International Master’s Fellowships
This scheme offers nationals of low- and middle-income countries the opportunity to receive training at Master’s degree level.
Scheme at a glance
For people who have, or are about to finish, an undergraduate degree and want to go on to do a Master's or PhD.
Where your host organisation is based:
See a list of low- and middle-income countries, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Type of researcher:
You're not a clinically qualified researcher.
- Public health
Level of funding:
£120,000 including salary, studentship stipend, fees and research expenses
Duration of funding:
30 months (12 months taught Master’s course and 18 months research project)
Who can apply
You can apply for an International Master's Fellowship if:
- you're a national of a low- or middle-income country
- your proposed research focuses on a health priority in a low- or middle-income country
- you have sponsorship from an eligible host organisation in a low- or middle-income country.
- hold a clinical or non-clinical undergraduate degree in a relevant subject
- be at an early stage in your career with limited research experience (but you must have demonstrated interest in, or aptitude for, research).
Your research proposal
Your research proposal should be within our science remit and focus on a health priority in a low- or middle-income country.
When we consider your application, we'll look at the:
- quality and importance of your research question(s)
- feasibility of your approach to solving these problems
- suitability of your choice of research environments
- suitability of the taught Master of Science (MSc) course you select – it should take place at a recognised centre of excellence and provide you with training that will complement your research project.
Who can't apply
You can’t apply if you’re:
- intending to be based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or another high-income country (although your taught course can be anywhere in the world)
- planning to do a Master of Research (MRes)
- a researcher in India – instead see the Wellcome Trust/Department of Biotechnology India Alliance
- a researcher based in mainland China – we're currently unable to accept applications
- currently applying for another Wellcome Trust fellowship.
We wouldn't usually expect you to apply if you already have a Master's.
What's expected of your host organisation
You must be based at an eligible host organisation in a low- or middle-income country for the research project. When your host organisation submits your application, they must agree to provide the space and resources you’ll need from the start date through to the end date of your award.
You must have a sponsor who is a head of department or equivalent (for example centre director or head of school) in your host organisation.
The sponsor must be able to guarantee that you’ll have a post for the duration of the fellowship. The sponsor should not expect you to spend more than eight hours a week on non-research activities (for example clinical duties, teaching or administration).
Your sponsor's support and mentorship should be part of a longer-term commitment to help you achieve your career aspirations.
You must have a supervisor who will be responsible for the day-to-day supervision of your research project.
You should also have additional supervisors for each period that you spend outside your host organisation, including your taught course. They must agree to provide the space and resources you’ll need.
You should give careful thought to your choice of supervisor(s).
A supervisor should:
- have an ongoing research programme
- have a strong track record in research, training and mentorship
- provide you with guidance during the application process and fellowship.
You can nominate your sponsor as a supervisor, if appropriate.
International Training Fellowships
International Intermediate Fellowships
Investigator Awards in Science
An International Master's Fellowship is for 30 months, unless you want to hold it on a part-time basis.
The first 12 months should be dedicated to doing a taught Master of Science (MSc) course at a recognised centre of excellence anywhere in the world.
The following 18 months is for your research project at an eligible organisation in a low- or middle-income country.
An award of £120,000 provides support for:
Support during the Master's course
The support includes:
If your taught course or training is in the UK, you can use £15,000 a year (outside London) or £17,000 a year (Greater London) to cover the cost of your stipend. If your course or training is outside the UK, you should check living costs with your prospective training organisation.
- travel costs (eg outward and return airfares)
- approved tuition fees, according to the rate charged by the training organisation.
We support distance learning taught Master's degrees.
If your stipend is liable for tax in the country you're based in, you can use the funds to cover the taxed amount.
Support during the fellowship
The support includes:
You can only receive one salary. If you already have a salary, your host organisation may use it to pay the person who replaces you.
We will fund the total cost of your salary for the full 30 months of the grant.
You should ask your host organisation to calculate your salary. 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.
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. Your salary should automatically increase from Year 2 onwards, based on our current inflation allowance rates.
Find out more about fellows working on a Wellcome grant.
Visa and work permit costs
If Wellcome is going to pay your salary on the grant, you can use your fellowship funds to pay for visa costs to help you take up the post at your host organisation. You can also use them for:
- Immigration Health Surcharge costs.
- Essential associated costs, such as travel to attend appointments at a visa application centre or embassy.
If you have to move to take up the post at your host organisation, you can use up to £1,000 to pay for these costs.
We’ve changed our overheads policy for grant applications submitted from 1 October 2019. Read our updated policy and the ‘How to ask for these costs’ section below.
How to ask for these costs
This process applies if you’re now eligible to ask for overhead costs.
In your application you must:
- give a full breakdown of costs (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, confirming that the breakdown is a true representation of the costs incurred.
Our previous policy
This information applies to grant applications submitted up to 30 September 2019.
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,
- 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.
What we don’t offer
- Major equipment. We only consider modest requests for equipment, so the place you choose to do your research project must have the necessary equipment and facilities.
- Research assistance.
We don't fund overheads unless they're included on this page (for example research management and support costs).
You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).Start your application
Stages of application
Before you apply
It's important to check that your application is competitive. Please read the advice in the ‘Eligibility and suitability’ section above before you apply.
We encourage you to discuss your application with your sponsor and research supervisor. They will give you advice about the intellectual quality and importance of your project. They will also help you to decide whether it's the right time for you to apply.
We also encourage you to contact your research office at your host organisation as early as possible in the application process. They should be able to advise you on:
- how to structure your application, including the budget
- what information is needed to support your proposal
- how much time your host organisation will need to approve your application after you submit it.
You can also get some tips to help you write a Wellcome grant application.
Complete your application
Log in to our online application system Grant Tracker. Do this at an early stage so that you can familiarise yourself with the system.
You can view a PDF version of the online form here: Sample full application form for International Master's Fellowships [PDF 459KB]
You must complete every section of the form. Your sponsor and supervisor will need to complete some of the sections.
Submit your application to your host organisation
When you've completed the form, submit it to your host organisation. A person at your host organisation with the role of 'authorised organisational approver' will get an automated email from Wellcome asking them to review and submit the application.
Make sure you leave enough time for the approver to do this before the deadline. The approver may ask you to make changes to your application.
Host organisation submits your application
The approver at your host organisation must submit your application to us by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the deadline day.
We may take up to four months to consider your full application. We will let you know if you are not eligible.
The International Interview Committee will review your application and make the final decision. There are no interviews for these fellowships. If successful, you must take up the fellowship within one year of the award.
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.
April 2020 round
14 April 2020, 17:00 BST
Develop your research career
See our other postgraduate training schemes.
We consider applications twice a year.
April 2020 round
14 April 2020, 17:00 BST
Find out about some of the people and projects we've funded for this scheme.
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.
Read about the career journeys of some of our researchers.