Anyone working in public engagement with research will have been aware that Wellcome’s public engagement strategy was under review. Over the last year they have been testing new ways of funding and partnerships and taking on board lots of support, opinions and challenge from existing partners as well as from some critical friends who they haven’t worked with before. Their head of Public Engagement, Imran Khan, has now published a blog outlining their new direction of travel.
Titled ‘Wellcome’s approach to engaging the public is going to change’, the blog lays out the new direction of travel. Of particular note is a steer towards a more outcomes focused approach, with three broad types of outcomes spelt out:
- First, we want people to be empowered, so that more people can access, use, respond to and create health research and innovation.
- Second, we want to see more people-centred health research, which means better understanding people’s experiences of science and health so that Wellcome and our partners can make better decisions
- Third, we want society to value Wellcome’s work, so we need to ensure the research and innovation we fund is trustworthy and valued by people, whether or not we work with them
Wellcome remains committed to funding important work in public engagement, including work that’s led by researchers. The next few months will see some interesting developments as they re-shape their team and programmes. One exciting development is their recruitment of a new research and evidence lead, who will head up a new team dedicated to harvesting evidence on how to better involve the public in their work, build robust and actionable evidence on public impact, measure success, and design new activities to help understand and use the public’s expertise and perspectives.