Master's Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine

This scheme provides junior researchers with the opportunity to gain research experience and training at Master's degree level. The scheme aims to support research that will improve public health and tropical medicine at a local, national and global level.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Postgraduate

Where your host organisation is based:

Low- and middle-income countries

Type of researcher:

Public health

Level of funding:

Studentship stipend, fees and research expenses

Duration of funding:

30 months

Contact us

About your eligibility, the application process, funding policies or general queries about grants:

About the scope and content of your proposal only:

About our online application system:

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Getting here

Key dates

We consider applications three times a year.

September 2016 round

  • Application deadline

    2 September 2016 (was 30 August 2016)

  • Decision

    November 2016

People we've funded

Eligibility and suitability

Who can apply

You can apply for a Master's Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine if you:

  • are a national of a low- or middle-income country
  • hold a clinical or non-clinical undergraduate degree in a subject relevant to public health or tropical medicine. 

You must also:

Go to the World Bank website to see a list of low- and middle-income countries.

Who can't apply

You can’t apply if you’re:

What we're looking for

Your research proposal should focus on an area within our public health and tropical medicine remit. Research can include laboratory-based molecular analysis of field or clinical samples, but we don't normally consider projects focused solely on studies in vitro or using animal models.

We’re particularly interested in requests for research training support in the social sciences, demography, health economics, medical statistics and vector biology.

When we consider your application, we'll look at:

  • the quality and importance of your research question(s)
  • the feasibility of your approach to solving these problems
  • the suitability of your choice of research environments
  • the suitability of the Master's course you select – it should take place at a recognised centre of excellence and provide you with training that will complement your research project.

What's expected of your host organisation

You must be based at an eligible host organisation in a low- or middle-income country for the research project. This can be at a not-for-profit host organisation that we have checked for eligibility and that has signed up to our grant conditions.

Your host organisation must submit your application to us. 

Sponsor and supervisor

You should give careful thought to your choice of sponsor and supervisor. Your sponsor should:

  • hold an established post for the duration of the fellowship
  • have an ongoing research programme
  • have a strong track record in research, training and mentorship
  • provide you with guidance during the application process and fellowship.

Your sponsor should not expect you to spend more than eight hours a week on non-research activities (eg clinical duties, teaching or administration).

Your sponsor's support and mentorship should be part of a longer-term commitment to help you achieve your career aspirations.

You should also identify a supervisor who will be responsible for the day-to-day supervision of your research project. We expect you to identify additional supervisors for each period that you spend outside your host organisation, including your taught course.

You can nominate your sponsor as a supervisor, if appropriate.

Other schemes

Training Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Offering research experience and training to early-stage researchers from low- and middle-income countries. The scheme aims to support research that will improve public health and tropical medicine at a local, national and global level.
Full details of Training Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Intermediate Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Helping mid-career researchers from low- and middle-income countries establish independent research programmes in those countries. The scheme aims to support research that will improve public health and tropical medicine at a local, national and global level.
Full details of Intermediate Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Investigator Awards in Science

Offering flexible funding support to researchers at all career stages working on important questions of relevance to our scientific remit.
Full details of Investigator Awards in Science
Scheme finder

What we offer

A Master's Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine is normally for 30 months and can be held on a part-time basis.

The first 12 months should be dedicated to doing a taught Master's course at a recognised centre of excellence anywhere in the world.

The following 18 months is normally for your research project at an eligible organisation in a low- or middle-income country.

Support during the Master's course

The support includes:

  • a stipend

    If your taught course or training is in the UK, you'll get £15,000 a year (outside London) or £17,000 a year (Greater London). If your course or training is outside the UK, you should check living costs with your prospective training organisation. Contact us for advice if you need extra funding (eg for dependants).

  • travel costs (eg outward and return airfares)

  • approved tuition fees, according to the rate charged by the training organisation. We usually provide funds at the level charged to the UK/EU students, rather than the overseas student rate.

We support distance learning Master's degrees.

If your stipend is liable for tax in the country you're based in, we'll provide costs to cover the taxed amount.

Support during the fellowship

The support includes:

  • a basic salary (determined by your host organisation)

    You can only receive one salary. If you already have a salary, your host organisation may use it to pay the person who replaces you.

    We will fund the total cost of your salary for the entire period of the grant.

