Human Infection Studies for Vaccine Development

This scheme supports teams of researchers working on human infection studies in low- and middle-income countries. The aim is to accelerate vaccine development. 

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Leading a research programme

Where your host organisation is based:

Low- or middle-income countries

Type of researcher:

Basic, Clinical

Level of funding:

£3 million to £5 million

Duration of funding:

Up to 5 years

Who can apply

You can apply for this award if you are part of a team of researchers who want to accelerate vaccine development in a disease-endemic area. 

We're looking for teams who want to establish or expand a human infection study. Human infection studies involve volunteers who are willing to be infected with disease-causing microbes in a safe and controlled environment.

The lead applicant must be based at an eligible organisation in a low- or middle-income country and have a proven track record in clinical trials.

Coapplicants can be based anywhere in the world. They should have experience in clinical trials and human infection studies.

We particularly encourage collaborations between: 

  • lead applicants based in endemic countries and coapplicants who have already established successful human infection studies in non-endemic countries
  • academic, industrial and product development partnership groups. 

Your research programme

Your programme must aim to:

  • address health challenges relevant to people in low- or middle-income countries
  • remove barriers to vaccine development
  • develop vaccines so that they can be licensed, for example by accelerating promising vaccine candidates or discarding those with a higher risk of failure.

You should be able to provide evidence that there are no legal barriers to conducting the human infection study in the country you propose to work in.

You must be able to accept our standard grant conditions.

Clinical study sites

It's essential that your proposed site has the clinical facilities you need to carry out the research.
 
Your clinical study site must:

  • have robust ethical and regulatory oversight through Research Ethics Committees and a National Regulatory Agency, and comply with any standards that are set
  • conform to ICH-GCP guidelines, or equivalent. 

If the National Regulatory Agency lacks the experience to assess the human infection study, you must state this in your preliminary application. Include the steps you'll take to comply with ethical and regulatory standards before and during the programme. 

If your preliminary application is shortlisted, we may carry out due diligence checks (including site visits). If these raise any issues, you can address them in your full application form. 

Diseases

Your proposal should focus on a disease that is a priority in the low- or middle-income country where the programme is based. It should also be strongly driven by the needs of the endemic population. 

We are particularly interested in proposals that focus on the following pathogens: 

  • Cryptosporidium
  • Rotavirus (live attenuated vaccine studies are acceptable) 
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Enterotoxigenic E. coli 
  • S. paratyphi 
  • Shigella 
  • Dengue 
  • Leishmania spp. 
  • Schistosoma spp. 
  • N. Americanus 
  • Group A Streptococcus (GAS) 
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB)

We'll also consider other diseases. If you want to focus on a disease that is not listed above, email a brief explanation to vaccines@wellcome.ac.uk and we'll contact you.

Your proposal

We will assess:

  • the scope of your proposal and how the study will remove barriers to vaccine development
  • the track records of all team members, relative to their career stage
  • any ethical or regulatory issues in the low- or middle-income country that may affect your study 
  • the safety of participants in the study
  • the feasibility of your study
  • your plans for engaging with policy makers, local communities and other relevant stakeholders before, during and after the research programme
  • your plans for managing any risks related to the study.

Each award offers £3 million to £5 million for up to 5 years.

You should ask for a level and duration of funding that’s justifiable for your proposed research.

Our support includes:

    • We will cover the salary costs of all staff, full or part time, who will work on your grant. Staff members may include research assistants, technicians, fieldworkers or clinical staff employed on your grant.

      If you hold an academic or research post but have to get your salary from external grant funding, you can ask for costs to cover this. Your employing organisation must confirm that:

      • your salary must come from external grant funding
      • the amount of salary you're asking for is proportionate to the amount of time you will spend on the grant.

      Your organisation must provide this information with your full application form.

      • 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.

        From Year 2 onwards, you should use your organisation’s current pay rates. We’ll provide a separate inflation allowance for salary inflation costs.

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

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

  • 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.
  • 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 Wellcome 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 and your grant will be directly awarded to that organisation,

    or

    • part of your grant will be sub-contracted to an organisation in a low- or middle-income country.

    We don't cover these costs if your host organisation will include the sub-contracted funding in its annual report to the UK Charity Research Support Fund.

    They can 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.

    The total research management and support costs should not be more than 20% of the direct research costs you're requesting.

    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 for your research
    • include a letter from the finance director of your host organisation with your application, confirming that the breakdown is 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. Please contact us if you need help calculating the costs.

      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 our clinical trials policy.

  • 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.

    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)
    • ethics reviews, unless you are in a low- or middle-income country
    • radiation protection costs.

    Costs grantholders can claim 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 fund overheads unless they're included on this page (eg research management and support costs).

In addition, we don't provide:

  • more than £10,000 for refurbishing the clinical facility – costs should be directly related to the human infection study 
  • salary costs for any applicants or staff who are already funded by their organisation. 

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

Start your application

Stages of application

  1. Contact us

    We encourage you discuss your ideas with us before submitting a preliminary application. Please email vaccines@wellcome.ac.uk and we’ll contact you.

  2. Submit your preliminary application

    You must submit your preliminary application through Grant Tracker

    View the  Sample preliminary application form for Human Infection Studies for Vaccine Development [PDF 109KB]  

    ‘Details of proposal’ section
    In the ‘Details of proposal’ section, provide the following information in no more than 1,800 words:

    • global burden of the disease that you want to address and the unmet healthcare need
    • target population(s) you want to reach and the impact that vaccine development could have on their health
    • how these studies will improve new or existing vaccine design for the relevant populations
    • relevance of the proposed model and challenge strain(s) 
    • how you'll support best practice and consistency across other studies, for example by sharing knowledge, data and samples
    • suitability of the study site, including local need and expertise
    • total funding amount you need for your human infection study programme.

    ‘Costs requested and justification’ section
    In the 'Costs requested and justification' section, you can ask for an amount of money – up to £30,000 – that you'll use to develop a full application if you're shortlisted. This money can be used for holding initial conversations with stakeholders and collaborators. 

    Please don't request any other costs in this section.  If you're shortlisted, you'll be asked to give a detailed cost breakdown of the human infection study programme in your full application form. 

  3. Scientific review and shortlisting

    Wellcome staff and external experts will assess your proposal's suitability and competitiveness. If you're shortlisted, you'll be asked to develop and submit a full application and attend an interview in July 2019.

  4. Develop your full application

    We may send a representative to any meetings you have during this stage.

  5. Submit your full application

    You must submit your full application on Grant Tracker.

    View the  Sample full application form for Human Infection Studies for Vaccine Development [PDF 256KB]

  6. Interview

    You'll be asked to make a ten-minute presentation to the Vaccines Advisory Panel. This will be followed by questions from the panel.

    Interviews take place at the Wellcome offices in London.

Disabled applicants

If you are disabled or have a chronic health condition, we can support you with the application process.

Dates

You must submit your application by 17:00 GMT on the deadline day. We don’t accept late applications.

  • Preliminary application deadline

    7 January 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    February 2019

  • Development stage

    March to June 2019

  • Full application deadline

    June 2019 (to be confirmed)

  • Interviews

    July 2019

Definitions

Leading a research programme

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

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.

Key dates

This is a one-off scheme.

  • Preliminary application deadline

    7 January 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    February 2019

  • Development stage

    March to June 2019

  • Full application deadline

    June 2019 (to be confirmed)

  • Interviews

    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, email