Clinical Research Career Development Fellowships

This scheme enables medical, dental, veterinary and clinical psychology graduates to continue their research at postdoctoral level and develop scientific independence. It provides support for up to eight years and the flexibility to balance research and clinical responsibilities.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

  • ,

Where your host organisation is based:

  • UK,
  • Republic of Ireland

Type of researcher:

  • ,
  • Public health

Level of funding:

Up to £1 million for each phase

Duration of funding:

Up to 8 years

Who can apply

You can apply for a Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship if you want a clinical academic career and you’ve completed your thesis for a higher degree (preferably a PhD). 

If you're currently writing your thesis, you must have submitted it by the full application deadline. 

You must have sponsorship from an eligible host organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

All applicants, including those based outside the UK, must have the following at the point when they apply:

  • medical and dental candidates must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) with a licence to practise 
  • veterinary candidates must have a degree in veterinary medicine (eg BVSc, BVM&S, BVMS, BVetMed or VetMB), be registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and have some experience in clinical practice
  • clinical psychology candidates must have a professional doctorate-level qualification in clinical psychology accredited by the British Psychological Society and be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.

If you're applying to work in the Republic of Ireland, you must be registered with the relevant Irish regulatory bodies. 

Honorary clinical contract 

When you apply, you should have an honorary clinical contract with a healthcare organisation so that you can maintain your clinical skills during the proposed fellowship. This also applies to applicants based outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland. 

If you don't have an honorary clinical contract, you must tell us in your application how you will get this by the time you take up the fellowship. You must also provide a letter of guarantee when you apply.

Medical and dental training 

At the time of application, medical and dental candidates should have: 

  • a national training number (NTN) and be enrolled on a recognised UK training programme 


  • a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), or the equivalent. 

If you don't have these, you must tell us in your application how you'll get them by the time you take up the fellowship. You must provide us with letters of guarantee when you apply.

Currently doing clinical training

You can tailor your fellowship to combine clinical training with your research. If you want to start this fellowship before you've completed clinical training, you must tell us in your application how you’ll manage both commitments. 

If you're currently in clinical training outside the UK, and will not have completed your training by the time your fellowship begins, please contact us before you apply to discuss your plans.

Your fellowship proposal

We will review:

  • the strength of your track record in research relative to your career stage, eg publications, patents, software development or an impact on policy.
  • the quality and importance of your research question(s) 
  • how your research question will take you to the next stage of your career 
  • your knowledge of the scientific area
  • the feasibility of your proposal, including any preliminary data
  • the suitability of your research environment(s), and research sponsor(s) where relevant
  • your vision of how this fellowship will contribute to your career development
  • your potential to become a research leader in your field.

Time spent away from research

If you've been away from research (eg for a career break, maternity leave, or long-term sick leave), we'll allow for this when we consider your application. We also allow for time spent doing clinical training.

More information about eligibility

For more information, read our FAQs and watch a YouTube Q&A session (both available in the 'How to apply' section below).

We encourage you to discuss your plans with us during the application process, particularly if you're based outside the UK.

Stage 1 and Stage 2

A Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship is split into two stages, related to your experience.

Stage 1. Exploration and consolidation

If you're an early postdoctoral researcher, you can apply for an initial phase of funding that provides research expenses and salary support. This will help you to: 

  • consolidate your research skills and experience
  • explore new areas of research
  • develop your long-term career aims.

At the end of stage 1, you should be able to show that you have:

  • the research maturity to lead a creative, independent research programme
  • the potential to be an independent leader in your area of research.

Stage 2. Early independence

To apply for a stage 2 fellowship, you must show that you are ready to lead a creative, independent research programme. 

Stage 2 funding can include support for a postdoctoral research assistant, nurse or technician.

At the end of stage 2, you should:

  • have achieved international standing in your area of research
  • be leading your own research programme.

Progression from stage 1 to stage 2

Progression from stage 1 to stage 2 involves a formal application and competitive interview. This process, called the 'gate', is flexible because there is no set duration for each stage.

When you apply to stage 1, you'll need to estimate when you intend to apply to stage 2. Depending on your progress, you may want to apply earlier. For those holding the fellowship full time:

  • neither stage can be held for longer than 5 years
  • the total length of the fellowship can’t exceed 8 years.

Candidates who are ready to lead an independent research programme can apply for stage 2 without doing stage 1 first.

Who can't apply

You can’t usually apply if you:

  • hold, or have held, a nationally competitive fellowship at an equivalent level, supported by another UK funding body
  • hold an established academic post (although we're willing to consider an application if you can justify moving to a different organisation)
  • are currently applying for another Wellcome Trust fellowship.

