The biomedical funder said on 6 June that it decided to close the scheme after a review by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research, which found that applications to the fund lacked alignment with the trust’s public engagement strategy. As a result, Wellcome could only award funding to just 5 per cent of the applications it received.
Created in 2016, the Public Engagement Fund is a response-mode open funding scheme that supports projects aimed at engaging the public with health research with grants ranged between £25,000 and £251,000.
The charity said the closure of the scheme does not mean it is less committed to funding public engagement work. Instead of an open fund, Wellcome said it will target money towards specific partnerships. This autumn, the funder will announce new partners that will design and lead funding schemes on public engagement.
The final deadline to apply for the Public Engagement Fund is 9 July