Grant funding data 2017 to 2018

This data is about our funding activities up to October 2018. It shows the number and value of awards in our grant portfolio, our grant expenditure, and application and award rates.


  • Our current grant portfolio comprises 3,580 grants worth £4.3 billion.
  • We fund 474 organisations in 97 different countries.
  • 74% of our funding is in the UK and 26% is outside the UK.
  • In the financial year 2017/18 we received over 5,400 applications requesting nearly £3bn in funding.
  • We made 948 awards worth £640 million.

Current portfolio

We fund a wide range of activity intended to improve health.

Chart 1

Area of activity Amount millions
Genomics, genetics and epigenetics1091
Infectious disease and immunobiology1059
Development and ageing717
Neuroscience and mental health547
Population, environment and health428
Cross-area activities291
Cultural and social contexts of health131
Public engagement and education56

Testing footnote

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17% of our grants are for cultural and social contexts of health, public engagement and education. The average value of these awards is lower, so they account for 5% of our total spend.

Grant funding by type

Type Amount millions
Seed funding79

Footnote text here

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40% of our portfolio is personal support grants – Investigator Awards, Fellowships and Studentships.

23% of our portfolio supports places – including core support for the Sanger Institute and the Francis Crick Institute.

30% supports teams.

Applications and awards

In 2017/18 Wellcome received over 5,400 applications requesting nearly £3bn in funding. We made 948 awards worth £640m.

Our annual expenditure fluctuates each year. The amount awarded in 2017/18 is lower than previous years because in the past year we didn't fund any large one-off awards or major recurring five-year initiatives.

Funding amounts by area

Division Funding Type Amount millions
Culture and Society Collaborative and project funding 11.8
Culture and Society Other 6.7
Culture and Society Seed funding 6.2
Culture and Society Strategic grants and initiatives 5.7
Culture and Society Fellowships 5.7
Culture and Society Investigator awards 4.6
Culture and Society Discretionary awards 0.8
Innovations Collaborative and project funding 57.5
Innovations Discretionary awards 2
Other Other 8.7
Priority areas Our Planet Our Health 16.6
Priority areas Vaccines 7
Priority areas Education 6.5
Priority areas Drug-resistant infections 4.4
Priority areas Research ecosystems in Africa and Asia 1.1
Science Strategic grants and initiatives 166.7
Science Investigator awards 101.2
Science Intermediate fellowships 48
Science Collaborative and project funding 45.4
Science Senior fellowships 43
Science Equipment and resources 40.6
Science Early career fellowships 22.9
Science Principal fellowships 15.4
Science Seed funding 6.1
Science Other 3.5
Science Discretionary awards 3.1

Footnote text

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Amount awarded by funding mechanism

Financial YearFunding MechanismAmount millions
2013/14Open competitive349
2013/14Open ring-fenced105
2013/14Long-term strategic investments210
2014/15Open competitive353
2014/15Open ring-fenced115
2014/15Long-term strategic investments427
2015/16Open competitive454
2015/16Open ring-fenced49
2015/16Long-term strategic investments375
2015/16Priority areas4
2016/17Open competitive409
2016/17Open ring-fenced44
2016/17Long-term strategic investments442
2016/17Priority areas246
2017/18Open competitive367
2017/18Open ring-fenced61
2017/18Long-term strategic investments179
2017/18Priority areas34
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Over the past five years, we've spent:

Applications and awards over the past five years

Financial YearFull ApplicationsAwards
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Full application numbers have risen by 19% over the past five years. The numbers change each year as we modify our funding strategies and portfolio of schemes, and hold one-off funding calls.

Award rates by funding division

Financial YearFunding DivisionAward Rate Percentage
2013/14Culture and Society29
2014/15Culture and Society27
2015/16Culture and Society22
2016/17Culture and Society14
2017/18Culture and Society13
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The majority of funding schemes have an award rate of approximately 20% for full applications. Many schemes have a preliminary application stage – up to 50% of these applications don't progress beyond this point.

Overall, award rates have fallen over the past five years. This is largely due to low success rates for three high-volume schemes: Seed Awards in Science, Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science, and Public Engagement grants.

Award rate data only includes applications and awards assessed in competition.

People we fund

We currently support:

  • 477 Investigator Awards
  • 44 Principal Fellowships
  • 138 Senior Fellowships
  • 344 Intermediate Fellowships
  • 230 Early Career Fellowships
  • 1,022 Studentships.

Grantholders by gender

Financial YearGenderGrantholder Percentage
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At all career stages, women and men are equally successful when applying for funding.

Over the past five years, women have received:

  • 40% of awards in Science
  • 59% of awards in Culture and Society
  • 19% of awards in Innovations.

Fewer women than men hold a senior personal award (Senior and Principal Fellowships, Investigator Awards). This is because fewer women apply for them.

Applicant nationality

Financial YearNationalityApplicant Percentage
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The nationality of applicants applying from UK organisations has changed little over the past five years.

76% of Culture and Society applicants, 62% of Science applicants, and 82% of Innovations applicants are British nationals.

Award rates for different nationalities are similar across our schemes.

Applicant ethnicity

EthnicityApplicant Percentage
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For the past three years, 15% of applicants applying from UK organisations classified themselves as black and minority ethnic. The award rates for these applicants has been lower than average. Wellcome's Diversity and Inclusion team is looking at the reasons for this trend.

The proportion of UK-based black and minority ethnic applicants is:

  • 17% in Science
  • 12% in Culture and Society
  • 15% in Innovations.