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

What's expected of your host organisation

Your fellowship must be held at an eligible host organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

If you are still in clinical training, it's important that the dean of your medical school, postgraduate medical dean and clinical academic training lead are all in agreement with your proposed fellowship plan, particularly the integration of the clinical training and research elements. 

You should identify a sponsor at the host organisation who:

  • holds an established post (or an honorary academic appointment) for the duration of the fellowship
  • possesses a strong track record in research and mentoring, and is committed to supporting your development as an independent researcher
  • is willing to provide guidance during the application process as well as support throughout the fellowship.

You should also identify a research sponsor at every additional research organisation you propose to work in. They must be able to provide relevant scientific guidance during the award.

Your sponsor and host organisation must guarantee that you'll get the space and resources you need. This must be agreed at the application stage and made available from the start date through to the end date of your award.

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.

Other schemes

Starter Grants for Clinical Lecturers

Providing small grants to enable clinical lecturers to pursue their research work, gather preliminary data and strengthen their applications for longer-term fellowships and funding.
Full details of Starter Grants for Clinical Lecturers

Senior Research Fellowships

Supporting independent researchers who want to tackle the most important questions in science and who are leaders in their field.
Full details of Senior Research Fellowships
Scheme finder

The Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship provides funding for up to eight years in total.

In most cases:

  • stage 1 funding will range from £80,000 to £140,000 a year
  • stage 2 funding will range from £160,000 to £250,000 a year.

Support can include:

  • 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.

    The relevant training authority will be expected to fund your salary during any formal clinical training you do. If you hold - or are awarded - an Honorary Clinical Contract, we'll consider a salary at consultant level.

    From Year 2 onwards, we will automatically increase your salary, based on our current inflation allowance rates.

    We will also provide:

    • a fellowship supplement of £7,500 a year if you are a veterinary graduate who will be paid on a non-clinical salary scale
    • the extra employer's contributions needed to cover the supplement.

    The supplement is fixed. It won’t be increased each year.

    Find out more about fellows working on a Wellcome grant.

    Visa, work permit and settled status costs

    If Wellcome is going to pay your salary on the grant, you can ask for visa 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.

  • funding for one research post (postdoctoral research assistant, nurse, or technician) at stage 2.

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.

Fellowships may be held on a part-time basis.

If you’re awarded this fellowship

If you’re from outside the European Economic Area, and your host organisation is in the UK, you're guaranteed an endorsement of a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa application. 

Each year we award Wellcome-Beit Prizes to our most promising fellows who are starting to lead their own independent research programmes. We provide £25,000 to each fellow, to use in their research.

What we don’t offer

We don’t provide funding for clinical examination or course fees.

We don't fund overheads.

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

Start your application

Stages of application

  1. Before you apply

    Read our  FAQs for Clinical Research Careers Development Fellowships [PDF 392KB]

    Watch a YouTube Q&A session about this fellowship.

  2. Submit your full application to your host organisation for approval

    Complete the full application form on Grant Tracker. Submit it to the 'authorised organisational approver' at your host organisation for approval. Make sure you leave enough time for the approver to review and submit your application before the deadline. The approver may ask you to make changes to your application.

    View the  Sample full application form for Clinical Research Career Development Fellowships [PDF 292KB]

    If your proposal involves clinical research using NHS resources, check if you need to upload a SoECAT form with your full application.

  3. Host organisation reviews your application and submits it to us

    Your application must be submitted by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the deadline day.

  4. Scientific review and shortlisting

    The Clinical Interview Committee will review your application. We’ll let you know within two weeks of the committee meeting if you’ve been selected for an interview.

  5. External peer review

    We’ll seek written comments from external expert reviewers. If successful, we will invite you for an interview. We'll give you at least two weeks' notice and send you unattributed comments from the external peer review.

  6. Interview

    The Clinical Interview Committee interviews candidates for stage 1 and stage 2 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.


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.

February 2019 round

  • Full application deadline

    11 February 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    March 2019

  • Interviews

    3–4 June 2019

August 2019 round

The application form will be available on WTGT in May 2019.

  • Full application deadline

    6 August 2019, 17:00 BST

  • Shortlisting

    September 2019

  • Interviews

    10–11 December 2019

Develop your research career

See our other schemes for researchers who are interested in postdoctoral research or leading a research programme.

Key dates

We consider applications twice a year.

February 2019 round

  • Full application deadline

    11 February 2019, 17:00 GMT

  • Shortlisting

    March 2019

  • Interviews

    3–4 June 2019

August 2019 round

The application form will be available on WTGT in May 2019.

  • Full application deadline

    6 August 2019, 17:00 BST

  • Shortlisting

    September 2019

  • Interviews

    10–11 December 2019

Grants awarded

Find out about some of the people and projects we've funded for this scheme.

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.

Researcher stories

Read about the career journeys of some of our researchers.