Previous Small Grants Scheme projects

This internal grants scheme provides up to £1,000 for School staff and Research Degree students in any Faculty to plan and deliver public engagement projects about our research. Discover more about the projects of previous recipients. 


Faculty of Epidemiology & Population Health

Melissa Neuman

Cath Beaumont

What does HIV self-testing mean for me?

Melissa Neuman, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, & Cath Beaumont, Department of Clinical Research (ITD)

In southern Africa, the proportion of men who know their HIV status is low. HIV self-testing may help men find opportunities and spaces to test for HIV more comfortably. However, as HIV testing moves out of health facilities and into homes, workplaces and public places, we must consider what motivates men to test and how they feel about testing themselves for HIV. To promote conversation around HIV self-testing for men, we will engage with men in Harare, Zimbabwe, to photograph scenes or items answering the question: “What does HIV self-testing mean for me?”. The men will then discuss the photographs in group sessions, and photographs and narratives will be exhibited in Zimbabwe, elsewhere in southern Africa, and in the UK. For this project, we will work closely with the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research (CeSHHAR) and other partners in the UNITAID/PSI HIV Self-Testing (STAR) initiative in southern Africa.


Sinead Langan, Department of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology

Public trust in the use of big data for health research

Working with colleagues in the Electronic Health Records (EHR) group, we will engage with students attending the Young Scientists Programme to understand concerns about using EHR data for research. We have an innovative programme including a “speed dating” session where students will engage with different types of EHR research and hands-on practice programming for analyses of “dummy” EHR data. They will also undertake interviews and surveys to identify existing beliefs and the basis for these beliefs amongst members of the public. The final output will be an animated storyboard that the students will produce with an experienced animator and public engagement champions from our EHR group to communicate their key findings. Of this work, Sinéad said, “We believe this work will help deepen our understanding of how the public perceives the use of big data, while developing the knowledge and skillsets of the Young Scientists.”


Elaine Flores, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Promoting resilience and mental well-being among communities affected by El Niño floods and landslides in Peru

From January-April 2017 intense precipitations associated with a local coastal “El Niño” event led to flash-floods, landslides and intense socioeconomic losses in Peru. Carapongo, a poor shantytown located in the east of Lima was heavily affected. We aim to provide the means and tools for personal expression and resilience-promoting non-verbal communication to a group of affected residents, through group art therapy techniques and photovoice. We will facilitate a group art therapy session; providing the means for the participants to select objects, places or individuals that represent their resilience motifs through images and personal messages. We will present and share these representations and engage them in an open discussion about post-disaster mental health, preventive measures against mental disorders’ development and resilience strategies. Finally, we will discuss the perceptions and attitudes of the participants towards “El Niño” associated mental health and resilience topics. 


Sharon Cox, Department of Population Health

Food for thought: Nutrition and Tuberculosis in the Philippines  

Malnutrition is a common cause and consequence of TB, whilst TB can have significant economic impacts on households, which may affect food and other health expenditure. We will engage with Filipino TB patients and their households to make 1 or 2 short videos. Filming will be conducted in people’s homes as they share their daily life, diet and experiences of family and individual life after experiencing a diagnosis of TB. The project will discuss coping mechanisms and what they feel is needed to help patients and family take control.  We will specifically ask about the effects on employment/income and malnutrition. Although the starting idea for the direction of the narrative is centered on diet, nutrition and wellbeing in those with TB, this will not be decided until after initial interviews and meetings with potential participants and household members. Discussions with patient groups will be held before and after producing the videos. The videos will initially be shared with a closed facebook group initiated by TB patients and thereafter via wider social media networks.

Faculty of Infectious & Tropical Diseases


Elizabeth Sawyer, Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology

Secret Agents 005

In collaboration with scientists from UCL, we will take science to the streets to inspire primary school children that careers in science are fun and within their reach. We chose Barking and Dagenham because it is a relatively poor area and children there are less likely to have access to extracurricular science activities.  We want to encourage these children to see that science is a fun, interesting and necessary part of life.  To achieve this, we will have a stall at the Youth Parade where we will teach children about the “secret agents” that cause disease: bacteria, viruses, prions, parasites and fungi. Children will participate in hands-on activities to ‘spy on’ and identify the secret agent.  We will measure success by asking children to vote for statements that sum up how they felt about the activity and what they learned.


