Collaborative Awards in Science

Collaborative Awards promote the development of new ideas and speed the pace of discovery. We fund teams of researchers, consisting of independent research groups, to work together on the most important scientific problems that can only be solved through collaborative efforts.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Leading a research programme

Where your host organisation is based:

UK, Republic of Ireland, Low- or middle-income countries

Type of researcher:

Basic, Clinical, Public health

Level of funding:

Up to £4 million

Duration of funding:

Up to 5 years

Who can apply

Collaborative Awards are for teams of researchers bringing together the relevant expertise and experience to address the most important scientific problems.  

Each applicant must be essential to the proposed collaborative research and have:

  • Proven research expertise and experience in their field.
  • An academic or research post (or equivalent).
  • A salary for the duration of the award period. If this is not in place, your employing organisation must provide a guarantee of salary support for the duration of the award.

Members of the team must have proven experience in collaborative research and consist of independent research groups.

Team size will depend on the proposed research, but should generally have more than two applicants, and no more than seven.

Teams may be based in the same or in different organisations, and must bring different expertise or disciplines to the research question.

Applicants should usually be based at eligible organisations in the UK, Republic of Ireland, or low- or middle-income countries. However, we can make exceptions for projects that need specific expertise or resources provided by team members based in other countries.

Read about our Collaborative Awards grantholders and their research.

What we're looking for

Your proposal should describe a significant piece of work that addresses the most important questions, in an area relevant to the mission of the Wellcome Trust. 

You should be able to demonstrate why the scientific problem you are tackling can only be solved through an integrated, collaborative team effort.

We encourage interdisciplinary research collaborations, although they are not essential. We also encourage applications that propose interdisciplinary research across our Science, Humanities and Social Science and Innovations teams.

We will review:

  • the track records of all team members, relative to their career stage
  • the importance of your research question(s) to your field(s)
  • the feasibility of your proposal
  • the suitability of the environments in which you and your team members do the research
  • the time you and your team members will spend on the Collaborative Award, and how it fits in with other academic commitments.

Other schemes

Collaborative Awards in Humanities and Social Science

Supporting teams who are tackling major health-related questions in the humanities and social sciences that require a collaborative approach.
Full details of Collaborative Awards in Humanities and Social Science

Investigator Awards in Science

Enabling independent researchers with a compelling research vision to tackle the most important questions in science.
Full details of Investigator Awards in Science
Scheme finder

A Collaborative Award can be up to £4 million and last for up to five years, but requests must be appropriate to the proposed research. Our support includes:

      • We will cover the salary costs of all staff, full or part time, who will work on your Collaborative Award. Staff members typically include research assistants or technicians employed on your grant. If you’re doing fieldwork or clinical studies in a low- or middle-income country, we’ll consider requests for more research staff.

        We don’t usually provide a salary for any applicants for this scheme.

        We don't provide studentship stipends.

        • Staff salaries should be appropriate to skills, responsibilities and expertise. You should ask your host organisation to use their salary scales to calculate these costs, which should include:

          • basic salary
          • employer’s contributions, including any statutory obligations (eg National Insurance contributions if you’re based in the UK) and pension scheme costs
          • Apprentice Levy charges for UK-based salaries
          • any incremental progression up the salary scale
          • locally recognised allowances such as London allowance.

          You should allow for salary pay awards during Year 1. These should be based on pay awards already agreed: if you don’t know what the pay award is yet then use our inflation rate. For Year 1 include any known pay awards for this period or an assumed percentage equivalent to our current inflation rate of 2.0% if this hasn’t been confirmed.

          From Year 2 onwards, we’ll automatically increase the salaries, based on our current inflation allowance rates.

          Find out more about the different staff categories and employing staff.

          We may make a contribution towards the salary of departmental technicians funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and its equivalents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You will need to provide a full audit record of their time on your project.

