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Public Engagement

Find Funding for Public Engagement Projects this Spring: Funding Round-up


Written by Daniel Taylor, Assistant Public Engagement Officer at the Centre for Public Engagement, Queen Mary University of London.

This April there's a wide range of national funding opportunities for public engagement projects across all subjects and disciplines. In this blog round up I'm going to give a range of those out there, especially those which open or close this month. 

The rounds offer funding for your own projects to involve the public, or to be involved in existing national programmes. All of the funding rounds are open until the last week of April or later, with some continuous rounds, so you've still got at least a month to apply for any of them. 

There are a number of straight funding rounds open this month, including the more specialist Biochemical Society and Royal College of Pathologists grants. Both of these offer up to £1,000 to support events and activities that raise public awareness of, and engagement with, their particular subjects.

The Royal Society of Chemistry are accepting applications for three funding tiers this month, from a similar amount of up to £2,000 in their small grants, gradually increasing through medium and large award categories to eventually reach a maximum of £25,000. These are designed to give financial support to individuals and organisations to enable them to run chemistry-based events and activities for public audiences.

A continuous fund that is worth exploring is the Heritage Lottery Fund, which offers grant programmes related to a wide range of projects that bring people together around a shared heritage, to document and explore these together. This includes a programme particularly shaped around World War One, related to the current Centenary. The funding available varies immensely across grants, from the thousands to hundreds of thousands, so have a look on their website for the full descriptions.

Although it's named small awards, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) are offering up to £10,000, not necessarily a small amount for many projects, to smaller, local or 'pilot' projects promoting STFC science and technology priority areas. The deadline is at the end of this month on Thursday 28th April.

The Foyle Foundation offers a flexible funding round to support arts, museum, archive or special collection projects which meet a clear public benefit. This means projects should be easily accessible to the public, enabling general use and open the majority of the time. The round doesn't have a set funding limit or deadline, however it does come with the condition that the host university is expected to be already contributing to the project in financial terms.

My final straight funds pointers are to Wellcome Trust funding rounds. The 2016 deadlines for the Wellcome Trust People and Society Funding Award Schemes.are all available to view online, offering up to and above £40,000 for projects that encourage the public to explore biomedical science, its impact on society and culture, its historical roots or the ethical questions that it raises. 

The Wellcome Trust Small Arts Awards offer up to £40,000 to support artistic work that critically engages artists and audiences with biomedical science, covering all art forms to encourage creative collaborations between art and science. 

The Wellcome Trust's rounds are very popular and your university is likely to have experience of applying for these through other projects and initiatives, so it can be worth talking to your Public Engagement team if you have one, or relevant departments, before you start your application.

Specific Funding Rounds

These funding streams offer grants for specific activity, so while they might not have the flexibility of the grants already mentioned, if you're interested in the grant's scope then they offer a valuable means of funding activity.

The Leverhulme Trust's Artist in Residence Grants provide up to £15,000 to support artist-in-residency programmes to foster creative collaboration with a university department and an artist who specialises in a discipline outside the department's usual curriculum. The grants provide a stipend of up to £12,500 for the artist and consumable costs, such as artist’s materials, of up to £2,500.

This year between 5-12 November will see the ESRC Festival of Social Science take place across the country. This programme of events and activities aims to provide the public with an insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. You can apply now for up to £1,000 to assist with events put on as part of the festival programme.

I hope that this brief round-up has been helpful to you, I can't know all of the funding streams that are out there and if you do know any others please comment below so that others can apply and take part in those.

If you're interested in keeping up with funding sources then you can favourite our regular funding opportunities page, as well as the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement and the useful Manchester Metropolitan University Research and Knowledge Exchange Blog.

Written by Daniel Taylor
Assistant Public Engagement Officer
Centre for Public Engagement



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