Carmen Abela

A caring career in animal research

Carmen will engage with UK schoolchildren using historical accounts of animals used in research and discussion of current research projects here at the school. Children will then have a practical workshop using an artificial mouse-training tool where they will get the opportunity to simulate handling and common dosing methods used in the laboratory and work with specialised caging, diet and other equipment used in an animal facility. The objective is to show children the benefits of animal research and learn about the people who work in this environment as well as dispel some of the secrecy and myth attached to animal research in the UK.


Bernadette Hensen, Department of Clinical Research

Understanding Zambian men’s experiences of HIV self-testing through narrative photography

Across Zambia, men are less likely than women to test for HIV. HIV self-testing is a novel approach expected to increase uptake of HIV testing services among men. In Zambia, Zambart and LSHTM are conducting trials of community-based distribution of HIV self-tests. Documenting men’s stories about their experiences with HIV self-testing and perceptions about the impact of self-testing for HIV on their day-to-day lives provides an important opportunity for men to tell their stories, and for researchers and programmers to learn how community-based distribution of HIV self-testing is perceived. The aim of this project is to give men the opportunity to share their experiences and perceptions of HIV self-testing. We will use participatory methods and photography to understand how men experienced HIV self-testing, either positively or negatively, and share these experiences through photographs and a narrative associated with them. This project is a collaboration between Zambart and LSHTM.


Sophie Durrans, Department of Disease Control

Unpacking mistrust: towards good practice in community-based research

In collaboration with the University of Malawi – The Polytechnic (SHARE partner), Sophie will develop an innovative workshop with the aim of exploring and improving good practice in community-based water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) related research. Bringing together community members, health/water workers, and traditional and religious leaders, the workshop will take a ‘world café’ approach, providing a basis for a large group discussion and a safe space for addressing and confronting participants’ concerns. The workshop will stimulate participatory dialogue to gain a deeper understanding of barriers to trust between community members, researchers and other stakeholders, and through this further develop understandings of ‘good’ practice, particularly around collecting human and environmental data and samples in low-income, rural communities in Southern Malawi.

Faculty of Public Health & Policy


Tara Mtuy, Department of Global Health & Development

“Shoo Away Enaoji [trachoma]” (a workshop for Maasai mothers on prevention of trachoma)

Current research in three Maasai villages in Tanzania has shown a poor understanding of trachoma. The aim of this project is to provide accurate information to Maasai mothers on the transmission of trachoma and to create a forum for mothers to discuss issues related to trachoma control and prevention in their villages. An interactive workshop will occur with Maasai mothers discussing causes, transmission and mothers’ role in prevention. Participants will be asked to be ‘trachoma-control ambassadors’ by teaching other mothers in their villages about trachoma and putting prevention measures into action within their socio-cultural context.  Disposable cameras will be given to the women to photograph efforts to control trachoma transmission in their homes. A second meeting will be convened to discuss the dissemination of information and their photographs.  It is hoped that an exhibition of the photographs can be held for the community to share their experiences and create further awareness.


Nick Douglas, Department of Health Services Research & Policy

Transforming Sexual Health Services - Engaging Transgender People in Research on Sexual Health Service Innovation

Globally, transgender people experience a significant burden of HIV and other sexual ill health, with low levels of HIV testing and additional burdens of stigma and discriminatory practice in health care settings. Three community-led, specialist sexual health clinics have emerged within England to serve these populations (London, Brighton and Birmingham). These pioneering initiatives are unique in the UK and rare internationally. This Grant will be used to carry out focus groups with patients, service users and staff of the three clinics to begin to identify what can be learned about how to provide accessible, effective and culturally appropriate sexual health services for trans people. A short video and podcast will be created to share the outcomes of the engagement activity more widely. This partnership approach also has the potential to inform the development of future research proposals.


Dalya Marks, Department of Social & Environmental Health Research

Using the Perspectivity Public Health Challenge to engage local communities to develop public understanding of Public Health

The Perspectivity Public Health Challenge is a tool that immerses players into an unknown situation; they react, plan, strategize and face multiple dilemmas in a pressured environment. The game was co-developed by Dalya Marks and launched in May 2015. It has been played in the UK, the Netherlands and New Zealand by over 300 people. We believe the game can also be used to develop opportunities to engage with local communities and serve to share information about the tensions and complexity in the work we undertake. Our key objectives are to use the game to enable members of our local community to gain insights about ‘doing’ public health and facilitate wider community engagement for School staff, showcasing our public health work.


