Graduate development programme

Our two-year graduate development programme is your opportunity, as an enterprising, motivated recent graduate or Master's graduate, to help deliver Wellcome’s mission to improve health.

You’ll have the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals in a range of areas across Wellcome. These include funding, policy, investments, public engagement, communications and operations.

The next programme is scheduled to start on 7 September 2020.

There are two different streams in our graduate programme:

  • a specific investments programme
  • a broader general programme.

Both streams are full time. 

Investments programme

As an independent global charity we fund our grants and other activities from a £26 billion investment portfolio.

As a member of Wellcome’s Investments team you’ll undertake investment analysis, learn about financial markets, develop your investment judgment, and understand how our long-term philosophy seeks to generate returns to support Wellcome’s mission. 

You will have a front row seat at the team’s weekly Investment Decision Meeting, regularly chaired by our Chief Investment Officer, where all the key portfolio decisions are debated and made. Through this, and through interacting with other members of the team, you will get substantial exposure to financial markets and the various asset classes in which Wellcome invests.

Our programme suits people who can think on their feet, enjoy being challenged and are motivated to try new things a contribute ideas.

Training and development

Soon after joining the team, you will map out a personal development plan with your manager. This plan will set out your specific training and development goals, to be obtained both through experience and through relevant training from internal and external providers. Suggested areas of training include, but are not limited to, the below:

  • Investment Management Certificate (IMC) qualification 
  • basic financial analysis and modelling 
  • public speaking and presentation skills
  • debating and negotiation skills.

Graduates benefit hugely from being a part of the Investments team weekly meeting from day one, where all the most important decisions about the portfolio are discussed and debated. 

As one recent graduate commented: "There are three things that set the Wellcome investments graduate scheme apart: fascinating projects across a broad range of sectors and asset classes; learning to think in the truly long term; and the fact that all this varied, exciting work is contributing to an incredible mission. That is why I was thrilled to be offered a full-time role." (Ailsa, 2017 graduate)

Soon after joining you will also be assigned a mentor to help you navigate your career development and make the most out of your time at Wellcome. 

General programme

We want your experience on our general graduate development programme to be varied and fulfilling. You’ll have the opportunity to work in a broad range of Wellcome’s activities to gain all-round experience, or you may be more specialised, working in funding and policy, engagement and communications or business operations. In this programme you can do four rotations during your two years here.

The rotations available are:

  • The role of the Central Team is to help Wellcome deliver its mission by ensuring it has a clear strategy in place and by developing and delivering specific strategic initiatives. We are a small team that works in an agile and collaborative way across the organisation. 

    As a graduate you will be actively involved in researching new ideas, gathering internal and external input, testing ideas and making evidence-based recommendations. A recent graduate placement involved helping in the development of the newly launched £250 million Wellcome Leap Fund that will place big bets on ambitious research programmes with the potential to fundamentally change science or transform health. 

    A rotation in the Central Team will allow you to develop a broad set of skills – including your ability to think creatively, analyse and summarise information, communicate effectively, influence key stakeholders, and manage and deliver projects. 

  • We work to ensure that Wellcome’s influence, reputation, voice and brand are used as effectively as possible to advance Wellcome’s mission, strategy and priorities. This involves understanding our audiences – internal and external – and using this insight to create stories, campaigns and services that ensure key messages reach the right people, and are understood and acted upon. 

    We are made up of five teams across Media Relations, Research Communications, Brand & Campaigns, Audience & Evaluation and Internal Communications. 

    It’s a fast-paced and often reactive environment – and you will be working on a range of projects at any one time. 

    Graduates get involved with publication of our weekly all-staff newsletter, writing press releases, helping to manage Wellcome's social media accounts, and organising internal events. 

    A rotation in the Communications team will develop your skills in digital marketing, social media management, writing and editing, project management and stakeholder management. 

  • The Culture & Society (C&S) Directorate is responsible for driving the vision of Wellcome’s Culture & Society Division. A small team, the C&S Directorate reaches its objectives by providing leadership, challenge and support for strategic initiatives across the different teams within Culture & Society.

