Postdoctoral research

If you have a PhD or equivalent, or you’re about to finish one, you can apply for our postdoctoral research funding in biomedical science, population health or humanities and social science. You don't need a PhD to apply for an International Training Fellowship.

    During postdoctoral research

    During this stage in your research career, you’ll be guided by more experienced researchers while you:

    • consolidate your research skills and experience
    • explore new research areas
    • experience new research environments
    • develop your independence
    • expand your network of collaborators
    • deliver research contributions, eg publications or policy-related work.

    Qualifications, skills and experience you'll need

    To get funding for postdoctoral research, you should usually have, or expect to have, a PhD or equivalent. 

    You may also have some initial postdoctoral experience. 

    You should have:

    • started to make significant contributions to research
    • developed your own research ideas
    • delivered previous research projects
    • established collaborations.

    You'll need to be able to describe your long-term research vision beyond this career stage.

    Researcher stories

    Read about the career journeys of some of our researchers.

    Lucy Series

    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.

    Albert Antolin

    Albert's story: a search for the ideal research environment

    Albert always knew the type of research he wanted to do. But to find the right research environment he had to move from industry to academia, and to a new country.

    Ben Brown

    Ben's story: clinician, scientist and entrepreneur

    Ben has always had a strong sense of what he wants to do. But as a clinician, he had to find ways to balance research with medical training and clinical practice.

    Our funding in biomedical science and population health research

    • Funding scheme

      Clinical Research Career Development Fellowships

      Enabling clinically active healthcare professionals to continue their research at postdoctoral level and develop scientific independence. 

    • Funding scheme

      Daniel Turnberg Travel Fellowships

      Offering short-term funding for biomedical researchers to travel between the UK and the Middle East to learn new techniques and develop academic collaborations.

    • Funding scheme

      Innovator Awards

      Supporting researchers who are transforming great ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health.

    • Funding scheme

      Research Career Re-entry Fellowships

      Offering postdoctoral research scientists the opportunity to re-establish their scientific careers after a continuous break from research of at least two years.

    • Funding scheme

      Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships

      Offering recently qualified postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to start independent research careers, working in some of the best research environments in the world.

    • Funding scheme

      Springboard Awards

      Providing small grants to support basic biomedical scientists as they develop their independent research careers. The scheme is a collaboration between the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) and the Wellcome Trust.

    • Funding scheme

      International Training Fellowships

      Offering nationals of low- and middle-income countries the opportunity to receive training at postgraduate or postdoctoral level.

    Our funding in humanities and social science

    After postdoctoral research

    If you want to continue your career in research, you should be ready to lead your own independent research programme. There are a number of possible options, including as a:

    • fellow leading a research programme (eg funded by a charity, research council or a university)
    • lecturer or other academic post
    • core-funded group leader (short-term or tenured)
    • researcher in sectors outside of academia, eg industry, policy.

    If you decide not to pursue a career in research, there are many options open to you. You’ll have transferable skills that you can use in roles related to research or outside of research, eg in industry or teaching.

    Or you can move between research and other professions at different stages in your career.

    Find out more about the next stage in a research career: leading a research programme.

    Overview of our schemes that support careers in research

    How we support research careers

    Besides our funding schemes, we work in many ways to support careers in research.

    Flexible careers

    We understand that different people choose different career paths, so we want to provide flexible research career opportunities.

    Tips for running your own research group

    A career in research [PDF 914KB] has useful resources about everything from negotiating a start-up package to building an international reputation.

    Other funding opportunities

    View and compare biomedical research funding schemes offered by Wellcome and seven other UK funders on the Medical Research Council website.