Funded Travelling Fellowships for people involved in Science, Technology and Innovation

Published: 9 May 2016

Funded Travelling Fellowships for people involved in Science, Technology and Innovation

In 2017, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust will be investing around £1.3 million in British citizens, by awarding 150 Travelling Fellowships.

This will directly support British citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and best practice to benefit others in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole.

Travelling Fellowships will be awarded in the Science, Technology and Innovation category, and the application process is now open.

Approximately 20% of the UK workforce is employed in science based occupations1, making science a key contributor to the UK economy.

Applications are welcome from across this wide field. Applications from people who work in the communication of science and technology by any means, and the fusion of the arts and science are of particular interest. People involved in efforts to encourage interest and participation in science by the public, including the use of the internet to hold dialogues, are also encouraged to apply.

Nigel John wanted to learn about how other countries are enabling doctors to train on virtual patients, providing a completely safe environment where mistakes can be made without any harm to patients. In 2013, he visited world leading groups in Australia and Singapore, and established collaborations to pilot basic research themes that lead the way for the deployment of a computer simulated virtual patient. The Australian e-Health Research Centre has developed solutions for training endoscopy procedures such as colonoscopy. After the Fellowship, Nigel collaborated with them to develop a new mechanism for tracking the depth of insertion of the endoscope into a virtual patient. This project is aimed at a high fidelity solution using the actual surgical endoscope that is used on real patients. Nigel and his team at Bangor, and now Chester University, have started many other related projects. One of these is the use of a tablet computer to provide a training tool for neurosurgeons. The trainees can practice inserting a cannula through the brain of a virtual patient and attempt to puncture the ventricles – a fluid filled organ in the centre of the brain. This tool was tested at a neurosurgical “boot camp” in Manchester in September 2014, and it was demonstrated that it does help improve the expertise of trainees.

Amongst those travelling this year, in this category, are:

  • Dr Sai Pathmanathan, a science education consultant from Bishop's Stortford. He will be travelling to the USA to investigate family science engagement and learning through storytelling and children’s media.
  • Edward Rogers, Founder and Director of Bristol Braille Technology CIC, who will be travelling to China and India to explore ways of making blind literacy affordable worldwide.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, the character and the tenacity to travel globally in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK, and upon their return work to transform and improve aspects of today’s society.

A travelling sabbatical for people with the drive, determination and desire to help others, can further their leadership and role model abilities.

Employees who are awarded Fellowships bring great benefits to their employers, not only in terms of the positive impact on their personal development, but also with the advantage of their enhanced knowledge, new ideas and examples of best practise that they bring back to the organisation.

Applications are judged purely on project merit, and these opportunities are available to all UK residents over the age of 18, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Successful applicants will receive an average Fellowship grant of over £6,000, covering return airfare, daily living costs, insurance and travel within the countries being visited, for approximately six weeks overseas.

Notes to Editors

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established shortly after Sir Winston’s death in 1965, as his national memorial and living legacy. Since then it has awarded over 5,250 Travelling Fellowships.

The application process for travel in 2017 is now open, and there are 14 varied categories in which people can apply.

Churchill’s beliefs and passions are still living on through the Fellows – who are remarkable individuals, representing a wide range of backgrounds, qualifications, interests and professions, but sharing the desire to do something for the improvement of individuals and communities in the UK.

The deadline for the 2017 applications is 5pm on Tuesday 20th September 2016.

In total 150 Fellowships were awarded in the UK in 2016, an investment of over £1.4 million. The Fellows are currently travelling to 52 countries between them, across 6 continents, carrying out a wide range of projects.

To maximise the impact of the Fellowships partnerships have been developed with other organisations, focused on specific areas of concern and relevance for the UK today. Lessons learnt from overseas travel are effectively coordinated and disseminated, and incorporated into best practice in the UK for the benefit of others in similar communities and professions.


1. From The current and future science workforce, Trends Business Research for the Science Council, September 2011