Small grants scheme in public engagement

PE-Ailie's project-SGS2018
Focus on the Microcosmos: A project with school children about malaria diagnosis, past & present (Credit: Ailie Robinson)

The School’s Small 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. The 2018 Scheme is now closed, and will reopen in spring 2019.

For information about how to apply, including the Grant Application Form, and where to go for advice and support, please log on to the School’s intranet.

What is the funding for?

  • To increase opportunities for members of the public, in the UK and overseas, to engage in mutually beneficial dialogue with School staff & students
  • To offer staff & students the chance to engage creatively with non-academics to develop their public engagement skills and feed back into their work
  • To stimulate, support and trial public engagement ideas and approaches, and share these experiences

Read about this year's projects

Sadie Bell

Sadie Bell

Pauline Paterson

Pauline Paterson

What do vaccines mean to me?

Sadie Bell, Department of Global Health and Development, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, & Pauline Paterson, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health

This project aims to engage with primary school children in Leeds and explore what vaccinations mean to them, their families and the wider community. Working with partners at Leeds City Council, the Leeds Healthy Schools Team and Public Heath England, Sadie and Pauline will organise an interactive workshop for school children to learn more about vaccines and invite them to design a poster based on ‘What do vaccines mean to me?’

Following the workshop, posters will be displayed at a local venue for the children’s families and other community members to see. When the posters are displayed, a vaccinations Q&A with an immunisation nurse will be held and conversations around vaccines will be triggered with attendees using statement cards (e.g. what have been your experiences of vaccines?) and other interactive approaches.

Fiona Cresswell
Fiona Cresswell

Improving diagnosis and treatment of HIV-associated TB meningitis in Uganda

Fiona Cresswell, Department of Clinical Research, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases

In the wake of the HIV epidemic, Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is a leading cause of meningitis in Africa. Our work in Uganda has shown that clinical outcomes from TBM are extremely poor, with >50% of adults dying. Why? Important reasons include late presentation to hospital, and delays in performing lumbar puncture, making a diagnosis and initiating treatment. The RifT study, a randomised clinical trial of high dose rifampicin in TB meningitis, will soon begin enrolment in Uganda. 

We will engage members of the community by hosting a circus event in a high HIV/TB prevalence community in Kampala. The actors will convey public health messages about meningitis that will enable the audience to recognise the tell-tale symptoms earlier, reduce anxiety around lumbar puncture and know where to seek help and engage with research study. We will demystify lumbar punctures by screening a short film (“Mulalama”) that tells the tale of a Ugandan girl caring for her sick mother and a lumbar puncture that helps in making a diagnosis and finding the correct treatment. By engaging with members of the community before and during the event we will also explore what challenges are experienced in the community in relation to TBM.  

Meghann Gregg
Meghann Gregg

Voices in design: Nigerian women's perspectives on postpartum haemorrhage research

Meghann Gregg, Department of Health Services Research and Policy, Faculty of Public Health and Policy

Working with Nigerian-British Health Researcher Ngozi Kalu, and founder of the Black British Female Artists (BBFA) Collective and Multimedia Textile Designer Enam Gbewonyo, Meghann will use designvoice to engage Nigerian women who have recently moved to London at the interim stage of her research on health-seeking behaviour for postpartum haemorrhage. Nigerian women will reflect on the intermediate results and share their own ideas in order to ensure the research reflects their needs and opinions. Through drawing and textile design women will communicate their ideas, as visual representations can be a powerful medium to initiate the communication of thoughts and ideas. Textile designs will be printed onto scarves that will be given to the women and displayed at a future exhibit. This engagement gives women the opportunity to develop skills in design, and share their voices (through a public exhibition of their designs and towards research that is about them).

Sari Kovats

Sari Kovats

Peninah Murage

Peninah Murage

Action on heat: exploring perceptions of heat risks and protection through Forum Theatre

Sari Kovats, Department of Population Health, Environments and Society, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, Peninah Murage, Department of Population Health, Environments and Society, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, Tara Quinn, University of Exeter, & Kath Maguire, University of Exeter

Climate change poses a threat to human health and one of the ways this is experienced is from extreme weather events such as heatwaves. Our NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change has a research programme on climate resilience looking at the effect of heat risk on health, health behaviour and health service capacity. We also work closely with Public Health England to improve the evidence for heatwave planning and health protection. 

