Public Engagement Grants

We provide funds to support events where aspects of clinical microbiology, infection prevention and control, and healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) are promoted to the public and other relevant stakeholders.

Events eligible for support can be diverse (pieces of art to popular music) or funds may be used to aid individuals to exhibit at public science festivals. The main criterion is that the event/activity must promote the science of microbiology in the context of (HCAIs).  Priority for funding will be given to activities/events that would not go ahead with HIS support.

         Who:  include one member

  • Size of each award: up to £1,000
  • Where: UK and Ireland


Application deadlines: 1 March and 1 September at 11.59 pm

Funded Events

SOCK THE PUPPET a Microbiology play - 2021

Dr Elaine Cloutman-Green (GOSH), working with playwright Nicola Baldwin

SOCK is a play that is aimed at key stage 1 and 2 students to help start their journey into knowing about microbiology and infection. The play will be 30 – 45 minutes long and will be accompanied by an activity pack that can be downloaded by audience members. The audience can then make their own version of Sock and actively participate in the show.  The HIS funding for this project will enable the play to be refined post its current development phase and recorded to permit accessibility to inpatients and the wider public during the continued limitation on contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nosocomial a Microbiology play - 2018

Dr Elaine Cloutman-Green (GOSH), working with playwright Nicola Baldwin

The aim was to create and test a play in which audiences could participate in the lab experience. The play was co-created with a group of s

cientists from across healthcare and academia.  Twenty four Healthcare Scientists from 8 institutions co-created the play across 3 workshops. Scientists worked directly with actors and a creative team. Scientists shared their experiences with colleagues and a playwright in the working group, and also with the general public through the play.  Nosocomial was programmed for 3 nights as a site-specific performance at Camden People’s Theatre during their September 2018 ‘Underground’ festival.

Nosocomial was extremely well received by microbiologists and general public. Scientists were enthusiastic about sharing their experiences with other colleagues in the working group, and with the general public in the play.

Audience members previously unfamiliar with microbiology had the strongest reaction, of amazement they had known so little about healthcare science, describing it as “eye-opening”, “fascinating” or “astonishing”.  The intention is that the play will be developed for a full production in 2019, to be performed in theatres, and available for festivals and workshops.

“Let’s Get Buggy,” Interactive session for Key Stage 1 Children - 2018

Dr Gayti Morris (Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)

Six members from Sheffield Teaching Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust’s Microbiology and Infection Prevention and Control department spent the morning with three successive classes (more than 90 children) of Year 3 pupils at Hallam Primary School.  

The aim of the project was to provide a fun, engaging and interactive session to help the children, aged 7-8 years, consolidate their understanding of the importance of hand washing with soap and water and introduce ideas of different types of microbes (viruses, bacteria and fungi).  This was achieved through a simple, but practical experiment observing the effect of soap on pretend pepper microbes in water and asking the children to design and build their own ‘helpful’ or ‘harmful’ microbes. A true or false quiz was held to reinforce key messages and pupils had a chance to quiz the ‘experts.’

Pupils enjoyed the sessions and were enthusiastic participants in all the activities. The final true/false quiz demonstrated how they had retained key messages of the importance of washing hands with soap and water and different kinds of useful and harmful microbes. The children asked thoughtful questions such as: ‘how are microbes born?’ and ‘what’s the most deadliest microbe?’ Teaching staff agreed that the session had been useful, engaging and fun.



Frequently asked questions

Am I eligible?

Applications are open to:

  • HIS members who are based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland.
  • Teams (where at least one individual is a member of HIS) that include an expert in public engagement or science communication (with a minimum of 12 months experience), and an IPC expert who are based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland

Types of events considered (but not limited to):

  • STEM or STEAM workshops
  • Exhibiting at an event such as the Big Bang
  • Activities to raise awareness such as during World Antibiotic Awareness Week or on Hand Hygiene Day
What will you fund?

The grant can be used to contribute towards the costs of hosting of a single event or activity, such as venue hire and materials.

Funds, for example, may also be used to support travel (this must not cost more than 30% of the award) and attendance at the event (organiser, speaker or delegate), the development of resources for the event and production of educational resources for HIS use after the event.

Priority for funding will be given to events that would not go ahead without HIS support.

What are the criteria for funding?

In return for financial support, the event organisers will be required to:

  • Acknowledge the event as ‘supported by the Healthcare Infection Society’ with the HIS logo included on marketing material in advance of the event, and on the day of the event
  • Agree to display Society materials at the event (provided in advance by the Society)
  • Provide any educational resources produced to HIS, under a creative commons licence to enable disseminations and further promotion of IPC
  • Send a short report for publication on the HIS website. The report should include the event aim, audience, attendee feedback, evaluation and include photographs

The support from the Society will include:

  • An agreed level of financial support (up to £1,000)
  • Promoting the event to members and a listing on the HIS website
How to apply

Please submit the following documents by 11.59pm on the deadline day to

  • application form
  • abridged 2 page C.V
  • example resources (if appropriate)