    Projects in the Directorate come from all teams within C&S, and recent graduates have been involved in organising and facilitating C&S funding committees, divisional meetings and steering groups, providing support to residents of the Wellcome Hub, and representing Wellcome at external  events.

    A rotation in the C&S Directorate will allow you to work with a range of Wellcome colleagues at different levels across the organisation, and develop your skills in communication, influencing, project management and presentation.

  • The ever-evolving Digital and Technology (D&T) department is accountable for developing and delivering a variety of initiatives across Wellcome. 

    D&T is home to a variety of roles, including software engineers and developers, data scientists, user experience designers, trainers, audio-visual technicians, business analysts, project managers, architects, service managers, analysts, and cloud and infrastructure engineers. 

    Recent graduate projects have involved engagement with Data Labs (Wellcome's data analysis and visualisation platforms), development of Explorify (Wellcome’s platform to enhance science teaching) and implementation of a security threat detection service. 

    A rotation in D&T will enable you to work on one of Wellcome’s digital products, learn how best to apply project management principles to deliver projects using different methodologies, or to work with a wide range of hardware, software and cloud platforms. 

  • The Education and Learning team has a longstanding enthusiasm for and commitment to ensuring an excellent science education for all young people, inside and outside school. We take an evidence-based approach and are committed to widening opportunities for all young people.  

    Most recently, the graduate trainee within the Education and Learning team worked across our programme concerned with improving the quality and quantity of professional development for teachers. Amongst other things, this included project management of a cost benefit analysis and a project to understand how teachers could engage more with research evidence, as well as policy work to engage stakeholders and government. 

    Another graduate project was working on the launch of a major funding scheme in partnership with BBC Children in Need. This included helping to develop the scheme, creating communication materials, and organising and running largescale regional events across the UK.  

    A rotation in Education and Learning will develop your skills in managing budgets, organisation, communication and stakeholder management. You'll also develop a good understanding of the UK's education system, the major challenges it is facing, and how Wellcome is working to address these. 

  • The Facilities and Workplace team is responsible for managing, operating and improving Wellcome’s buildings to ensure the safety and comfort of colleagues and visitors. 

    We work with our service partners to provide a workplace that enables different ways of working and we’re continually seeking innovative ways to improve the service we offer. 

    We cover all aspects of the buildings’ day-to-day running – from catering, cleaning, security and maintenance to the gym and building projects. 

    A rotation in the Facilities and Workplace team will develop your skills in project management, stakeholder engagement and management, communication, teamwork and problem solving. 

  • Wellcome spends over £800 million a year on grants across three areas – Science, Culture and Society, and Innovations.

    The Grants Management team works to manage grant application processes throughout the entire grant lifecycle, from advising potential applicants to post-award grant management.

    Graduates working in the team learn how awards are made and gain an understanding of how to manage a grant and the administration behind this process. Graduates are exposed to a broad range of our grant-related activity and gain an appreciation of the skills required to succeed in a key central business role.

    A rotation in Grants Management will develop your skills in data analysis and presentation, verbal and written communication, stakeholder management, analysis and research, and you will learn how to work independently within a larger team.

  • The Humanities and Social Science team funds research to help advance understanding of the social, cultural and historical contexts of medicine, health and wellbeing. 

    We’ve funded work on the ethics of public health emergencies like Ebola and Zika, the social and legal implications of developments in neuroscience, genetic medicine, and assisted reproductive technologies, as well as major histories of the NHS, malaria and the global drug trade. 

    Recent graduates have worked on major reviews of the projects we have funded on mental health and on infectious disease, and have organised workshops to explore new developments in areas such as artificial intelligence and health or the challenges of researching health regulation.   

    A rotation in Humanities and Social Science will offer you the opportunity to work independently and collaboratively across the team, and to develop your analytical skills, your project management, and your spoken and written presentation.  

  • Innovations work with people and organisations around the world to transform great ideas, discoveries and inventions into treatments, products and cures for disease. 

    The team consists of people with varied backgrounds in science, business development and management, law and finance, which makes it a great work environment as everyone has a different perspective. 

