Multi-user Equipment Grants

These grants provide support for multi-user items of equipment.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Leading a research programme

Where your host organisation is based:

UK, Low- or middle-income countries

Type of researcher:

Basic, Clinical, Public health

Level of funding:

£100,000 to £1 million

Duration of funding:

Up to 5 years

Who can apply

You can apply for a grant if you, and any coapplicants, have:

  • an academic or research post (or the equivalent)
  • a track record in getting grant funding
  • a salary already in place for the duration of the award period.

Any coapplicants who don’t have salary support for the duration of the grant are eligible to apply if they have at least one year’s personal salary support at the proposed start date of the grant.

If you’ve already been unsuccessful with a full application for this scheme, please contact us before you apply again.

What we're looking for

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

  • how the proposed equipment will directly benefit your research and that of others 
  • your track record 
  • your host organisation’s financial contribution 
  • evidence of demand for the equipment
  • whether you’ve considered that similar equipment may be available locally/nationally
  • pilot data showing the suitability of the equipment
  • management and sustainability plans
  • expertise in operating the equipment
  • the cost of the equipment (including manufacturer discounts)
  • added value for Wellcome Trust-funded research.

What's expected of your host organisation

Your host organisation must provide a supporting statement that outlines:

  • how the equipment will contribute to their overall research strategy
  • their contribution towards the equipment (financial or otherwise).

Host organisation’s contribution

Your host organisation should contribute at least 25 per cent towards the cost of the equipment. Contributions can include support in-kind as well as money, such as the provision of a key support post.

Additional contributions

If a significant proportion of potential users are not funded by us, you should get a contribution from an alternative source.

Other schemes

Biomedical Resource and Technology Development Grants

Providing support for researchers who want to establish or maintain biomedical resources (including databases and collections) for the benefit of the wider scientific community.
Full details of Biomedical Resource and Technology Development Grants

Longitudinal Population Study Grants

Providing support for researchers who want to establish or maintain longitudinal population studies (LPS) for the benefit of the wider scientific community.
Full details of Longitudinal Population Study Grants
Scheme finder

A Multi-user Equipment Grant offers up to five years of support. We don't usually consider applications that ask for less than £100,000 or more than £1 million. Please contact us for more details.

Expenses may include:

    • We will cover the salary costs of all staff, full or part time, who will run the equipment and/or manage it.

      We won’t cover the salaries of research personnel.

      We don't provide studentship stipends.

      If you’re doing fieldwork or clinical studies in a low- or middle-income country, we’ll consider requests for more 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
        • 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. 
  • Equipment purchase

    You can ask for items of equipment that are essential to your proposed research project.

    Costs may include:

    • purchase, delivery and installation
    • maintenance and training
    • minor refurbishment if the new equipment needs specialised housing.

    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 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.

  • 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
    • 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.
  • We will add an inflation allowance to your award if you're asking for salary costs for staff.

    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 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

    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.

  • 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.

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.

If you move to a different organisation after you've been awarded a Multi-user Equipment Grant, the equipment must remain at the organisation to which it was awarded.

What we don’t offer

A grant doesn’t include:

  • capital build costs
  • travel allowance
  • project consumables.

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

  1. Submit your preliminary application

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

    View the sample preliminary application form for Multi-user Equipment Grants [PDF 451KB]

    We’ll assess your eligibility and suitability and give you a decision within four weeks of the preliminary deadline. If suitable, we’ll invite you to submit a full application.

  2. Submit your full application

    View the sample full application form for Multi-user Equipment Grants [PDF 2.1MB].

  3. External peer review

    We’ll seek comments from external expert referees. Unattributed comments will be sent to you before the committee meeting.

  4. Decision

    The Multi-user Equipment Committee will review your full application.

    We aim to notify you of our decision within four weeks of the committee meeting.


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

January 2018 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    12 January 2018, 17:00 GMT

  • Full application deadline

    6 April 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Committee review

    5 July 2018

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.


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).


You're not a clinically qualified researcher.


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

Public health

Key dates

We consider applications once a year.

January 2018 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    12 January 2018, 17:00 GMT

  • Full application deadline

    6 April 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Committee review

    5 July 2018

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