      • Visa and work permit costs

        If you have named researchers on your grant whose salaries will be funded by Wellcome, you can ask for visa costs to help them take up their posts at the host organisation. You can also ask for:

        • Visa costs for the researcher’s partner and dependent children.
        • Immigration Health Surcharge costs for the researcher, their partner and dependent children if they will be in the UK for six months or more.
        • Essential associated costs, such as travel to attend appointments at a visa application centre or embassy. You’ll need to justify these. 
    • We will pay for the materials and consumables you need to carry out your proposed research, including:

      • laboratory chemicals and materials (eg reagents, isotopes, peptides, enzymes, antibodies, gases, proteins, cell/tissue/bacterial culture, plasticware and glassware)
      • associated charges for shipping, delivery and freight.
    • You can ask for funds to buy animals if they are essential to your project. We will also fund the charge-out rates for animal house facilities if your organisation uses full economic costing methodology. These costs include:

      • running costs (including animal maintenance,  any experimental procedures, licences and relevant staff training)
      • appropriate estates costs
      • cage and equipment depreciation costs, but not building depreciation costs.

      We may not pay the full charge-out rate for an animal house facility if we've provided significant funding towards the infrastructure and/or core support of the facility.

      If your organisation doesn’t use full economic costing methodology to establish charge-out rates for animal house facilities, you can ask for funds to cover:

      • the cost of buying animals
      • running costs (including animal maintenance, any experimental procedures, licences and relevant staff training)
      • staff costs, eg contributions towards the salaries of animal house technicians.

      We won’t provide estates or depreciation costs.

    • Equipment purchase

      You can ask for items of equipment that are essential to your proposed research project. Costs may include purchase, delivery, installation, maintenance and training, where necessary.

      We will cover VAT and import duties if:

      • the usual UK exemptions on equipment used for medical research don’t apply
      • you’re applying from a non-UK organisation, and you can show these costs can’t be recovered.

      If a complete piece of equipment costs £100,000 or more, we expect a contribution of at least 25 per cent from the host organisation or another source.

      In some cases we may expect a larger contribution. We’ll discuss this with you after we’ve assessed your application.

      Contributions can include benefits in kind, such as refurbishment or the underwriting of a key support post.

      Equipment maintenance

      We will cover maintenance costs for equipment if:

      • you are requesting it in your application
      • it is existing equipment that is:
        • funded by us or another source
        • essential to the proposed research project
        • more than five years old
        • cost effective to keep maintaining it.

      We won’t cover maintenance costs for equipment if there is a mechanism in place to recoup these costs through access charges.

      Computer equipment

      We will cover the cost of one personal computer or laptop per person up to £1,500.

      We won't pay for:

      • more expensive items, unless you can justify them
      • installation or training costs.
    • You can ask for the cost of access to shared equipment or facilities if they’re essential to your research project. These may include materials and consumables, plus a proportion of:

      • maintenance and service contracts
      • staff time costs for dedicated technical staff employed to operate the equipment or facility.

      We don’t cover the costs of:

      • estates and utilities
      • depreciation or insurance
      • other staff eg contributions towards departmental technical, administrative and management staff time.

      If the facilities or equipment were paid for by a Trust grant, you can only ask for access charges if:

      • the grant has ended
      • any support for running costs and maintenance contracts has ended.
    • We cover research management and support costs if:

      • your host organisation is in a low- or middle-income country.
      • your grant will be directly awarded to that organisation.

      These costs may include:

      • training costs, eg transferable skills and personal development training for you and any other people employed on your grant
      • costs for short-term professional training for administrative, technical and support staff
      • administration, eg grant management, technical and administrative services
      • other costs which are necessary for your research, eg computing and internet access costs, access to electronic resources, facility and running costs such as utilities, furniture, waste disposal and incineration, and building maintenance.

      See a list of low- and middle-income countries.

      How to apply for these costs

      You must

      • give a full breakdown of costs in your grant application form (you can't ask for a percentage of the research costs)
      • explain why these costs are necessary to your research
      • include a letter from the finance director of your host organisation with your application, confirming that the costs are a true representation of the costs incurred.
      • Travel costs

        You should use the most suitable and economical form of travel. Please include a breakdown for each part of your trip, eg air fares and number of journeys.

