of health research and should stimulate an insightful sharing of views that has benefits for all involved.

The value of the projects we fund does not lie in public education but in true public engagement, which is why our International Engagement Awards do not support health promotion or basic health information provision, but projects that involve the community and facilitate discussion. Competitive projects could come in many forms, such as community-led digital storytelling, collaborative theatre projects or café-style debates. Our aim is to ensure science can be enjoyed and experienced as part of culture, entertainment and everyday life.

International Engagement Previous Awards

Visit our case studies.

How do I apply?

International Engagement Awards provide grants of up to £30,000 for up to three years.

Projects should:

  • stimulate dialogue about biomedical research and health and its impact on the public
  • promote innovative partnerships between community organisations, the cultural sector, and scientists/researchers
  • strengthen capacity to conduct future public or community engagement with biomedical research and health.

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

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

We encourage partnerships in all projects and suggest that scientist-led projects be planned in collaboration with partners in civil society or the creative industries.

Projects must either be led by, or in collaboration with, biomedical scientists or health researchers.

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 marked with an asterisk on our LMIC country eligibility page.

To apply, you must first submit an expression of interest for the International Engagement Awards and email it to us. If your project is suitable for the scheme, we will ask you to complete a full application form.

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.

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:

Pascale Adukwei Allotey
Monash University, Malaysia
SEACO Citizen Science Reporters (CSRs)

The South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) is a longitudinal demographic and health surveillance site that has recruited 40,000 ethnically Malay, Chinese and Indian people in 5 sub-districts in Segamat, Johor, Malaysia. SEACO’s Citizen Science Reporters project will train members of the general public from all age groups as citizen journalists to enable them to report news and current events from around Malaysia, through professionally edited video footage filmed using smart phones. The content will focus on a range of age-appropriate population science topics with citizen reporters compiling human interest stories about population health issues within their communities. The work aims to help identify new population health priority areas from the community’s perspective and to report on the community’s perceptions of their involvement in research.

Claire Penn
University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Blood Sugars

Blood sugars is a collaboration between the University of Witwatersrand’s Health Communication Research Unit and Drama for Life (DfL) project which will focus on type 1 and 2 diabetes in an urban South African context. They plan to use a variety of drama techniques to work with existing patients, at-risk groups, healthcare professionals and researchers to create a healthier, more nuanced and better-informed dialogue around physiology, treatments and cultural context of diabetes. The project will revolve around a three-year drama residency at Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, led by DfL, using Community Capacity Enhancement techniques. A new performance derived from the residency will travel to clinic, public and educational settings and a film of the project will further dissemination of the approach and the findings.

Mary Chambers
Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Nepal
Mountain Views

Mountain Views is a community-based participatory research project which aims to explore the perceptions, priorities and motivations of pilgrims and other stakeholders involved with pilgrimages at high altitude in Nepal. This project, based on a collaboration between the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Nepal and a local participatory filmmaker, will seek to engage this under-served group with a research process and its findings, as well as informing medical research with the social and cultural context relating to altitude sickness. The project will allow personal stories to be told through photo-diaries and interviews, and community discussions facilitated to raise awareness amongst key stakeholders. The resulting films and photos will be used to facilitate discussions with the wider community and enable community and religious opinion leaders and medical staff to propose appropriate means of communicating with future pilgrim communities and improving health outcomes.

Hilary Kromberg Inglis
Science Spaza, South Africa
Hip Hop Health: Research, Rhyme and Rhythm for Healthy Communities

Hip Hop Health: Research, Rhyme and Rhythm is a collaboration between members of Science Spaza science clubs, popular music artists and health researchers which seeks to address the health challenges around water-related diseases that are facing South African communities. The project will engage young people aged 16 to 20 years old in low-resource contexts in uMgungundlovu District Municipality through activity-based learning. The ultimate aim is to enable the young participants to describe and understand the science problems (research), let them refine their solutions into accessible messages (rhyme) and then allow them to reach out to the wider community with the rhythm of their souls. Hip Hop Health and Science Spaza will aim to give young people the tools to transform their lives.

Naftaly Wang'ombe Githaka
International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
Catalyzing the uptake and application of research by rural farmers in Kenya

This pilot project, developed by the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi in partnership with Kenyatta University and the local farming community in Laikipia County, aims to build capacity of farmers to access, interpret and incorporate research information related to zoonotic diseases into their everyday lives. Small-scale farmers dominate rural agriculture in Kenya, providing livelihoods and employment to more than 70% of the population. Human and animal infectious diseases remain a huge burden to these rural communities despite existence of effective diagnostics, vaccines and evidence about farming best practice. The project will engage rural farmers through participatory informal public meetings referred to as ‘chama’ where an existing network will be used to determine the best way to continue engagement with the issues in the future.

Case studies and information on all our previous funding.

Deadlines and contacts

During 2015 we are launching a new grants system that will replace eGrants, our former electronic application

Please note: the expressions of interest for this scheme should still be sent in by email but invited full applications will be submitted using the new system.

We have therefore moved the latest date for sending an expression of interest for the upcoming round to 21st August 2015. However, please send your expression as early as possible in advance of this date to allow yourself time to complete an electronic application on the new system.

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
E PEgrants@wellcome.ac.uk

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