    You should ask your host organisation to calculate this. It should reflect the skills, responsibilities and expertise needed to carry out the role, and include:

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

    For Year 1 include any known pay awards for this period or an assumed percentage equivalent to our current inflation rate of 1.6% if this hasn’t been confirmed. We will automatically increase your salary from Year 2 onwards, based on our current inflation allowance rates.

    Find out more about employing staff.

    Visa and work permit costs

    If Wellcome is going to pay your salary on the grant, you can ask for visa costs to help you take up the post at your host organisation. You can also ask for:

    • Visa costs for your partner and dependent children.
    • Essential associated costs, such as travel to attend appointments at a visa application centre or embassy. You’ll need to justify this.
  • personal removal expenses

    If you have to move to take up the post at your host organisation, you can ask for £1,000. You'll need to justify this.

  • research expenses, directly related to your proposal
    • staff

      In exceptional circumstances, we will cover the salaries of full or part-time staff to work on your project. They might be:

      • research assistants or technicians employed on your grant
      • staff involved in fieldwork or clinical studies in a low- or middle-income country.
      How to cost salaries for research staff

      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
      • 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 1.6% 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.

      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.
      • Essential associated costs, such as travel to attend appointments at a visa application centre or embassy. You’ll need to justify this. 
    • materials and consumables

      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.
    • animals

      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, but only 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

      Equipment purchase

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

      If you want to request larger items, please contact us before applying.

      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.

      Equipment maintenance

      We will cover maintenance costs for equipment if:

      • you are requesting it in your application
      • it is equipment we have already funded and the original award used to purchase the equipment has ended
      • it is equipment we have already funded, it is over five years old, and it’s cost effective to keep maintaining it
      • it is equipment funded by another source and you are applying from an organisation in a low- or middle-income country.

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

    • access charges

      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.
    • research management and support costs

      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.

      Go to the World Bank website to 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
      • 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 and subsistence

      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.

      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:

      • Fellow – £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.

      Collaborative travel

      We provide travel and subsistence costs for you and any staff employed on your grant for visits to collaborators, and for collaborators to visit your laboratory. You’ll need to justify each visit and its duration.

      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.

    • overseas allowances

      If you or any staff will be spending 12 months or more in another country, we’ll help you with the costs of working on the project overseas.

      Our overseas allowances are based 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.

      We have 2 categories of allowances for this scheme:

      1. You are employed in the UK and will be working in a low- or middle-income country, including one of our Major Overseas Programmes (MOPs)

      You need to provide the following costs, as accurately as possible.

      • outward and return airfares

        We will pay the airfares at the beginning and end of your time abroad, for you, your partner and dependent children. All flights should be economy class.  

      • freight allowance up to £8,000 (£4,000 each way)

      • BUPA Worldwide Medical Insurance with the Option of Worldwide Medical Plus, including emergency evacuation cover for you and your family

      • visa/vaccination costs and anti-malarial treatment for you, your partner and dependent children

      • a contribution towards housing costs

        Up to:

        • £3,000 a year if you are single
        • £4,000 a year if your partner is travelling with you
        • £5,000 a year if your children are travelling with you

        If you will be working at one of the MOPs you can ask for a higher contribution. You should ask the MOP administrators for advice on the level of costs you can ask for.

      • housing security costs

      • education allowance

        We will give you an education allowance if you will:

        • have dependent children travelling with you 
        • be working in a location where there isn’t a free education in English of the same standard as the UK.

        The allowance covers:

        • 90% of nursery school fees for 3 to 4 year olds up to a maximum of 15 hours a week
        • 90% of local junior school fees
        • 90% of local secondary school fees
        • 90% of UK boarding school fees if both parents and/or guardians will be living outside the UK                   
        • economy class return airfares for any children at a UK boarding school, at the beginning and end of each school term.

        The allowance doesn’t cover:

        • education costs for your children over the age of 18, once they have finished secondary school, eg university fees.
      • annual leave airfares

        If you are spending two or more years in another country, we’ll pay a contribution towards annual leave airfares for you, your partner and dependent children to return to the UK.

        The number of return flights we’ll pay for depends on how long you’ll be spending overseas:

        • 24-35 months: 1 annual leave flight
        • 36-47 months: 2 annual leave flights
        • 48-59 months: 3 annual leave flights

        Flights should be economy class.

