Research on Research Awards

These awards are for researchers who use a range of interdisciplinary methods to understand and improve how research is funded, practiced and evaluated, also known as research on research.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Postdoctoral research, Leading a research programme, Returning to research

Where your host organisation is based:

UK, Republic of Ireland, Low- or middle-income countries

Level of funding:

Between £50,000 and £250,000

Duration of funding:

6 to 24 months

Who can apply

You can apply if you have a proposal on the funding, practice or evaluation of research. Your proposal should investigate key questions or explore knowledge gaps.

You must:

The award is open to applicants with or without established academic posts.

Research proposal

Research on the practice of research (known as research on research) is an evolving discipline that uses a range of interdisciplinary methods to understand and improve how research is funded, practiced and evaluated. It takes an evidence-led approach that seeks to maximise the efficiency, effectiveness, fairness and impact of research.

We are inviting proposals that will investigate key questions or explore knowledge gaps on the funding, practice or evaluation of research.

We particularly encourage projects and activities that promote all or some of the following:

  • interdisciplinary approaches
  • applying findings to funding policy or practice
  • innovative methods.

We welcome proposals across a range of activities, including but not limited to:​

  • pilot and scoping studies
  • preliminary data gathering
  • proof-of-principle studies
  • systematic reviews.

Research on Research Awards are between £50,000 and £250,000 and can last from 6 to 24 months.

We'll pay your salary if you don’t have an established academic post or other salaried role.

All costs must be fully justified. Support can include:

  • If you don’t hold an established academic post, we’ll pay your salary.

    If you do, you can ask for funds for research or teaching replacement to cover the cost of a temporary replacement lecturer. Costs:

    • can cover up to 40% of your contracted time
    • are usually for someone more junior than you
    • can be spread across the full period of your grant.
      • You can ask for salary costs of all staff, full or part time, who will work on your project and whose time can be supported by a full audit trail. Staff members typically include research assistants, public engagement officers or a consultant employed on your grant. 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, which should include any statutory obligations (eg National Insurance contributions if they’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.

          Find out more about the 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.
        • 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. 
    • 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 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 (you can't ask for a percentage of the research costs)
      • 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 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.

        Collaborative travel

        You can ask for travel and subsistence costs for collaborative visits for you and any staff employed on your grant. You’ll need to justify each visit and its duration.

        Other travel

        We may also pay for:

        • essential visits to facilities, archives and libraries
        • sample collection and fieldwork.

        You can include subsistence costs. You’ll need to justify these 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.

    • You can ask for costs for 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 the 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.

    • 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
      • computing, including recurrent costs dedicated to the project (eg software licences)
      • formal transferable skills and personal development training, in addition to what we'd expect your organisation to provide.

      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, 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
      • radiation protection costs.
  • You can ask us to cover the costs of attending relevant scientific and academic meetings. Costs can include registration fees and travel expenses.

    You can also ask for a contribution towards the cost of hosting a conference (or a session within a conference), symposia or seminar series, if it’s for research purposes (eg data gathering) or to disseminate the findings from your research. The meeting should normally be based in the UK or Republic of Ireland and can include:

    • travel and accommodation for keynote speakers
    • room hire and catering
    • event publicity
    • conference pack publication, including name badges
    • any reasonably justified associated expenses.

What we don’t offer

Research on Research Awards cannot be used to:

  • top up existing grants
  • fund part of a PhD or Master’s course
  • write up publications from previous awards and qualifications.

We don't provide funds for directly allocated or indirect costs unless they're included on this page.

Stages of application

  1. Submit your concept note

    Complete the Research on Research Awards concept note [DOCX 84KB] and email it to RoR@wellcome.ac.uk by midnight on 30 May 2018. 

  2. Submit your invited full application

    If we invite you to submit a full application, you must do it through Grant Tracker.

  3. Review and decision

    A committee of internal and external experts will assess the invited full applications. We don’t provide applicants with the names of committee members as they are selected after the applications have been reviewed by Wellcome staff. They will be specialists in the research areas of the applications we receive.

    There are no interviews. We aim to give you a decision within nine weeks of the full application deadline.

    In general, we don’t give unsuccessful candidates detailed written feedback.

Dates

Research on research - 2018

  • Concept note deadline

    30 May 2018

  • Full application deadline (by invite)

    8 August 2018

  • Decision

    October 2018

Definitions

Postdoctoral research

For researchers with a PhD or equivalent.

Leading a research programme

For researchers with a PhD or the equivalent, and significant postdoctoral research experience.

Returning to research

For people who want to return to a research career after a break of two years or more.

UK
Republic of Ireland
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).

Key dates

Research on research - 2018

  • Concept note deadline

    30 May 2018

  • Full application deadline (by invite)

    8 August 2018

  • Decision

    October 2018

Contact us

Email RoR@wellcome.ac.uk if you have any questions.