Making science work for development

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation supporting scientists and researchers, to take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate. 

The Wellcome Trust supports thousands of curious, passionate people all over the world to explore great ideas, at every step of the way from discovery to impact.

 The Wellcome Trusts funding schemes support individuals, teams, resources, seed ideas, places and major initiatives in these areas:

  • biomedical science
  • population health
  • product development and applied research
  • humanities and social science
  • public engagement and arts projects

The Wellcome Trust funds a wide-range of programmes both by itself and in partnership with other funders in the UK and worldwide.

Where it funds

The Wellcome Trust funds research and researchers around the world. The Wellcome Trust defines low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) according to the World Bank definition

World Bank country groups

Eligibility

The majority of the Wellcome Trust’s funding opportunities are open to researchers in the UK and low- and middle-income countries working in health and biomedical research with a particular impact in poorer countries, such as infectious or neglected diseases. These grants are not limited to ‘traditional’ biomedical researchers; several programmes actively encourage interdisciplinary teams to support the exploration of new ideas.

Specific information about eligibility conditions is available alongside each Wellcome Trust grant scheme which are searchable by topic, career stage, location and other criteria.

Further Links

Programmes

This is a non-exhaustive list of the ongoing programmes with regular calls under this fund. For current open calls visit our funding page or the funders' websites.

Investigator Awards in Science

Flexible funding support to researchers at all career stages
Details

Investigator Awards in Science offer flexible funding support to researchers at all career stages working on important questions of relevance to the Wellcome Trust's scientific remit. The level of funding provided for an Investigator Award is flexible and can be anything from under £500,000 to around £3 million. Awards can last for up to seven years, if appropriate.

Eligibility
The host organisation can be based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or a low- and middle-income country. You must have a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract at the host organisation or a written guarantee of an established academic post at a host organisation if you receive the award.
Research
Funders

Europe and Global Challenges

Supports European and international researchers to work together on important global issues
Details

This funding initiative encourages European and international researchers to work together on issues that need a coordinated global response. These global challenges cover a broad spectrum and are often interrelated. They include issues like poverty, infectious disease, global warming, water scarcity and regional conflicts.

In the 2016 call, proposals should have a social science focus and be related to:

  • climate change
  • global health
  • terrorism and/or radicalisation
  • migration
  • social inequality.

This scheme is jointly funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the Volkswagen Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

Eligibility
Groups must include researchers based in Europe (ideally including a PI from Sweden, the UK or Germany) and at least one other region (eg Africa or Latin America). The majority of the participants must work outside European Union countries.
Research
Funders

Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Research experience and training for early-stage, intermediate and senior researchers from low- and middle-income countries
Details

The Wellcome Trust offers four fellowship schemes for researchers from low- and middle-income countries to support research that will improve public health and tropical medicine at a local, national and global level.

  1. Master's Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine - provides junior researchers with the opportunity to gain research experience and training at a Master's degree level.
  2. Training Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine - provides 3 years of salary, fees and research expenses for early-stage researchers.
  3. Intermediate Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine - helps mid-career researchers from low- and middle-income countries to establish independent research programmes in those countries. Provides 5 years of funding to cover salary and research costs.
  4. Senior Research Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine - enables researchers from low- and middle-income countries to establish themselves as leading investigators in their scientific field. Provides 5 years of funding to cover salary and research costs.

For all four schemes the research proposal must focus on the Wellcome Trust's remit within the areas of public health and tropical medicine.

Eligibility
To apply you must be a national of a low- or middle-income country, have a relevant degree and research proposal and be sponsored or based at an eligible host organisation in a low- or middle-income country. You can't apply if you are a researcher in India – instead see the Wellcome Trust/Department of Biotechnology India Alliance.
Research
Funders

International Engagement Awards

Funding for innovative public or community engagement projects that explore health research in Africa and Asia.
Details

International Engagement Awards provide funding for innovative public or community engagement projects that explore health research in Africa and Asia. Provides up to £30,000 for up to 3 years.

Projects should:

  • encourage discussion about health research and its impact on communities
  • promote innovative partnerships between community organisations, arts and culture, and health researchers 
  • develop individuals, organisations and societies so that they can carry out high-quality community engagement with health research in the future (capacity building)
Eligibility
International Engagement Awards are open to a range of applicants, including scientists and health researchers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), educators, artists, theatre practitioners, and cultural and community organisations. Your audience, and the engagement activity, must be in a low- or middle-income country within Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or East Asia.
Public Engagement
Funders

The Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowships

Short-term funding for biomedical researchers to travel between the UK and the Middle East
Details

This scheme offers short-term funding for biomedical researchers to travel between the UK and the Middle East to learn new techniques and develop academic collaborations. You’ll be at the early- to mid-stage of your research career and typically at the lecturer and/or postdoctoral level. The fellowship can last from four weeks to three months.

The scheme is administered by the Academy of Medical Sciences on behalf of the Daniel Turnberg Memorial Fund. The Wellcome Trust, together with several other funders, provides funding to support the fellowships.

Eligibility
The scheme is open to medical researchers and bioscientists from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and the UK.
Research
Funders

Pathfinder Awards

Funding for pilot projects that address an unmet medical need or offer a new solution to a problem
Details

Pathfinder Awards fund pilot projects that address an unmet medical need or offer a new solution to a problem. The Wellcome Trust encourages applications that focus on product development that benefits people with orphan and neglected diseases. Pathfinder Awards can last up to 18 months. The award amount is usually about £100,000, but can be up to £350,000 in exceptional circumstances.

Eligibility
This funding supports discrete projects from applicants in the UK and Republic of Ireland or partnerships between academia and industry based anywhere in the world.
Translation
Funders

Joint Global Health Trials scheme

Late-stage trials of interventions that will provide evidence to help improve health in low- and middle-income countries.
Details

Funds late-stage trials of interventions that will help improve health in low- and middle incomce countries by addressing the major causes of mortality and morbidity including behavioural interventions, disease management, drugs, vaccines, and hygiene and diagnostic strategies. The Global Health Trials scheme is aimed at funding randomised controlled trials (RCTs), although other types of methodologies can be used alongside RCTs to explore implementation and operational issues.

Eligibility
Academic groups based in the UK or in low- or middle-income countries can apply to the Global Health Trials scheme. The trials should be based in low- or middle-income countries.
Translation
Funders

Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises programme

Strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises
Details

The Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises. This programme provides support for research institutes and humanitarian organisations that work in partnership to improve health outcomes in humanitarian crises.

There is usually an overall budget of about £2 million for each call. The maximum duration of a grant is 24 months.

The programme is managed by ELRHA (Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance) and is a partnership between the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Wellcome Trust.

Eligibility
Organisations with a strong track record in humanitarian health research can apply to the Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises programme (also known as ‘R2HC’). The lead applicant should be one of the following: a research institution, non-profit institution, NGO (non-governmental organisation) or UN agency. The host organisation can be based anywhere in the world.
Research
Funders

Joint Health Systems Research Initiative

This scheme supports research based in low- and middle-income countries to improve health systems in those locations.
Details

The Health Systems Research scheme funds rigorous, high quality research that provides a step change in our understanding of the optimisation of health systems to deliver new or existing evidence-based interventions for the benefit of people in low- or middle income countries. Research findings should inform the delivery of interventions or structural changes that are of direct relevance to decision makers. 

Eligibility
You can apply to the Health Systems Research Initiative if your research is based in a low- or middle-income country. The principal investigator for your study must be employed by an eligible organisation either in a low- or middle-income country or in the UK.
Research
Funders