The objective of our proposed public engagement work is to increase public awareness of heat risks and heat protection behaviours, and to explore the effectiveness of communication on heat risks. We will use the format of Forum Theatre; a popular interactive form of theatre that engages the audience in examining different ways of responding to issues. The audience will explore situations that may arise during a heatwave, such as care for the elderly, and will collectively explore potential opportunities for communicating risk and for behaviour change.

Sneha Krishnan
Sneha Krishnan

What women empowerment means. Through the eyes of adolescent girls and boys: a photovoice project

Sneha Krishnan, Department of Population Health, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health

In collaboration with Ekjut, an Indian NGO, we will work with adolescent girls and boys in rural areas of West Singbhum District, Jharkhand, India. In a one-day workshop titled, Kishor Kishoriyan ke najariye se kya hota hai mahilaon ka sashaktikaran? (What women empowerment means. Through the eyes of adolescent girls and boys) we will conduct a morning session using story-telling and games, and an afternoon session on handling camera equipment and the basics of taking photographs. Following the workshop, the participants will work in groups to take pictures of their environment, community and family to depict what they think represents the answer to the question “What does empowerment mean to you?” In a dissemination workshop, the participants will speak about their images, provide their perspectives on the above question and share their learning and challenges during their engagement in the photovoice project. These images will be printed and exhibited at the local to generate further discussions.

Hyun Ju Lee
Hyun Ju Lee

Young Climate Change Ambassadors for a healthier future: empowering students to address climate change and health concerns

Hyun Ju Lee, Department of Population Health, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health

Working with colleagues in the PigSustain group, we will engage with UK school students via three activities: a workshop, a photo-taking session and a photo exhibition. The aim is for students to explore the impact of climate change on health and to develop their own suggestions for climate change mitigation or adaptation. In the workshop, students will discuss the impacts of climate change and come up with a list of actions to mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change at the individual, school, household and community level. Following this, the students will carry out some of their suggested actions that were developed during the workshop, promoting them to their community as local Climate Change Ambassadors. With help from their teachers, students will take photos of these actions and the photos will be exhibited to friends, teachers, families and neighbours at the students’ schools. During the exhibition, students will also share their learning experience of being a Climate Change Ambassador. The list of actions and accompanying photos taken by the students will be shared both online and offline.

Edward Joy, Sofia Kalamatianou, Anna Marry, Chris Turner & Joe Yates 
Edward Joy, Sofia Kalamatianou, Anna Marry, Chris Turner & Joe Yates

Map your Food Environment: Engaging school children in food environments research

Edward Joy, Department of Population Health, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, Sofia Kalamatianou, Department of Population Health, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, Anna Marry, LIDC, Chris Turner, Department of Population Health, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, & Joe Yates, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health 

We are all part of the IMMANA programme: Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions. IMMANA is a research initiative funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and led by LSHTM.

The purpose of our project is to engage young people in food environments research to equip them with the tools to critically think about their own food environments, how this impacts lifestyle choices and how consumer choices can impact the environment. The target beneficiaries are schoolchildren aged 14-15 from diverse areas of South London featuring high levels of deprivation and where significant proportions of pupils receive free school meals.  

The proposed activities consist of several inter-related stages: 

  1. An interactive workshop on Food Environments and basic GIS methodology
  2. Field research – students map their food environments using a GIS app on a smart phone
  3. Reporting back – students extract data, prepare maps and present their work 
  4. Project exhibition – students work with a graphic designer to prepare a visualisation of their results, which will be featured on the IMMANA website and printed as posters to be shown at the school and at local libraries. 
Anthony Matthews
Anthony Matthews, Yuki Alencar & Camille Maringe

Our cancer journey: artistic expressions of living with cancer

Anthony Matthews, Yuki Alencar & Camille Maringe, Department of Non-communicable Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health

We will run a one day mono-print workshop with around 10-15 people in the Newcastle area that are currently living with cancer, or have had a cancer diagnosis in the past. They will be invited to work with a local artist to produce mono-prints that represent their bodies and feelings at two time periods: the time of their diagnosis; and the current day. The participants will then produce a blurb to explain and accompany their art work. All artworks will be presented in a series of exhibitions locally and nationally. We hope that, by producing these pieces of art, participants will be able to reflect on their diagnosis and think about how their body and feelings have changed over time. We also want to raise awareness that each person diagnosed with cancer goes through their own individual journey, with no two people dealing with their diagnosis in the same way.

