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Wellcome Trust awards three new Engagement Fellowships


The Wellcome Trust has announced three recipients for this year’s Engagement Fellowships: Lavinia Greenlaw, Alasdair Hopwood, and Greg Foot.

The fellowships, now in their third year, were developed to enable existing practitioners to make significant advances in their careers in scientific communication and engagement with the public. This year’s Fellows come from differing disciplines and are all committed to encouraging new ways of thinking about science.

Last year’s Engagement Fellows have worked on diverse projects involving simulation, performance, ’citizen science’ and the idea of surgery as craft: Dr Roger Kneebone collaborated with choreographer Suba Subramaniam to devise a performance based on movements in the operating theatre, and Dr Erinma Ochu has been exploring how science carried out in public can help challenges in biomedical research.

By awarding three Engagement Fellowships for 2013, the Wellcome Trust aims to extend the breadth of the programme even further. This year art, poetry and science communication will be incorporated into the scheme.

Lavinia Greenlaw, an award-winning poet and previously the Science Museum’s first artist-in-residence, said: “I find it stimulating and rewarding to encourage people to think about the ways in which scientific and artistic endeavour derive from common ground, how artists are precise and scientists imaginative, and how looking at the same question from different angles while using different equipment, concepts and vocabularies can enrich and illuminate a subject.”

Alasdair Hopwood is an artist who is about to embark on a touring exhibition of the False Memory Archive, a project supported by an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust. He is keen to continue his relationship with the Trust to further explore the role of science engagement in his practice and to initiate a series of projects that examine the limits of cross-disciplinary collaboration. He commented: “The fact that this is a very open discussion at the moment is what appealed to me - and what a great discussion to be a part of.”

This year’s third Fellow is Greg Foot, an experienced science presenter. On being awarded a Fellowship, he said: "I love the fact that science communication is now a real and viable option for a career. The Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship is a chance for me to take that further, working to increase the scope and effectiveness of what science communication can achieve.

“I am looking forward to connecting with other scientists and public engagement fellows and to taking the time to be able to explore the full extent of this opportunity.”

Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, commented: “In just two years of awarding Engagement Fellowships, we have seen the development of some pioneering communication projects as a result of the freedom and flexibility that this scheme offers. Lavinia, Alasdair and Greg are emerging as some of the brightest and best in this field, and we are thrilled to be able to support all three of them, along with previous Fellows, on their way to becoming public engagement leaders.”


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