Multi-user Equipment Grants

These grants provide support for multi-user items of equipment.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Where your host organisation is based:

  • UK,

Type of researcher:

  • ,
  • Clinical,
  • Public health

Level of funding:

£100,000 to £1 million

Duration of funding:

Up to 5 years

Who can apply

You can apply for a grant if you, and any coapplicants, have:

  • an academic or research post (or the equivalent)
  • a track record in getting grant funding
  • a salary already in place for the duration of the award period.

Any coapplicants who don’t have salary support for the duration of the grant are eligible to apply if they have at least one year’s personal salary support at the proposed start date of the grant.

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

What we're looking for

When we look at your application, we'll assess:

  • how the proposed equipment will directly benefit your research and that of others 
  • your track record 
  • your host organisation’s financial contribution 
  • evidence of demand for the equipment
  • whether you’ve considered that similar equipment may be available locally/nationally
  • pilot data showing the suitability of the equipment
  • management and sustainability plans
  • expertise in operating the equipment
  • the cost of the equipment (including manufacturer discounts)
  • added value for Wellcome Trust-funded research.

What's expected of your host organisation

Your host organisation must provide a supporting statement that outlines:

  • how the equipment will contribute to their overall research strategy
  • their contribution towards the equipment (financial or otherwise).

Host organisation’s contribution

Your host organisation should contribute at least 25 per cent towards the cost of the equipment. Contributions can include support in-kind as well as money, such as the provision of a key support post.

Additional contributions

If a significant proportion of potential users are not funded by us, you should get a contribution from an alternative source.

Other schemes

Biomedical Resource and Technology Development Grants

Providing support for researchers who want to establish or maintain biomedical resources (including databases and collections) for the benefit of the wider scientific community.
Full details of Biomedical Resource and Technology Development Grants

Longitudinal Population Study Grants

Providing support for researchers who want to establish, maintain or enhance longitudinal population studies (LPS) for the benefit of the wider scientific community.
Full details of Longitudinal Population Study Grants
Scheme finder

A Multi-user Equipment Grant offers up to five years of support. We don't usually consider applications that ask for less than £100,000 or more than £1 million. Please contact us for more details.

Expenses may include:

    • We will cover the salary costs of all staff, full or part time, who will run the equipment and/or manage it.

      We won’t cover the salaries of research personnel.

      We don't provide studentship stipends.

      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, including any statutory obligations (eg National Insurance contributions if you’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.

        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.

        From Year 2 onwards, you should use your organisation’s current pay rates. We’ll provide a separate inflation allowance for salary inflation costs.

        Find out more about people working on a Wellcome grant.

        We may make a contribution towards the salary of departmental technicians funded by Research England and its equivalents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You will need to provide a full audit record of their time on your project.

    • Visa, work permit and settled status costs

      If you have named people on your grant whose salaries will be funded by Wellcome, you can ask for visa or work permit costs to help them take up their posts at the host organisation. You can also ask for:

      • visa costs for the person's partner and dependent children
      • essential associated costs, such as travel to attend appointments at a visa application centre or embassy if you can justify these
      • Immigration Health Surcharge costs for the person, their partner and dependent children if they will be in the UK for six months or more.

      You can also ask for settled status costs if the named people:

      • are European Union citizens living in the UK
      • meet the requirements for settled status set by the UK government.

      You can also include these costs for the person's partner and dependants.

  • Equipment purchase

    You can ask for items of equipment that are essential to your proposed research project.

    Costs may include:

    • purchase, delivery and installation
    • maintenance and training
    • minor refurbishment if the new equipment needs specialised housing.

    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 Wellcome 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 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.

    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 for your research
    • include a letter from the finance director of your host organisation with your application, confirming that the breakdown is a true representation of the costs incurred.
  • We will add an inflation allowance to your award if you're asking for salary costs for staff.

    How we calculate your inflation allowance

    Your inflation allowance is based on your total eligible costs and the duration of the award. You'll receive the allowance if the costs in your application are in pounds sterling, euros or US dollars.

    Award duration (in months)Inflation allowance

    These rates are calculated using compound inflation at 2.0% 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.

    Wellcome's studentship stipend scales for non-clinical/basic science PhD studentships include an annual increase for inflation.

  • If you need to carry out clinical trials or research using NHS patients or facilities, we will cover some of the research costs.

    Annex A of the guidelines for attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD) sets out the costs we cover, and which costs should be funded through the Department of Health in England, or its equivalent in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you're based in the Republic of Ireland, we would expect you to adhere to the spirit of these principles.

    Further information on our clinical trials policy.

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.

If you move to a different organisation after you've been awarded a Multi-user Equipment Grant, the equipment must remain at the organisation to which it was awarded.

What we don’t offer

A grant doesn’t include:

  • capital build costs
  • travel allowance
  • project consumables.

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

  1. Submit your preliminary application

    You must submit your application through Grant Tracker.

    View the sample preliminary application form for Multi-user Equipment Grants [PDF 451KB]

  2. Review of preliminary applications

    We'll assess your eligibility and suitability. If suitable, we'll invite you to submit a full application.

  3. 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 Multi-user Equipment Grants [PDF 327KB]

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

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

  5. External peer review

    We'll seek written comments from external expert reviewers. Unattributed comments will be sent to you before the committee meeting.

  6. Decision

    The Multi-user Equipment Committee will review your full application.

    We aim to notify you of our decision within four weeks of the committee meeting.

Disabled applicants

If you are disabled or have a chronic health condition, we can support you with the application process.


We consider applications once a year. We don't accept late applications.

More information

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.

Key dates

We consider applications once a year. Dates for the 2020 round will be announced in autumn 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.