Janet Weston, Department of Social & Environmental Health Research

Health in Holloway prison

Holloway Prison closed its doors for the last time in 2016, after more than 150 years. As the largest women’s prison in the UK, it had often been at the forefront of issues facing women in prison, many related to health. From imprisonment for drunkenness in the nineteenth century, to twentieth-century concerns over hunger-striking suffragettes, venereal disease, pregnancy, addiction, mental illness, and HIV/AIDS, this project will tell the story of health and medicine in Holloway through an interactive exhibition near the site of the former prison. The exhibits of photographs, recordings, and written extracts will be compiled by a group of historians, activists, and former prisoners. It will highlight the complex health needs of women in custody, past and present, and some challenges and opportunities that healthcare in prisons presents. This is connected to the Wellcome Trust-funded research ‘Prisoners, Medical Care, and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000’ (


Mike Callaghan, Department of Global Health & Development

Ebola and After: Stories from the Outbreak

In Sierra Leone, Mike is using audio interviews to help people tell their stories of the Ebola outbreak, and of the futures they imagine for themselves in the aftermath. He will work with local radio stations to produce a series of short interviews with Ebola survivors, responders, and researchers. Expanded versions of these interviews will also be produced and shared as podcasts on the project’s website. Building on his work as a Social Scientist on the EBOVAC trial, Mike’s project taps into a rich local storytelling tradition, and offers a platform for engaging the wider community in discussions about living through and living beyond Ebola.


Shivani Mathur Gaiha, Department of Social & Environmental Health Research

Teachers Nurturing Young Minds

A brainstorming among teachers in India will explore ways to support students’ mental wellbeing. Teachers will collectively reflect on their role as informal counsellors of young people and their response to challenging situations related to student stress. Teachers of students from grade 7-9 will be involved, as they are in a unique position to pre-empt pressures related to the first centralized public examination that students take in grade 10. Teachers will discuss their understanding of students’ academic and social expectations and experiences, and preparedness to identify and guide vulnerable students. Their stories will stimulate discussion of warning signs of student mental health problems, and how best to promote early detection and action. Teachers will then develop an action plan to prevent and manage mental health-related issues of students. This collaborative, problem-solving interaction will create an opportunity for discussion amongst teachers and prioritise activities that the school and teachers may then implement.


Sarah Burr (Lecturer): “Madzi ndi moyo! (Water is life!)”
In Malawi, Sarah aims to engage school children as “Citizen Scientists” to raise awareness of health and environmental problems associated with river pollution. Working with the City of Blantyre branch of the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM), the children will test local river water for markers of pollution to determine whether the river water is safe to drink and bathe in and then publicize their findings in the local community through WESM links. Her hope is that these findings will inspire local residents and government officials to discuss lasting solutions to river pollution.

Maria Zuurmond (Research Fellow): “Hear our Voices”
Working with her partners, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and the CBM: an International Disability Organisation, Maria will use community radio as a bridge for engaging with the public on cerebral palsy.  She will involve support groups for caregivers of children with cerebral palsy in planning a radio programme that will broadcast across at least four sites, in three different languages with learning shared between the groups through a social media platform. Of the potential project impact Maria said: “The community radio engagement with caregivers of children with cerebral palsy will serve as a platform to give them the opportunity to be heard; it will provide them [with] space to talk about their difficulties and challenges.”

Ailie Robinson (Scientific Officer & Research Degree Student): “Focus on the Microcosmos: unfolding the past and present of diagnostics”
Ailie will engage UK school children about tools for malaria research and intervention from the past and present contained in the Wellcome Collection and the School’s own Archives and Malaria Reference Laboratory. Using an innovative new tool called a Foldscope, Ailie will guide the school children in to the wonderful world of parasitology. “The Foldscope is an ‘origami’ microscope that can be folded from one sheet of paper. I want to use this as a practical tool to stimulate discussion around both historical and current diagnosis of disease. I’m keen to see how well this can be used to engage with school children, allowing them to explore the ‘microcosmos’ in a fun and inventive way”.