        Collaborative travel

        You can ask for travel and subsistence costs for collaborative visits for you and any research staff employed on your grant. You’ll need to justify each visit and its duration.

        Conference attendance

        You can ask for a contribution towards the costs of attending scientific and academic meetings and conferences, including registration fees. The limits are:

        • All applicants named on your grant – £2,000 a year
        • Staff employed on your grant – £1,000 each a year

        You’ll need to specify the amount you’re requesting for each person.

        Other travel

        We will pay for other essential visits, eg to facilities, for sample collection and for fieldwork. You can include subsistence costs.

        Subsistence costs

        If you’re away for up to one month you can ask for subsistence costs. These include accommodation, meals and incidentals (eg refreshments or newspapers).

        If your administering organisation has a subsistence policy, use their rates.

        If your administering organisation doesn’t have a subsistence policy, please use the HMRC rates.

        If you’re away for more than one month and up to 12 months, we will pay reasonable rental costs only, including aparthotels. You should discuss appropriate rates with your administering and host organisations, or Wellcome, as appropriate. We expect you to choose the most economical options, booked in advance where possible.

        If you’re from a low- or middle- income country and will be working in a high-income country for more than one month and up to 12 months, you can also ask for up to £20 a day to cover extra costs, such as transport and incidentals.

        If you’re away for more than 12 months, we will pay the costs of your housing. You should discuss your needs with your administering and host organisations.

        The allowance we provide will be based on family and business need. We will set the maximum allowance we pay for each location. This will be based on current market data or, where data is unavailable, in consultation with your administering organisation, using equivalent market rates. If you need help calculating the costs please contact Grants Management.

        We will cover the direct expenses you have to pay to find and rent a home. We will not cover the cost of utilities or any refurbishment.

        Overseas research

        If you or any research staff employed on your grant will be doing research away from your home laboratory, we'll help with the additional costs of working on the project overseas. Please see the 'Overseas allowances' section for details.

      • If you or any staff employed on your grant will be spending time in another country, we’ll help you with the additional costs of working on the project overseas.

        Our overseas allowances are:

        • a contribution towards the personal cost of carrying out research overseas, to ensure that you are not disadvantaged
        • provided on the assumption that you’ll be paying income tax, either in your home country, or the country you will be working in (your personal tax is your responsibility).
        • provided on the understanding that you or your partner will not receive equivalent allowances from elsewhere
        • determined by the amount of time you will spend away from your home country.
      • If you will be away more than 12 months, we will provide overseas allowances for your partner and any dependants if they are travelling with you.

        If you will be away for 12 months or less and can justify why your partner and dependants must travel with you, we may provide overseas allowances for them.

        We define your partner as the person:

        • you’re married to
        • you’re not married to but with whom you’ve been in a relationship for at least a year

        and

        • you live with at the same permanent address and share some form of joint financial commitment with (eg a mortgage).
      •  

        See a list of low- and middle-income countries, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

        You can ask for the following allowances. You need to provide estimated costs as accurately as possible.

          • We will pay your travel costs at the beginning and end of your overseas work. Costs can be for air, ferry, train or coach fares.

            All fares should be:

            • economy class
            • the most suitable and economical form of travel
            • booked in advance where possible.
          • If you are away for up to 12 months, you can ask for up to 80kg of additional baggage or unaccompanied airline freight for your outward and return journeys.

            If you are away for more than 12 months, you can ask for the costs of shipping your personal items at the beginning and end of your overseas work.

            We will pay the full cost of transporting:

            • half a standard shipping container if you’re travelling alone
            • a whole standard shipping container (20ft) if you’re travelling with a partner and/or dependants.
          • We will pay the cost of your medical insurance and travel insurance.

            If you will be working in a low- or middle-income country we will also cover the cost of emergency evacuation cover.