      2. You are employed in the UK and will be working in a high-income country

      You need to provide the costs for outward and return airfares, health insurance and education allowance if you need them. These should be as accurate as possible. We will work out the other costs.

      • outward and return airfares

        Your funds can cover the airfares at the beginning and end of your time abroad, for you, your partner and dependent children. All flights should be economy class.  

      • freight allowance up to £8,000 (£4,000 each way)

      • BUPA Worldwide Medical Insurance with the Option of Worldwide Medical Plus for you and your family

      • a contribution of £200 towards visa/vaccination costs for you, your partner and dependent children

      • a contribution towards housing costs

        Up to:

        • £3,000 a year if you are single
        • £4,000 a year if your partner is travelling with you
        • £5,000 a year if your children are travelling with you
      • education allowance

        You can use the funds to cover an education allowance if you will:

        • have dependent children travelling with you 
        • be working in a location where there isn’t a free education in English of the same standard as the UK.

        The allowance can cover:

        • 90% of nursery school fees for 3 to 4 year olds up to a maximum of 15 hours a week
        • 90% of local junior school fees
        • 90% of local secondary school fees
        • 90% of UK boarding school fees if both parents and/or guardians will be living outside the UK                   
        • economy class return airfares for any children at a UK boarding school, at the beginning and end of each school term.

        The allowance can't cover education costs:

        • if you'll be working in an English-speaking high-income country as you will usually have access to suitable public/state schools for your children
        • education costs for your children over the age of 18, once they have finished secondary school, eg university fees.
      • annual leave airfares

        If you are spending two or more years in another country, you can use some of your funds towards annual leave airfares for you, your partner and dependent children to return to the UK.

        The rates are:

        • £500 a year if you are single
        • £1,000 a year if your partner is travelling with you
        • £1,300 a year if your children are travelling with you

        The number of return flights it can cover depends on how long you’ll be spending overseas:

        • 24-35 months: 1 annual leave flight
        • 36-47 months: 2 annual leave flights
        • 48-59 months: 3 annual leave flights

        Flights should be economy class.

    • fieldwork expenses

      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.

    • Flexible Funding Allowance

      Your grant includes a Flexible Funding Allowance (FFA), which you can use to pay for unanticipated costs. These can include directly incurred costs of your research, such as:

      • consumables, animals or equipment
      • the actual salary costs of people supported on your award
      • extending the award by a short period
      • page charges and/or costs for colour prints in journals (charges not related to the cost of making a paper compliant with our open access policy).

      You don’t have to apply for an FFA. We calculate it and add it to your award.

      The FFA is 2.5% of your total eligible costs and does not include an inflation allowance. It is capped at £50,000.

    • inflation allowance

      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. If the costs in your application are in pounds sterling, euros or US dollars, you’ll receive the following allowance:

      Award duration         Inflation allowance
        (in months)                  
             0-12                           0.0%
           13-24                           0.8%
           25-36                           1.6%  
           37-48                           2.4%
           49-60                           3.3%
           61-72                           4.1%
           73-84                           4.9%   

      These rates are calculated using compound inflation at 1.6% 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.

    • publication costs

      The Flexible Funding Allowance can be used to fund the 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 your 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

      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.

      We don’t cover open access article processing charges.

    • other costs

      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
      • 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 delivering data management and sharing plans
      • 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*
      • 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 guidance [PDF 26KB] on the types of costs that can/cannot be charged on biomedical science research grants.

What we don’t offer

We don't fund on a proportion of full economic costs in UK universities.

How to apply

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

Start your application

Stages of application

  1. Submit your full application

    View a sample full application form for Master's Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine [PDF 2.2MB].

    We may take up to three to four months to consider your full application.

  2. Shortlisting

    The Public Health and Tropical Medicine Interview Committee will shortlist applications.

  3. Review by interview committee

    The Public Health and Tropical Medicine Interview Committee will review your application and make the final decision. There are no interviews for these fellowships. If successful, you must take up the fellowship within one year of the award.

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.

September 2016 round

  • Application deadline

    2 September 2016 (was 30 August 2016)

  • Decision

    November 2016

Definitions

Postgraduate

You’re studying for a Masters or PhD.

Low- and middle-income countries

Low-income, lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income countries, as defined by the World Bank

Public health