Wellcome - Public Engagement Fund

Wellcome is a global charitable foundation, that is focusing on health and support of scientists and researchers. One of the way they are helping is by various grants. One of them is Public Engagement Fund.


Public Engagement Fund This fund enables individuals and organisations to use creative approaches in engaging the public with health research.

Applications deadline: 11 September 2018, 17:00 BST

Where your project will take place: UK, Republic of Ireland, Low- and middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia and Pacific Level of funding: £25,000 to £3 million Duration of funding: Up to 3 years

Who can apply The Public Engagement Fund is open to individuals and organisations (commercial and not-for-profit). Your project must focus on health, although this doesn’t need to be your organisation’s main focus or core activity. You can be working in the arts, culture, entertainment media, heritage, leisure, education, research, informal learning, social enterprise, non-profit and community sectors, or other fields.

What we’re looking for We’re looking for creative approaches to engage the public. Your project needs to support our public engagement goals, so it should do at least one of the following: empower people by helping them to access, use, respond to, and/or participate in health research and innovation; improve health research by making it more people-centred, to better understand people’s experiences and draw on that knowledge; help people to value and think critically about science, health research, innovation and the role these play in society.

Although this grant isn’t focusing on health research itself that much (there are other grants from Wellcome that are more useful for this, we can apply for them next year), I think we could try apply for it. The most important right now would be idea (my proposition is to do brainstorm on this topic till the end of this week) and maybe finding the partners from low and middle income countries.

Project for this grant could go into many interesting directions: strengthening the community around OpenMRS in many creative ways (I could see SolDevelo Social Impact Foundation creating some educational materials, maybe helping promote participating in open-source projects, etc.) or doing pure IT project for OpenMRS, centered around people (I’ve read article about giving power to the patients about their data, maybe this will inspire someone? - http://www.openhealthnews.com/story/2018-08-07/eaten-alive-patients’-perspective-de-identification-personal-health-information ).

I’m waiting for your comments and suggestions.


Do you happen to know any individuals or organisations that have got this grant, for us to get examples of the kind of projects they are looking for?

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Here is the site with the projects that were founded earlier:


Most of them are various cultural programs aimed at education about various health issues, like documentaries, VR games, theater shows, festivals etc. There are also some research projects with focus on the interactions with patients.

Here are some examples:

Improving the engagement of pregnant/early postnatal women in research We will pilot new approaches devised by university-based researchers and patient and public involvement advisers to engage pregnant or early postnatal women in research. Participants will help researchers translate their findings into a format suitable for a range of audiences. This will involve local researchers speaking to women about the latest maternity research and opportunities to get involved. As an extra benefit, information provided during these sessions may be useful to women during their pregnancy or after they have given birth.

Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation Bucket Loads of Health A drought in Cape Town has led to restrictions on water usage and residents are experimenting with different water-saving methods, including harvesting rainwater and recycling grey water for household use. We will respond to the multiple health risks that are associated with these approaches to reusing water using a series of audio-visual workshops where participants can explore their experiences of water shortage and water saving. The workshop will enable co-learning between water scientists, government representatives and community members, allowing the exchange of knowledge about how water-saving efforts can compromise health and encouraging people to think of ways to make these measures safer. This work will emphasise the importance of public engagement in making scientific research more accessible and relevant to communities and policy makers. It will also enable policy makers to draft guidelines underlining the health-related aspects of water saving and reuse of water in different contexts.

Liverpool Mental Health Consortium Lunatic Fringe For more than 20 years, we have worked successfully to ensure that people who experience mental distress can contribute to service commissioning to influence local mental health strategy through peer-led, community-based research. Changes in funding priorities for NHS England and local commissioners mean it is no longer possible to use this route to ensure that service users’ voices make a genuine difference to service design and delivery. We will develop a Living Lab by building on extensive experience and contacts with arts organisations and researchers at The University of Liverpool. This hub will support peer-led research and public engagement about mental distress and community wellbeing, in collaboration with established university-based research groups.

How this apply for OpenMRS? I think we could work on some kind of program promoting working on open-source health projects - hackathons, webinars, various multimedia content, etc. There are a lot of different ways to approach this.

On the other hand, one of the things they are looking for is:

improve health research by making it more people-centred, to better understand people’s experiences and draw on that knowledge

Maybe thanks to this (and their emphasis on innovative approach), there is possibility for IT project about patient data - I would like to hear your opinion and ideas about this.

I’ve talked with @terry @hamish and @darius and we’ve decided to not pursue this - this grant is not fitting into OpenMRS project and it would be better to wait for other grants from Wellcome, that are more related to us, like for the example, research ones.