New theme area: Engagement around Epidemic Response and Preparedness

Image: UNDP

A new theme area has launched on Mesh, which brings together resources related to engagement before, during and after an epidemic occurs. It features documents that offer high-level justification for why engagement is important in an epidemic situation, as well as practical guides and tools on how to implement engagement activities in these circumstances. Explore the new area here.

News from the field: Thailand’s first Three Minutes Thesis (3MT) competition

On 12 December 2018 the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) and the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Vietnam collaborated to host Thailand’s first Three Minutes Thesis (3MT) competition. The 3MT format challenges participants to present their research in just 180 seconds in an engaging way that can be understood by an audience with no background in their area of science. Read the article  here.

Engaging with Social justice: An Interview with Ceri Davies, Research Director, National Centre for Social Research

Ceri Davies has a varied research and practice background that spans disciplinary boundaries, positioning her ideally for her work supporting community and research partnerships across issues and disciplines. She is now a Research Director at NatCen, a social research institute, where she leads a portfolio of policy-related research on topics of civil society. Ceri holds the concept of ‘Social justice’ centrally to her practice, and also has extensive practical experience. In conversation with Siân Aggett, Ceri speaks candidly about her experiences. She outlines some of the tensions that working from a strong value base creates when working within an academic institution with its own traditions and pressures around knowledge production (research) and productivity. Read the whole interview here.

Wellcome Global Monitor: The world's largest study into how people feel about science and major health challenges


The Wellcome Trust is funding the ‘Wellcome Global Monitor’, a global study into how over 140,000 people from over 140 countries feel about science and health challenges. This evidence will help us and other foundations, researchers and policy makers around the world to promote debate, and frame proposals for action to improve engagement and trust in science and healthcare. The full report and dataset will be available from June 2019, and a Mesh article about the project will be posted in the new year. Find out more here.


Take part in the consultation on UNICEF's 'Minimum Standards and Indicators for Community Engagement'


Please note, this consultation has now closed. Thank you for taking part, and keep an eye out for articles on this project that will be posted on Mesh soon. Get in touch if you want to know more.

UNICEF Communication for Development is seeking comment on draft documents outlining proposed minimum standards for community engagement and indicators for measurement for development and humanitarian practice. The ‘Development of Minimum Quality Standards and Indicators for Community Engagement Project’ emerges from a growing consensus on the need for improved evaluation and measurement of the impacts of community engagement, particularly in the wake of lessons learned during the 2014 – 16 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. As a Mesh member, you are invited to respond to this consultation: Join this discussion group to find out more and take part.

New Project Report: Actors & Doctors: Staging Public Health Matters


This project aimed to increase awareness of and engagement with complex public health concerns such as mental, environmental and sexual health through community theatre projects. Implemented in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, by the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, the project also aimed to examine the effectiveness of cross-disciplinary collaborative frameworks by bringing together doctors, public health professionals and actors in a creative environment. Read the full project report here.

New Literature: From ‘Trial Community’ to ‘Experimental Publics’: How Clinical Research Shapes Public Participation

This article argues for a conceptual shift away from the static, singular term ‘trial community’ towards ‘experimental publics’. The authors observe that the term ‘community’ is often employed uncritically and assumes that ‘communities’ pre-exist research; that they are timeless and undifferentiated wholes. ‘Experimental publics’, by contrast, are dynamic, multiple, and impermanent in nature. Read the summary & download the full article here.


Project Report: Eh!woza: Intersection of Art and Science to Engage Youth around Tuberculosis


Image: Eh!woza, Then and Now.

The engagement programme Eh!woza (Hey! Come [with us]) seeks to engage with communities in South Africa that are significantly affected by tuberculosis (TB). Eh!woza engages young people in Khayelitsha, Cape Town’s largest township, with biomedical TB research and provides participants with the resources and training to produce short films about experiences of TB within their communities. Read the full project report here.

Mesh now has 1000 members!



Mesh has been up and running for over two years now, but June 2018 marked a particular milestone in Mesh’s history: 1000 people are now signed up to Mesh! That’s 1000 people for you to connect with who are accessing and contributing to Mesh’s project reports, funding guides, e-learning opportunities and more. We are really excited by Mesh’s growth and are looking forward to connecting even more people involved in community engagement with health research over the coming year. Not a member yet? Make the most of Mesh by signing up as a member today - Sign up here.

Image: Chad Kainz (CC)

Wellcome Photography Prize open for entries


Are you a research scientist, clinical photographer or an image maker from another discipline? Enter your image for a chance to win £15,000. Your image should show the importance of health in society and the impact health issues have on people and communities worldwide. This is a new, international photography prize celebrating compelling imagery that captures stories of health, medicine and science. Find out more on how you can enter here

Upcoming Event: Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

The theme for the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research 2018 will be: Advancing Health for All in the SDG Era. One of the main foci of the symposium will be Community Health Systems. It will look at the importance of community participation and ask 'How should health systems engage communities to achieve universal coverage?'. Click here to read more. 

New E-Learning: Citizen Science and Scientific Crowdsourcing 

UCL and ExCiteS are running an introductory course to the theory and practice of citizen science and crowdsourcing. The course will explore the history, theoretical foundations, and practical aspects of designing and running citizen science projects. Specific topics include: how to make projects participant centred, ethics and legal issues, and evaluation and policy. Click here to find out more

Engaging 'Communities': Anthropological Insights from the West African Ebola Epidemic

This article, by Wilkinson et al. 2017, deconstructs notions of 'community', and the ways it is conceptualised and understood, in order to critically reflect upon methods of engaging 'communities' during the west African Ebola epidemic in 2014. The article concludes that although the epidemic was brought to an end by changes in transmission-associated practices and collective action, some ‘community engagement’ interventions were not as ‘community’ unifying as is widely reported. Click here to read the full paper. 

New Project Report: It's OK to Talk: Insights from a Youth Mental Health Public Engagement Programme in India

It’s OK to Talk is an adolescent and youth-focused programme started in 2016, which aims to increase awareness about mental health and wellbeing, so that more young people feel able to engage in dialogue on mental health, and seek help. The It's Ok to Talk programme comprised three core activities: It's Ok to Talk website, events and workshops, and a social media campaign. Click here to read the full report.

Watch a Livestream of the Clade X Pandemic Tabletop Exercise

On 15th May 2018, the John Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted Clade X, a pandemic tabletop exercise. The exercise was designed to illustrate high-level strategic decisions and policies needed to prevent a severe pandemic or diminish its consequences should prevention fail. Click here for more about Clade X and to for a link to the livestream video.

News from the Field

Commissioning Authors for New Science Communication Book

Australian National University (ANU) Press are commissioning authors for a book on the emergence of modern science communication across the world. The book will contain 20 chapters setting out the path of 20 countries; recording major events, debates, activities, and people in science communication over the last 60 years. ANU Press are particularly interested in recruiting authors for chapters which tell the story of countries in Africa, the Middle-East, Asia, and Latin America. Chapter submissions are due by 1st November 2018. Contact Toss Gascoigne for more details:

Highlights from PCST Conference 2018: Science, Stories and Society

The Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) conference, which took place in New Zealand in April 2018, placed particular focus on telling stories and how to utilise the arts to connect science and society. This blog, written by WFSJ (World Federation of Science Journalists) board member Wolfgang Goede, shares some of the highlights of the conference as well as key themes discussed, including: storytelling through comedy, the medium of music, and the power of unedited videos. Click here to read the full blog

A full list of the PCST conference papers can be found here.