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Snakebite Grants: Discovering and Developing New Treatments

This funding supports researchers working on innovative approaches to discover and develop next generation treatments for snakebite.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Where your host organisation is based:

  • Anywhere in the world (apart from mainland China)

Level of funding:

Awards of approximately £500,000 to £3 million

Duration of funding:

Flexible, depending on level of funding. Usually 2 to 3 years, with a maximum of 5 years

Who can apply

You can apply for this award if you’re a researcher who wants to discover and develop innovative ideas and approaches to snakebite treatments. 

You must have a proposal that: 

  • considers the complexity and variety of snake venoms
  • addresses efficacy, safety and developability 
  • leads to a consistent and low-cost product or treatment.

Examples of ideas and approaches include (but are not limited to):

  • developing novel recombinant antivenoms
  • evaluating novel technologies for producing antivenoms 
  • repurposing candidate molecules with demonstrated human safety
  • engineering transgenic production of humanised antivenom products
  • developing novel delivery systems for antivenoms.

The awards are open to individuals or collaborative teams based anywhere in the world apart from mainland China.

You can apply if you’re based at one of the following:

  • an academic research organisation
  • a not-for-profit or government body
  • a private sector organisation.

You must be able to accept our standard grant conditions.

Teams may be based in the same or in different organisations. 

Team size will depend on the proposed research, with usually no more than seven applicants. 

We will only accept one application from each lead applicant. Co-applicants can be included in more than one application.  

Each applicant should have a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract, or the guarantee of one. Your salary must be paid by your host organisation.

If you, or any other applicants, hold a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract but have to get your salary from external grant funding, you can ask us for this in your application. If this applies to you, or any other applicant on your grant, you must commit at least 10% of your working hours to this award. In this case, your host organisation must confirm details about your employment contract(s) or their policy on salary recovery costs.

Your proposal

We will assess:

  • the scope and feasibility of your proposal
  • your scientific rationale
  • how the work will strengthen understanding of what is possible for next generation treatments
  • whether the proposal will produce meaningful data that will be used by snakebite decision-makers 
  • the track records of all team members, relative to their career stage
  • your plans for managing any risks related to your proposal.

Who can't apply

You can't apply if your proposal is for:

  • drone/delivery technology
  • diagnostics
  • non-specific biocides
  • auxiliary technology.

You can't apply to carry out activities that involve the transfer of grant funds into mainland China.

The level of funding you can apply for ranges from £500,000 to £3 million.

The duration of an award is flexible but is typically 2 to 3 years with a maximum of 5 years.

Your costs should be justifiable and appropriate for your proposed activities.

You can request support for:

    • We will cover the salary costs of all staff, full or part time, who will work on your project. Staff members may include research assistants, technicians, fieldworkers or clinical staff employed on your grant.

      We don’t usually provide a salary for any applicants for this scheme. But if you, or any applicants, hold a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract and have to get your salary from external grant funding, you can ask us for this in your application. See the ‘Eligibility and suitability’ section above for more information.

      We don't provide studentship stipends.

      • 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 and work permit 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.
  • We will pay for the materials and consumables you need to carry out your proposed research, including:

    • laboratory chemicals and materials (eg reagents, isotopes, peptides, enzymes, antibodies, gases, proteins, cell/tissue/bacterial culture, plasticware and glassware)
    • associated charges for shipping, delivery and freight.
  • Equipment purchase

    You can ask for smaller items of equipment that are essential to your proposed 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 Wellcome grant, you can only ask for access charges if:

    • the grant has ended
    • any support for running costs and maintenance contracts has ended.
  • You can ask for overheads if your grant will be based at a:

    • university outside the UK or Republic of Ireland
    • research organisation that does not receive core funding for overheads
    • charitable or not-for-profit organisation
    • small or medium-sized commercial organisation.

    You can also ask for overheads on any part of your grant that is sub-contracted to any of the organisations listed above.

    If you’re based at a UK university you can’t ask for overheads for sub-contracted activity if your university will include the sub-contracted funding in its annual report to the UK Charity Research Support Fund.

    Overheads can include:

    • estates, for example building and premises
    • non-project dedicated administrative and support staff
    • administration, for example finance, library, and room hire.

    The total cost for overheads should not be more than:

    • 20% of the direct research costs if you’re based in a low- or middle-income country
    • 15% of the direct research costs if you’re based anywhere else.

    These costs must directly support the activity funded by the grant.

    How to apply for these costs

    In your grant 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, or the sub-contracted organisation, confirming that the breakdown is a true representation of the costs incurred.
    • Travel costs

      Collaborative travel

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

      Conference attendance

      You can ask for a contribution towards the costs of attending scientific and academic meetings and conferences, including registration fees and the costs to offset the carbon emissions of your travel. The limits are:

      • All applicants named on your grant – £2,000 a year
      • Staff employed on your grant – £1,000 each a year.

      You’ll need to specify the amount you’re requesting for each person.

      You can also ask for costs to cover caring responsibilities if you or any staff employed on your grant attend a conference. This includes childcare and any other caring responsibility you have, provided:

      • Wellcome is paying your salary
      • the conference is directly related to your research
      • the caring costs are over and above what you'd normally pay for care
      • the conference organiser and your employing organisation are unable to cover the costs.