Applicant disability

DisabilityApplicant Percentage
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For the past three years, 3% of UK-based applicants overall classified themselves as disabled (6% in Culture and Society, 2% in Science and 2% in Innovations).

The award rates for disabled and non-disabled applicants are similar.

Places we fund

Funding by country

CountryFunding Amount
Argentina1m - 10m
Australia10m - 50m
Austria1m - 10m
Bangladesh1m - 10m
Belgium10m - 50m
BeninUp to 1m
BoliviaUp to 1m
Bosnia and HerzegovinaUp to 1m
BotswanaUp to 1m
Brazil1m - 10m
Burkina Faso1m - 10m
Cambodia1m - 10m
Cameroon1m - 10m
Canada1m - 10m
ChadUp to 1m
Chile1m - 10m
China1m - 10m
Colombia1m - 10m
Cote d'Ivoire1m - 10m
CroatiaUp to 1m
Czech Republic1m - 10m
Democratic Republic of Congo1m - 10m
Denmark1m - 10m
EgyptUp to 1m
EstoniaUp to 1m
Ethiopia1m - 10m
Fiji1m - 10m
FinlandUp to 1m
France1m - 10m
French PolynesiaUp to 1m
GabonUp to 1m
Gambia1m - 10m
GeorgiaUp to 1m
Germany10m - 50m
Ghana1m - 10m
GreeceUp to 1m
Guatemala1m - 10m
GuineaUp to 1m
HaitiUp to 1m
HungaryUp to 1m
IcelandUp to 1m
IndiaOver 50m
Indonesia1m - 10m
IranUp to 1m
Ireland10m - 50m
IsraelUp to 1m
Italy1m - 10m
Japan10m - 50m
JordanUp to 1m
KenyaOver 50m
Lao People's Democratic Republic1m - 10m
LebanonUp to 1m
MadagascarUp to 1m
Malawi10m - 50m
MalaysiaUp to 1m
MauritiusUp to 1m
Mexico1m - 10m
MozambiqueUp to 1m
Myanmar1m - 10m
Nepal1m - 10m
Netherlands1m - 10m
New ZealandUp to 1m
Nigeria1m - 10m
NorwayOver 50m
Pakistan1m - 10m
Palestinian TerritoriesUp to 1m
Papua New GuineaUp to 1m
Peru1m - 10m
PhilippinesUp to 1m
Portugal1m - 10m
Russian FederationUp to 1m
RwandaUp to 1m
SenegalUp to 1m
Sierra LeoneUp to 1m
Singapore1m - 10m
South Africa10m - 50m
South KoreaUp to 1m
Spain1m - 10m
Sri LankaUp to 1m
SudanUp to 1m
Sweden1m - 10m
Switzerland10m - 50m
Tanzania1m - 10m
Thailand10m - 50m
Trinidad and TobagoUp to 1m
TunisiaUp to 1m
TurkeyUp to 1m
Uganda10m - 50m
UkraineUp to 1m
United KingdomOver 50m
United StatesOver 50m
Vietnam10m - 50m
Zambia1m - 10m
Zimbabwe1m - 10m
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We currently fund research and other activities in 474 organisations in 97 countries.

Direct and indirect non-UK funding

Effective DateIndirect Amount millionsDirect Amount millionsPercentage non-UK
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26% of our current funding supports research and other activities outside the UK, up from 21% five years ago.

The increase in non-UK funding is largely driven by major initiatives such as CEPI, CARB-X, DELTAS and H3Africa, and by increased investment in our Africa and Asia programmes.

UK organisations with more than £10m in current funding

Organisation Amount millions
University of Oxford615.3
Sanger Institute566.4
University of Cambridge380.1
University College London344.3
Imperial College London180.4
University of Edinburgh170.7
The Francis Crick Institute119.1
King's College London109.4
University of Dundee101.6
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine72.8
University of Manchester70.2
University of Glasgow61.9
University of Bristol57.8
Newcastle University48.1
Cardiff University46.3
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine43.1
EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute)35.2
University of Birmingham33.8
Queen Mary University of London27.5
University of Liverpool26.2
University of Sheffield24.9
University of York24.2
University of Warwick23.5
University of Sussex23
Institute of Cancer Research23
University of Leeds18.8
University of Exeter18.5
Birkbeck University of London16.1
University of Nottingham13.1
Science Museum12.6
University of Southampton12.3
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31 UK organisations receive more than £10m through our current grant funding.

Our Wellcome UK grant funding table 2018 [XLSX 17KB] has high-level information on the number and value of these awards, and the award rates.

Peer review

Peer review requests and reviews received

Financial YearPeer Review RequestsReviews Received
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Over the past five years, the number of applications has risen but the number of written peer review requests we have made has remained stable.

This is because we have reduced the number of schemes that need written peer review and now shortlist most applications before this stage.

Advisory committee membership by gender

Advisory AreaGenderGender Percentage
Culture & SocietyFemale59
Culture & SocietyMale41
Priority areasFemale37
Priority areasMale63
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In 2017/18 we had 483 members on 44 advisory committees:

  • 67% were based in the UK, 9% in Europe and 24% elsewhere
  • 48% were women
  • 14% of those who chose to identified themselves as black and minority ethnic.

More information

This data captures the activities we support through our grants and awards. The figures differ from those in our Annual Report and Financial Statements because they:

  • include full commitment values for awards made as Programme Related Investments
  • exclude directly funded activities, including Wellcome Collection
  • exclude supplements, funds written back and other adjustments.

Full information about our funding each year is in our Annual Report and Financial Statements.