            We won’t pay for medical insurance if you will be based in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

          • We will pay the costs of visas, vaccinations and anti-malaria treatment.

          • You can ask for this if you’ll be based in a low- or middle-income country and it is necessary.

            Costs can include guards, panic buttons and alarms. You should ask your employing organisation for advice on the level of security you need.

          • If you’re away for up to one month you can ask for subsistence costs. These include accommodation, meals and incidentals (eg refreshments or newspapers).

            If your administering organisation has a subsistence policy, use their rates.

            If your administering organisation doesn’t have a subsistence policy, please use the HMRC rates.

            If you’re away for more than one month and up to 12 months, we will pay reasonable rental costs only, including aparthotels. You should discuss appropriate rates with your administering and host organisations, or Wellcome, as appropriate. We expect you to choose the most economical options, booked in advance where possible.

            If you’re from a low- or middle- income country and will be working in a high-income country for more than one month and up to 12 months, you can also ask for up to £20 a day to cover extra costs, such as transport and incidentals.

            If you’re away for more than 12 months, we will pay the costs of your housing. You should discuss your needs with your administering and host organisations.

            The allowance we provide will be based on family and business need. We will set the maximum allowance we pay for each location. This will be based on current market data or, where data is unavailable, in consultation with your administering organisation, using equivalent market rates. If you need help calculating the costs please contact Grants Management.

            We will cover the direct expenses you have to pay to find and rent a home. We will not cover the cost of utilities or any refurbishment.

          • If you’re away for more than 12 months we will pay:

            Local nursery or school fees

            You can ask for these costs if you are in a location where there isn’t free local education of the same standard as in your home country.

            Costs include:

            • local nursery school fees up to a maximum of 15 hours a week for 3 to 4 year olds
            • local junior or secondary school fees, up to the end of secondary school education.

            Local international school fees

            You can ask for these costs if local schools do not provide the same standard of education as in your home country. We will only pay the published termly school fees.

            We will not cover the costs of:

            • extracurricular activities, including field trips
            • other extras including, but not limited to, uniforms, sports kit and equipment, transport, meals, books and electronic equipment.

            Boarding school fees

            We will consider paying the cost of boarding school fees in your home country if:

            • a local international school is not available
            • both parents, guardians or the sole care giver live outside the home country.

            The allowance covers:

            • up to a maximum of £30,000 a year for each child for the published termly fees only
            • the cost of economy class return airfares at the start and end of each school term.

            We will not cover the costs of:

            • additional annual leave airfares
            • extracurricular activities, including field trips
            • other extras including, but not limited to, uniforms, sports kit and equipment, transport, meals, books and electronic equipment.

            We will cover the cost of providing special needs education as far as possible. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

            We would not usually expect to provide an education allowance if you will be working in a high-income country.

          • If you will be away for more than 12 months, we’ll pay for you to travel back to your home country for annual leave. This is in addition to your outward and return travel costs and depends on how long you will be away:

            • 12-24 months – 1 annual leave trip
            • 25-36 months – 2 annual leave trips
            • 37-48 months – 3 annual leave trips
            • 49-60 months – 4 annual leave trips
            • 61-72 months – 5 annual leave trips.

            All fares should be:

            • economy class
            • the most suitable and economical form of travel
            • booked in advance where possible.
          • If you will be away for more than 12 months, you can ask for up to 100 hours of lessons in the local language for you and/or your partner during the first 12 months of your visit.

            We will cover 100% of the costs for local language school classes or up to 50% of the costs of individual tuition.

            We will not cover the cost of examinations or personal learning materials such as DVDs and books.

    • We cover fieldwork costs if they’re essential and you can justify them. Costs can include:

      • survey and data collection, including communication and data collection services and any associated costs such as essential field materials, travel costs and language translation services
      • the purchase, hire and running costs of vehicles dedicated to your project
      • expenses for subjects and volunteers, including the recruitment of participants, their participatory fees and travel costs
      • statistical analysis.