Dr. Nasir Umar (IDEAS Country Coordinator): “The Gombe Girls for Maternal and Newborn Health project”
Working in collaboration with Rhys Williams, Nasir will connect with local communities of young women and girls in Nigeria. He will create a space for them to express their ideas and opinions on the theme of female empowerment, particularly as it relates to their reproductive lifecycle and health and their ability and desire to remain in education while still being able to become mothers. The girls will go in to their communities to capture data and experiences of pregnant women and women in childbirth as well as the health workers that care for them through interview and film. Following on from this the girls will invite family, including their fathers and brothers, as well as teachers and public officials to an interactive screening and display of their work.

Mary Oguike (Research Fellow): “Get sleeping under your mosquito nets”
Also working in Nigeria, Mary will transform primary school children in to ‘bed net ambassadors’ in their community. The children will learn about the proper use of insecticide-treated bed nets, often appropriated for other uses such as protecting crops or catching fish. Using cameras and art materials the students will be encouraged to explore creative ways to get around the barriers to using them in the home which will then be displayed in an exhibition for family and friends to attend. “I am excited about public engagement” said Mary “because it serves as a platform for me to chat to people more informally about science than my normal lab-based work allows: this in turn will increase the community’s participation in and contribution to research and implementation”. Mary was the sole recipient of small grants funding from the Department of Immunology & Infection. Of her success Colin Sutherland, Head of the Department said: “IID are delighted to hear that Mary is a successful recipient of the LSHTM Public Engagement Small Grant Scheme…Congratulations Dr Oguike!”.

Dr Sadia Saeed (Research Fellow): “Let’s talk about hygiene and defeat germs”
During the school summer break in Karachi, Pakistan Sadia held a one-day workshop that used arts and crafts to “raise awareness in children about the importance of good personal hygiene and its connection with the prevention of infectious disease. Through story-telling, playing with giant microbes and using glitter-paint the children saw how easily germs can transfer from our hands and between people.” Having now completed her engagement project Sadia reflected “it was a day filled with fun and laughter and the children were really open about their problems and their thoughts and ideas, which was amazing”. She will be conducting a follow-up activity with the same children in three months’ time to measure the impact of the engagement on the children’s hygiene practices over time.

Harvey Aspeling-Jones (Research Degree Student): “Sharing the hidden suffering in our communities”
Along with his co-applicant Georgina Miguel-Esponda from the Faculty of Epidemiology & Population Health, Harvey aims to tackle the stigma experienced by people who suffer from poor mental health in Mexico and the barriers to treatment and increased isolation they face.  Harvey and his collaborators from Kings College London’s Institute of Psychiatry and Companeros En Salud (CES) will work with volunteers from local mental health services to create a touring exhibition of artworks arising from workshops held to explore and articulate the experiences of living with a mental illness. Further workshops in Mexico will be held for visitors to the exhibition to highlight their attitudes to and experiences of mental health issues.


Sham Lal and Chris Grundy: “Outbreak! Investigating epidemics with maps and imagery
The activity will take place at the London Metropolitan Archives to conjure up the Victorian era, when smallpox outbreaks were devastating London. Students will use original archive materials and recently-restored smallpox maps from this period to learn about the disease and its effects on the city. They will combine their knowledge and skills from history, geography, maths and science to devise a control programme for quelling the epidemic.

Dr Lena Lorenz: “What makes you happy and healthy? What makes you sick?
Using cameras, crayons and paper, Tanzanian school children will go into their communities to explore these questions. These activities will then inform a discussion around these questions between the children, their teachers and School researchers. Read more about Lena’s project.

Dr Sarah-Lou Bailey: “The bitter taste of sugar
A workshop will be held in Zambia for a group of people living with diabetes, where they will share stories about their experiences of being diagnosed and living with the disease. Local cartoonists will capture these reflections, and the illustrations shared with wider audiences.

Dr Ewan Hunter: "Let’s talk about epilepsy
Ewan and colleagues in Tanzania will run a workshop for parents and teachers of children with epilepsy. The group will discuss barriers around school attendance, and explore suggestions for educational programmes that can help epilepsy patients to be more accepted by the community, such as those using theatre or puppetry.