On Monday, 19 September 2016 I was down in London at the Wellcome Trust’s peer reviewer induction event for their Provision for Public Engagement scheme. I found out some interesting things about the scheme that I thought would be worthwhile sharing with the partnership.
While applying for the majority of the Wellcome Trust’s research funding schemes, principal investigators also have the opportunity to apply for PPE (Provision for Public Engagement) funds on the same application form. Applicants can outline their plans to ensure their researchers can participate in public engagement activities and training relevant to the research work being undertaken by providing 850 words outline of their intentions. With such a limited word count the main focus of the application should be on who they intend to engage and why rather than the details of how it will be carried. Details of the scope of the funding and application tips are here: https://wellcome.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Guidance-Provision-PublicEngagement.pdf.
Currently only about 10% of applications have included requests for PPE funding and the Wellcome Trust public engagement team are encouraging more to apply. The PPE component is peer reviewed, judged and funded separately to the research work. Typically funding has be in the order of 5% of the research funding awarded, but there have been awards of up to 18% for appropriate activities. Funding amounts have ranged from £500 to £435,000.
Wellcome Trust researchers who already hold a grant that has more than 2 years left to run are eligible to apply for PPE funding in a separate process. The same criteria apply.
On occasion, when the research has been judged as excellent and funded, the PPE programme has been rejected. The researchers were then encouraged to modify their plans and apply again at a later stage for PPE funding through the separate process. Ten common pitfalls to avoid in applications are helpfully outlined here: https://wellcome.ac.uk/sites/default/files/PPE_common_pitfalls_final_25Jul2016.pdf
You can see the full list of Wellcome Trust’s funding schemes that are eligible for PPE awards here: https://wellcome.ac.uk/funding/public-engagement-funding-within-research-grants
While we were there, the peer reviewers were also some consulted about the revamp of the Wellcome Trust’s other public engagement funding schemes due to be announced later this year.
Heather Rea 20/9/2016