Research Awards for Health Professionals

This scheme offers practising health professionals the opportunity to carry out humanities or social science research, in any area of health.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Postgraduate training, Postdoctoral research

Level of funding:

Salary and research expenses covered

Duration of funding:

Up to 6 months, or up to 3 years

Who can apply

You can apply for a Research Award if you've completed general medical, dental, veterinary, nursing, clinical, or any other professional health training. You should be a practising health professional with some research experience.

You must also have sponsorship from an eligible host organisation in the UK, Republic of Ireland or a low- or middle-income country.

Who can't apply

If you hold a permanent academic post, you're not eligible to apply for this award.

What we're looking for

Your research can address a real-life issue in a professional practice, or be conceptual and/or historical in scope.

When we consider your application, we'll assess:

  • the significance of your proposed research
  • the strength of your approach
  • your track record
  • the suitability of the host environment for your research.

You can use this award for a short period of research, to enrol on a PhD or Master's while maintaining your professional salary, or to undertake postdoctoral research.

What's expected of your host organisation

You must have:

  • a sponsor who holds an established post (or an honorary academic appointment) at your sponsoring organisation and is committed to helping you achieve your career aspirations
  • a supervisor or research mentor who'll offer you advice about your application, research guidance and mentorship throughout the fellowship.

You should give careful thought to your choice of sponsor and supervisor or research mentor. They should have strong track records in research and mentorship.

Your sponsor should not expect you to spend more than eight hours (or two programmed activities) a week on clinical work or other non-research activity.

If you propose to work mainly in a low- or middle-income country, you must identify an eligible training organisation and sponsor in that location.

Other schemes

Doctoral Studentships

Enabling researchers to undertake humanities or social science doctoral degrees in any area of health.
Full details of Doctoral Studentships

Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Science

Supporting postdoctoral researchers in health-related humanities and social sciences who do not hold established academic posts.
Full details of Research Fellowships in Humanities and Social Science

Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science

Helping researchers develop compelling and innovative ideas that will go on to form part of larger grant applications to Wellcome or elsewhere. The current funding round is on the theme of artificial intelligence.
Full details of Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science
Scheme finder

The length of a Research Award is flexible – it can be short-term (typically up to six months) or up to three years. The award can also be held on a part-time basis.

An award will not usually be above £350,000. Support includes:

  • 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.

    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 will automatically increase your salary, based on our current inflation allowance rates.

    Find out more about employing staff.

    Visa, work permit and settled status costs

    If Wellcome is going to pay your salary on the grant, you can ask for visa and work permit 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
    • Immigration Health Surcharge costs for you, your partner and dependent children if you 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 if you can justify these.

    You can also ask for settled status costs if you:

    • are a European Union citizen living in the UK
    • meet the requirements for settled status set by the UK government.

    You can also include these costs for your partner and dependants.

  • 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.

      • In exceptional circumstances, you can ask for funding for a research assistant or technician to work full-time or part-time on your project. This will usually be one post, but 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.

          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 employment of staff.

          We may make a contribution towards the salary of departmental technicians funded by the 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.

      • Visa, work permit and settled status costs

        If you have named researchers on your grant whose salaries will be funded by Wellcome, you can ask for visa or work permit 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 if you can justify these
        • Immigration Health Surcharge costs for the researcher, their partner and dependent children if they will be in the UK for six months or more.

        You can also ask for settled status costs if the named researchers:

        • are European Union citizens living in the UK
        • meet the requirements for settled status set by the UK government.

        You can also include these costs for the researcher’s partner and dependants.

    • We will pay for the materials and consumables you need to carry out your proposed research, including:

      • archival photocopying
      • printing associated with fieldwork and empirical research
      • materials directly related to hosting workshops and interviews.
    • 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 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 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 can ask for travel and subsistence costs to cover:

        • any fieldwork you carry out during the grant
        • essential visits to archives and libraries
        • any collaborative visits for you and any staff employed on your grant.

        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. You’ll need to justify each visit and its duration.

        Conference attendance

        You can ask for a contribution of up to £2,000 a year towards the costs of attending scientific and academic meetings and conferences, including registration fees.

        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.

    • 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.

    • 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 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 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

      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):

      • fieldwork costs, including survey and data collection and statistical analysis
      • 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
      • charge-out costs for major facilities – departmental technical and administrative services, and use of existing equipment
      • indirect costs – this includes general administration costs such as personnel, finance, library, room hire and some departmental services
      • office furniture, such as chairs, desks, filin 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
      • cleaning, waste and other disposal costs
      • radiation protection costs.

If you want to do a PhD, we'll provide:

  • a salary
  • PhD registration fees
  • research expenses
  • general training costs.

You can also apply for any necessary research training as part of your award. 

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).

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

Start your application

If your project involves the digitisation of analogue material – including text, audio and video – for use over the web, please read our Technical guidelines for digitisation projects [PDF 148KB] before you apply.

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 Research Fellowships, University Awards and Research Awards for Health Professionals [PDF 130KB]

    We'll assess your eligibility, suitability and competitiveness. If suitable, we'll invite you to submit a full application.

  2. Submit your full application

    View the Sample full application form for Research Fellowships, University Awards and Research Awards for Health Professionals [PDF 283KB]

  3. Review and shortlisting

    The Medical Humanities Early Career Expert Review Group or the Social Science and Bioethics Early Career Award Expert Review Group will review your application, depending on the area of your proposed research.

    If your full application is successful at this stage, and is for more than £100,000, you'll be invited for interview. If your application is for less than £100,000, the relevant Expert Review Group will make the final funding decision.

  4. External peer review

    We'll seek written comments from external expert reviewers, including members of our Peer Review College. Unattributed comments will be sent to you before your interview.

  5. Interview

    The Medical Humanities Interview Committee or the Social Science and Bioethics Interview Committee will interview shortlisted candidates 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

We consider applications twice a year.

July 2018 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    6 July 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Full application deadline

    20 September 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Shortlisting

    November 2018

  • Interviews

    January 2019

January 2019 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    11 January 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Full application deadline

    28 March 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    May 2019

  • Interviews

    July 2019

Definitions

Postgraduate training

For people who have, or are about to finish, an undergraduate degree and want to go on to do a Master's or PhD.

Postdoctoral research

For researchers with a PhD or equivalent.

Develop your research career

See our other postgraduate training or postdoctoral research schemes.

Key dates

We consider applications twice a year.

July 2018 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    6 July 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Full application deadline

    20 September 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Shortlisting

    November 2018

  • Interviews

    January 2019

January 2019 round

  • Preliminary application deadline

    11 January 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Full application deadline

    28 March 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    May 2019

  • 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, contact the relevant person in our Humanities and Social Science team.

People we've funded

Researcher stories

Read about the career journeys of some of our researchers.

Lucy's story: a journey between different disciplines

Few careers are straightforward. Lucy took two years' break from academia, changed disciplines to return – and became a new parent just as she started her postdoc.