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Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF): Public engagement funding scheme calls


Status: Open, deadline 27 March 2020 at 23:59

University of Manchester Wellcome ISSF Public Engagement Funding Schemes - Information for Applicants

This scheme is to support and encourage staff and postgraduate students to share, inspire and involve the public with our work in line with our Public Engagement Strategy, which is a part of our wider Social Responsibility strategic goal. 

If you have a great idea to engage the public in activities that connect with the broad areas of health or biomedical research you can apply for funding to deliver your project. Funding is also available to develop your public engagement skills and your career development in this field. 

There are three grant schemes which are open to academic staff, post-docs, PS staff and postgraduate students (PhD and PGT) from every faculty. We strongly support cross-faculty and interdisciplinary working.  

  • Emerging Engagement: if you are new to public engagement – you can apply for up to £500
  • Established Engagement: if you already have experience of public engagement - you can apply for up to £3000 (match funding required)
  • Professional Development: if you want to develop your skills in public engagement - you can apply for up to £2000 

The purpose of this funding is to facilitate imaginative, high quality and inclusive public engagement which reaches new and diverse audiences.  

  • For example; communicating research or research findings through creative activities, combining arts and sciences, co-creating new digital content with target audiences, exhibitions, events and partnerships. What content and methods will really engage your audience?
  • Target audiences can include community groups, patients, parents, children, families, young adults and young people (not for widening participation purposes), on-line communities, under-represented / under-served groups, healthcare professionals, carers etc. Think about how audiences can benefit from your activity, how you can tailor your proposal to their needs and what the legacy might be.
  • Skills development can include a public engagement course, bespoke opportunities to learn from other public engagement professionals or organisations. Attendance at a public engagement skill sharing or practice-based conferences or events. Please be aware that development opportunities will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you are interested in applying

Talk to us! We strongly encourage you to get in touch with us at an early stage for guidance and advice to strengthen your application

Get inspired by previous ISSF public engagement fund case studies (scroll down to the 'Engaging the Public' section), Our Engagement Stories from University of Manchester and visit Wellcome for examples of public engagement. You can find a list of projects awarded previously here.

To apply

Deadline: 27 March 2020 at 23:59 
Send to:

Please use the table below to identify the right grant for you and read the FAQs  document before applying.

Please complete the online monitoring form and relevant application form observing the stated word limits. Please use font Arial 10 pt. and submit your application as a Word document. Please note applications that don’t adhere to this format will not be reviewed. 


Public Engagement grants  



Emerging Engagement up to £500


Established Engagement up to £3000 


Professional development up to £2000


Apply for this if…


You’re starting out in public engagement or if you want to work with a group or audience to pilot ideas for larger projects  You’re already experienced in public engagement and you have matched funding for the full amount you are applying for or have a viable plan to secure match funding  You already have a public engagement dimension to your research or your role and you want to develop professionally

What you need to demonstrate in your application







  • A connection with health or biomedical research
  • A defined target audience and rationale
  • An imaginative approach
  • An appreciation of diversity & inclusion
  • The outcomes you aim to achieve
  • A delivery plan
  • Budget
  • Evaluation plan




  • A connection with health or biomedical research
  • A defined target audience & rationale
  • An imaginative approach
  • Appreciation of diversity & inclusion
  • The outcomes you aim to achieve
  • An ambition to deliver engage the target audience and raise broader public awareness
  • A delivery plan
  • Budget
  • Match funding to the same amount that you are applying for /or a clear plan to secure funds
  • Evaluation plan
  • Sustainability of the project and legacy
  • The outcomes you aim to achieve through this development
  • Details of the activity and how you will apply the learning in your research or career
  • Timescales
  • Budget
  • Evaluation plan
  • Legacy and how you will share your learning with other staff within the University

What we can’t fund



Activities that focus on recruiting people to participate in research
Consultation with patients or public in order to develop research proposals or design studies
Activities that focus on engaging schoolchildren/young people through University Open Days or visits
Activities that focus on the Widening Participation agenda

Attendance at academic conferences, presenting papers or research to academic audiences 



Requirements for awardees who receive funding



To spend funds within one year of the award
To acknowledge ISSF and Wellcome funding as part of activities and in any publications
To write a blog post about your experience and the outcome of your public engagement activity for University’s ISSF webpages and other relevant channels
To participate in the scheme’s monitoring and evaluation process