      You can ask for up to £1,000 per person for each conference.

      Other travel

      We will pay for other essential visits, for example to facilities, for sample collection and for fieldwork. You can include subsistence costs.

      Carbon offset costs

      This is a new policy. It applies to all types of travel costs Wellcome provides.

      You can ask for:

      • the cost of low carbon travel where practical, even if it's more expensive (for example travelling by train instead of flying)
      • project-related resources or activities that provide an alternative to travel, such as video conferencing, communication and file-sharing software
      • costs to offset the carbon emissions of the journeys you make.

      We won't pay for the core infrastructure that your host organisation should provide, unless you're eligible to ask for these costs under our overheads policy. Examples of these costs include:

      • organisation-wide video conferencing packages
      • high-speed broadband
      • HD screens.

      See our carbon offset policy for travel for information on what you and your organisation need to do.

      Subsistence costs

      If you’re away for up to one month you can ask for subsistence costs. These include accommodation, meals and incidentals such as 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 £10 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. Please contact us if you need help calculating the costs.

      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.

  • We cover fieldwork costs if they’re essential and you can justify them. Costs can include:

    • survey and data collection, including communication and data collection services and any associated costs such as essential field materials, travel costs and language translation services
    • the purchase, hire and running costs of vehicles dedicated to your project
    • expenses for subjects and volunteers, including the recruitment of participants, their participatory fees and travel costs
    • statistical analysis.

    You can ask for other fieldwork costs that aren’t listed here, but you’ll need to justify them.

  • If your organisation receives block funding through the UK’s Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) you can ask them to cover your open access article processing charges.

    If you're at an organisation that doesn't receive COAF funding, we’ll supplement your grant when your paper has been accepted for publication.

    You can't ask for these charges in your grant application.

  • Costs you may ask for (you will have to justify these costs in your application):

    • 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
    • questionnaires, recruitment material, newsletters etc for clinical, epidemiological and qualitative research studies
    • public engagement materials where dissemination (including printing and publishing) is a key activity of the project
    • recruitment, advertising and interviewee travel costs for staff to be employed on the grant
    • formal transferable skills and personal development training, including the International Funders Award
    • purchase, hire and running costs of project-dedicated vehicles.

    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.*
    • page charges and the cost of colour prints
    • research, technical and administrative staff whose time is shared across several projects and isn’t supported by an audit record*
    • PhD stipends
    • 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, filing cabinets, etc.
    • clothing such as lab coats, shoes, 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.

    Costs grantholders can claim on biomedical science research grants.

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're awarded this grant

If your host organisation is in the UK and you have team members who will spend at least 50% of their working time contributing to the award, they may be eligible to apply for a Tier 1 Global Talent visa through the endorsed funder route.

What we don’t offer

We don't fund:

  • salary costs for any applicants or staff who are already funded by their organisation
  • costs for capital build or refurbishment.

Stages of application

  1. Email an expression of interest to us

    Your expression of interest should be a brief outline of your proposal (500 words maximum). This word limit does not include information about team members and collaborators, which can be provided separately.

    You must email your expression of interest to snakebites@wellcome.ac.uk as soon as possible and no later than 17:00 GMT on 15 March 2020

    We'll contact you within seven working days of receiving your email to let you know if we'll consider your expression of interest further. 

    By mid-April 2020, we'll let you know if we want you to submit a full application. 

  2. Submit your invited full application

    If you are invited to make a full application, you must submit your application through Grant Tracker by 17:00 BST on 10 June 2020.

    If you're applying as a team, the lead applicant must submit the application form on behalf of the team.

    ‘Details of proposal’ section

    In the 'Details of proposal' section of the application form, provide the following information in no more than 3,000 words:

    • a description of your proposal
    • the data and evidence that supports your proposal
    • the type of studies you will carry out
    • how your work will lead to a next generation treatment.

    'Additional information' section

    You can provide up to the equivalent of two A4 pages of extra information. If you provide more than this, we will ask you to reduce the amount of information.

    You can either:

    • embed it in your upload for your ‘Details of proposal’ section – any text (such as legends, labels, or captions) will be excluded from the word count

    or

    • upload it under 'Additional information'.

    You can get some tips to help you write a Wellcome grant application.
     

  3. Assessment of your application

    Applications will be assessed by the Snakebite Advisory Panel, and Wellcome staff.

  4. Decision

    We aim to give you a funding decision by September 2020. 

    In general, we don't provide specific written feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Disabled applicants

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

Dates

You must submit your application by 17:00 (GMT) on the deadline day. We don't accept late applications.

  • Expressions of interest submitted by email

    As soon as possible – no later than 15 March 2020, 17:00 GMT

  • Invited full applications deadline

    10 June 2020, 17:00 BST

  • Funding decision

    September 2020

Key dates

  • Expressions of interest submitted by email

    As soon as possible – no later than 15 March 2020, 17:00 GMT

  • Invited full applications deadline

    10 June 2020, 17:00 BST

  • Funding decision

    September 2020

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, email