MRC LID Doctoral Training Programme Cohort

Outbreak control: an introduction to careers in public health

MRC LID Doctoral Training Programme Cohort: Paula Josefina Gomez Gonzalez, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Alasdair Henderson, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, Amy Ibrahim, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Poppy Mallinson, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, William Rudgard, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, Charlotte Rutter, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, John Tazare, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, Naomi Walker, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, & Rhodri Edwards, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases

Aiming to inspire the next generation of public health professionals, we will prepare an interactive half-day workshop to take to 3-4 London schools in the autumn term. Starting with a short video newsreel announcing an outbreak of an unknown infectious disease in London, students will work against the clock to identify the disease and save London. Through five interactive demonstrations, featuring props from marbles to mosquitos, students will be introduced to the work of epidemiologists, statisticians and lab scientists in an outbreak situation. London’s fate will be determined when the students come together to decide how they will spend their limited budget to save the most lives. At a time when students are making important A-level and university decisions, the exercise will be a memorable introduction to the diversity of science-based careers and skill-sets involved in controlling a disease outbreak.

Olumuyiwa Owolabi
Olumuyiwa Owolabi

Think TB: Tuberculosis Awareness Campaign for Gambian Youths

Olumuyiwa Owolabi, MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM

A one-day interactive workshop using creative methodologies such as infographics, games, videos and drama activities will engage high school students and their teachers. This workshop aims to provide an environment for mutual learning between the researchers and the school and to raise awareness of Tuberculosis (TB). The recognition of TB disease symptoms and appropriate measures or roles for the students in the control of TB in the community will be discussed. This workshop is expected to equip the students and their teachers with knowledge about types of TB disease, symptoms, spread and prevention, thereby supporting them to become TB ambassadors starting from the school environment and progressing in a viral fashion into their respective communities at large. A meaningful engagement of the other members of the community through these students and their teachers is a stride anticipated to contribute to TB control in The Gambia. 

Neisha Sundaram
Neisha Sundaram

Adolescent health matters

Neisha Sundaram, Department of Global Health and Development, Faculty of Public Health and Policy

Adolescent health is increasingly a global priority as adolescents bear a substantial burden of disease, and adolescence is a critical period when choices and circumstances can have major immediate and future health impacts. Yet, little is known about adolescents’ perspectives, needs and priorities with respect to health and health interventions, especially in lower income countries. Our project aims to explore perceptions of health and illness, and the importance of global health goals among adolescents attending a government-aided school in Bengaluru, India. We also aim to increase awareness about preventing illness among participating adolescents and make connections between adolescent views and needs with public health authorities and wider society. We will do this through discussions with adolescents culminating in an art installation curated by a local artist documenting stories and photographs taken by participating adolescents. Public health officials and the public will be invited to experience and engage with this exhibit.

Cally Tann
Cally Tann

Let Hope Grow: Communicating family experiences of caring for young children with disability through imagery

Cally Tann, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health

This project aims to raise public awareness around families’ experiences of child disability in Uganda using artistic imagery to promote inclusion and to support early intervention to promote health, wellbeing and life chances of affected children and their families. We will use the existing infrastructure of our ABAaNA Early Intervention Trial to conduct art workshops and with local families caring for a child with a disability, in partnership with a commissioned Ugandan and UK artist. Participants will be encouraged to communicate their thoughts and ideas verbally and artistically. Their experiences will be used to create a portfolio of images that represent key themes that communicates the love, laughter and tears of caring for these children which will be exhibited in London and in Uganda.


What has been funded in the past?

Projects have taken place worldwide in over 17 countries on topics as diverse as electronic health records, mental health, HIV testing, diabetes, health in prisons, and infection mapping. Read more about these excellent projects.

How did the Small Grants Scheme start?

The Small Grants Scheme was initiated by Joanna Schellenberg (Department of Disease Control) and Philippe Mayaud (Department of Clinical Research) in 2015 through the Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Leadership Programme. It expanded to all four Departments in the Faculty of Infectious & Tropical Diseases in 2016 through Faculty funding. Thanks to generous funding from the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and the individual Faculties, the Scheme has been available across the School since 2017.

The bitter taste of sugar: A community project in Zambia to give people with diabetes a voice (Credit: Sarah Lou Bailey)