      You can ask for other fieldwork costs that aren’t listed here, but you’ll need to justify them.

    • We will add an inflation allowance to your award.

      How we calculate your inflation allowance

      Your inflation allowance is based on your total eligible costs and the duration of the award. You'll receive the following allowance if the costs in your application are in pounds sterling, euros or US dollars.

      Our inflation allowance is increasing. The following rates apply to grants awarded from 1 October 2017:

      Award duration (in months)Inflation allowance
      0-120.0%
      13-241.0%
      25-362.0%
      37-483.0%
      49-604.1%
      61-725.1%
      73-846.2%

      These rates are calculated using compound inflation at 2.0% a year from Year 2 onwards.

      If your costs are in any other currency, we will use an inflation allowance that reflects the inflation rate of the country where the host organisation is based.

      What to include in your application

      The costs in your application must be based on current known costs, excluding inflation.

      You should allow for salary pay awards during Year 1. These should be based on pay awards already agreed; if you don’t know what the pay award is yet then use our inflation rate.

      The Trust’s studentship stipend scales for non-clinical/basic science PhD studentships include an annual increase for inflation.

    • You can ask for costs for page charges and/or costs for colour prints for your original research papers.

      You can also ask for the costs of publishing other material which is essential to the project, such as:

      • the proceedings of a workshop or conference we’ve funded
      • questionnaires, recruitment material, newsletters etc for clinical, epidemiological and qualitative research studies
      • the results of a clinical trial or epidemiological study
      • public engagement materials where dissemination (including printing and publishing) is a key activity of the project.

      Open access charges

      You can't ask for open access article processing charges in your application.

      If your organisation receives block funding through the UK’s Charity Open Access Fund you can ask it to cover these costs. If not, we’ll supplement your grant when your paper has been accepted for publication.

    • If you need to carry out clinical trials or research using NHS patients or facilities, we will cover some of the research costs.

      Annex A of the guidelines for attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD) sets out the costs we cover, and which costs should be funded through the Department of Health in England, or its equivalent in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you're based in the Republic of Ireland, we would expect you to adhere to the spirit of these principles.

      Further information on funding for clinical trials.

    • Costs you may ask for (you will have to justify these costs in your application):

      • specialist publications that are relevant to the research and not available in institutional libraries
      • consultancy fees
      • expenses for subjects and volunteers – includes recruitment of participants, their participatory fees and travel, as well as interviewee expenses
      • reasonable research-associated costs related to the feedback of health-related findings but not any healthcare-associated costs
      • costs associated with developing an outputs management plan
      • recruitment, advertising and interviewee travel costs for staff to be employed on the grant
      • purchase, hire and running costs of project-dedicated vehicles
      • limited capital building or refurbishment essential to your project
      • PhD student fees for postgraduate research assistants employed on your grant
      • formal transferable skills and personal development training.

      Costs we won’t pay:

      • estates costs – such as building and premises costs, basic services and utilities. This also includes phone, postage, photocopying and stationery, unless you can justify these within a clinical or epidemiological study.*
      • research, technical and administrative staff whose time is shared across several projects and isn’t supported by an audit record*
      • PhD stipends
      • charge-out costs for major facilities* – departmental technical and administrative services, and use of existing equipment
      • cleaning, waste and other disposal costs*

      *We will fund these costs in the case of animal-related research.

      • indirect costs – this includes general administration costs such as personnel, finance, library, room hire and some departmental services
      • office furniture, such as chairs, desks, filing cabinets, etc.
      • clothing such as lab coats, shoes, gloves, protective clothing
      • non-research related activities, eg catering, room and venue hire for staff parties, team-building events and social activities
      • indemnity insurance (insurance cover against claims made by subjects or patients associated with a research programme)
      • patent costs
      • ethics reviews, unless you are in a low- or middle-income country
      • radiation protection costs.

      Costs guidance [XLSX 18KB] on the types of costs that can/cannot be charged on biomedical science research grants.

