Research Bursaries

This scheme supports individuals working on small and medium-scale research projects that focus on library or archive collections supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Postgraduate, Early, Intermediate, Senior, Returning to research

Level of funding:

Usually in the range of £5,000 to £25,000

Duration of funding:


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 twice a year.

October 2016 round

  • Application deadline

    3 October 2016

  • Research Resources Funding Committee meeting

    15 November 2016

Eligibility and suitability

Who can apply

Research Bursaries are for academic researchers, conservators, artists, performers, broadcasters, writers, public engagement practitioners and others working in the creative arts.

If you're an experienced researcher in an established academic post, you should have some publications in an appropriate area.

If you're an experienced or early-career researcher not in an established academic post, you should have a doctorate or clinical qualification. You should also have established a research interest in biomedical science or in the humanities or social sciences (as they relate to medicine).

If you're applying from outside the scholarly community, you'll usually be expected to demonstrate relevant experience and achievements, and to explain the approach you will use to explore your chosen collection.

All projects must:

What we're looking for

We want collections supported by us – Research Resources Grants and those in the Wellcome Library – to be the starting point for your idea. Your research might lead to a wide range of findings, such as: 

  • symposia or academic meetings
  • public lectures
  • journal articles or other publications
  • broadcasts
  • film, TV or radio scripts.

Researchers in the Wellcome Library should be willing to take part in the life of the library and work with library staff as their ideas develop. This may not be the case with collections we support in other organisations. You can discuss your idea with individual organisations. 

Other schemes

Research Resources Grants: Support for libraries and archives

Improving access to health-related library and archive collections across the UK and Republic of Ireland by supporting cataloguing, conservation and digitisation projects.
Full details of Research Resources Grants: Support for libraries and archives

Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science

Helping researchers develop compelling and innovative ideas that may go on to form part of larger grant applications.
Full details of Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science
Scheme finder

What we offer

Research Bursaries are usually in the range of £5,000 to £25,000.

Awards contribute towards expenses incurred in travelling to, and consulting at, libraries or archives in the UK or Republic of Ireland, such as:

  • travel and subsistence

    Travel costs

    You can ask for travel costs to cover essential visits to archives and libraries that are supported through the Research Resources scheme.

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

    Subsistence costs

    We cover the costs of:

    • food and accommodation if you’re working away from your host organisation (or home if you're applying as an individual)
    • any other travel if it's justified.

    We don’t cover the costs of:

    • day trips.

    If you're working overseas or away from your host organisation for up to one month you can ask for subsistence costs.

    These include a daily allowance for living expenses.

    If your host organisation has a subsistence policy, use their rates.

    If your host organisation doesn't have a subsistence policy, please use the HMRC rates.

    You can ask for:

    • outward and return airfares

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

    • freight allowance

      We will pay up to 80kg of additional airline baggage or unaccompanied airline freight for your outward and return journey.

    • health insurance (if you will be based outside the UK or Republic of Ireland)

      Your health insurance should be comprehensive and include emergency evacuation cover (if necessary) for you, your partner and dependent children.

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

    If you're away for more than one month but less than 12 months, you can also ask for:

    • reasonable actual rental costs (instead of subsistence)

    • housing security costs

      You can ask for these if you'll be based in a low- or middle-income country and they are necessary. Costs include guards, panic buttons and alarms. You should ask your employer for advice on the level of costs.

    If you're away for more than one month, receive a salary from an organisation in a low- or middle-income country and will be based in a high-income country, you can also ask for:

    • up to £20 a day to cover any extra costs, eg transport.

  • research expenses
    • salaries

      You can ask for personal support or salary expenses to cover the time you spend on the project. You will need to be able to justify these costs.

    • materials and consumables

      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
      • other items if they are necessary for the project and you can justify them.
    • 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.

If you request personal support or salary expenses, you should provide an explanation in your application.

You should request a level and duration of funding that's appropriate to your career stage, research experience and proposed research.  

What we don’t offer

  • University fees.
  • Travel and visa arrangements.

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

    If you’d like to discuss your ideas, you can contact us before you submit your application.

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

    View the  Sample full application form for Research Bursaries [PDF 1MB].

  2. Review and shortlisting

    The Research Resources Funding Committee reviews and shortlists applications.

  3. Decision

    We'll usually give you a decision within two months of you submitting a full application.


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

October 2016 round

  • Application deadline

    3 October 2016

  • Research Resources Funding Committee meeting

    15 November 2016



You’re studying for a Masters or PhD.


You’re starting your career in postdoctoral research.


You’re consolidating your research career. You lead on research projects and are establishing a research team.


You’re an experienced researcher responsible for the strategic direction of your research programme(s) and team(s).

Returning to research

You’re returning to a research career after a break of two years or more.