You can also apply for Research Enrichment funding to increase the impact of your work through activities in public engagement, open research, and diversity and inclusion.

What we don’t offer

We don't provide funds for directly allocated or indirect costs unless they're included on this page.

You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).

Start your application

Stages of application

You should discuss the scope of your proposal and suitability for the scheme with us before you submit your full application. Please contact the relevant member of our Science division.

  1. Submit your preliminary application

    You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker.

    View the  Sample preliminary application form for Collaborative Awards in Science [PDF 162KB]

  2. Shortlisting

    If eligible, our senior science staff may assess your proposal’s initial suitability and competitiveness for the scheme. 

  3. Submit your full application

    If your preliminary application is successful, we'll invite you to submit a full application. 

    View the  Sample full application form for Collaborative Awards in Science [PDF 293KB]

  4. Scientific review

    One of the following expert review groups will review your application, depending on your area of research:

    If shortlisted, we will invite you for an interview. We'll give you at least two weeks' notice. 

  5. External written peer review

    We’ll seek written comments from external expert reviewers. Unattributed comments will be sent to you before your interview.

    If peer reviews indicate that your application is not competitive, it will be withdrawn at this stage.

  6. Interview

    You will be interviewed by our Science Interview Panel at the Wellcome offices in London.

Dates

We consider applications three times a year. You must submit your application by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the deadline day. We don’t accept late applications.

November 2017 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    15 November 2017, 17:00 GMT

  • Full application deadline

    26 February 2018, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    April 2018

  • Interviews

    17–19 July 2018

April 2018 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    24 April 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Full application deadline

    24 July 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Shortlisting

    September 2018

  • Interviews

    27–29 November 2018

August 2018 round

The application form will be available on Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker in late April 2018.

  • Preliminary application deadline

    20 August 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Full application deadline

    12 November 2018, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    January 2019

  • Interviews

    2–4 April 2019

November 2018 round

The application form will be available on Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker in late August 2018.

  • Preliminary application deadline

    19 November 2018, 17:00 GMT

  • Full application deadline

    28 February 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    April 2019

  • Interviews

    16–18 July 2019

More information

Find out about how we've worked with the funding community to develop principles and obligations setting out what we expect from those responsible for clinical training, trainees and funders across the UK.

Definitions

Leading a research programme

For researchers with a PhD or the equivalent, and significant postdoctoral research experience.

UK
Republic of Ireland
Low- or middle-income countries

See a list of low- and middle-income countries, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Basic

You're not a clinically qualified researcher.

Clinical

You're a clinically qualified doctor, vet, dentist or a clinical psychologist.

Public health

Develop your research career

See our other schemes for researchers who are interested in leading a research programme.

Key dates

We consider applications three times a year.

April 2018 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    24 April 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Full application deadline

    24 July 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Shortlisting

    September 2018

  • Interviews

    27–29 November 2018

August 2018 round

The application form will be available on Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker in late April 2018.

  • Preliminary application deadline

    20 August 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Full application deadline

    12 November 2018, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    January 2019

  • Interviews

    2–4 April 2019

November 2018 round

The application form will be available on Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker in late August 2018.

  • Preliminary application deadline

    19 November 2018, 17:00 GMT

  • Full application deadline

    28 February 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    April 2019

  • Interviews

    16–18 July 2019

Contact us

Contact our information officers if you have a question about funding.

If you have a question about the scope and content of your proposal, contact the relevant person in our Science team.

People we've funded

Anita Thapar

Anita Thapar Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cardiff University Collaborative Awards in Science

Anita Thapar

As a clinical scientist, I believe that it is impossible to do top quality science unless I work with other people who have expertise in different areas.

Jonathan Marchini Professor in Statistical Genomics, University of Oxford  Collaborative Awards in Science

Jonathan Marchini

We needed to bring together our individual expertise and get postdoctoral support. Wellcome’s Collaborative Award allowed us to do that, and offered a lot of flexibility.
More case studiesList of grantholders