    Recent graduate projects include researching treatments for diseases caused by parasitic worms, scoring and reviewing applications to our Innovator Awards, and engaging with scientists to encourage them to think about how their research can impact health. 

    A rotation in Innovations will improve your presentation, teamwork, and analytical and research skills. 

  • The Insight and Analysis team delivers new ‘insight’ or understanding of the accomplishments achieved through Wellcome's funding, activities and strategic partnerships, and provides rigorous evidence to support decision making throughout Wellcome. 

    The team is also responsible for producing an annual analysis of Wellcome’s progress and accomplishments in relation to our strategic framework, and helps to identify potential strategic priorities for the future. 

    A recent graduate project involved working with the Diversity & Inclusion team to analyse a detailed qualitative report from semi-structured interviews investigating views from Wellcome and academic institutions to provide evidence as to whether the D&I was achieving its outcomes. 

    A rotation in Insight and Analysis will develop your technical skills in quantitative and qualitative research, and your softer skills in effective communication and managing relationships. 

  • The Policy team influences organisations, policy and legislation to create a great environment for research and to tackle global health challenges.

    The team works with a wide range of partners – including governments, research funders, learned societies, charities and organisations – to build strong relationships in the UK, Europe and globally.

    Graduates in the UK & EU Policy team have worked on projects collecting and publishing evidence on investment in research, updating colleagues on political developments such as Brexit, and working with Parliament and key stakeholders.

    Graduates in the Global Policy team have worked on projects preparing case studies on policy engagement, coordinating the launch of a review of global health research and researching different funders approaches to access to healthcare.

    A rotation in the Policy team will help to develop your skills in research and analysis, written and verbal communication, prioritisation and project management.

  • The People team consists of HR business partners, recruitment, people services, diversity and inclusion, reward, talent and development, continuous improvement, conference and events, and travel. 

    As a group our vision is that Wellcome and its people are working in a healthy partnership to achieve our mission to improve health. We use our expertise across the team to contribute to delivering this.  

    Recent graduates have coordinated recruitment and development activities for our summer internship programme, provided support for our volunteering seasons and attended campus recruitment events.

    A rotation within the People team offers the opportunity to work closely on Wellcome’s diversity and inclusion agenda in addition to opportunities for developing your skills in stakeholder management, project management, written and verbal communication, and time management. 

  • The Public Engagement team believes that if the public – by which we mean individuals, communities and society – are actively involved in our work, then Wellcome will be more likely to succeed in its mission and will become even more accountable. 

    Recent graduates have been involved in projects including working on a portfolio review of international engagement funding, helping to review the grant evaluation process, producing a video for an online international engagement network and producing a report on how scientists engage with the public.

    A rotation in the Public Engagement team will build your skills in project management, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, video editing and writing for different audiences.

  • The Science team improves health through the best research.  
    We do this by:  

    • supporting the broadest range of medical research such as genetics, neuroscience and mental health, immunobiology, infectious diseases and developmental sciences 
    • supporting research ranging from basic, clinical sciences through to population health and ensuring that the knowledge generated is available and used by others to improve health
    • supporting researchers across different career stages
    • investing in research resources, laboratories and research institutes including the Diamond Light Source and Wellcome Sanger Institute
    • promoting an environment in which research can flourish. 

    We fund and support innovative and exciting research both in the UK and low-and-middle income countries. Our teams keep on top of the latest developments in the global scientific landscape. We identify areas of exciting scientific progress or unmet need which Wellcome could help advance. 

    Recent graduate projects include reviewing specific funding schemes to create recommendations for future management, undertaking research to identify and address gaps in our research portfolio, and contributing to cross-Wellcome work on improving research culture.  

    A rotation in Science will develop your skills in critical thinking, independent research and analysis, writing and project management. Alongside learning about what we fund, you will have the opportunity to work with researcher, funders, policy makers and the wider research community, building your skills in stakeholder engagement. 

  • Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library that aims to challenge how we all think and feel about health by creating opportunities for people to think deeply about the connections between science, medicine, life and art.

    We do this through contemporary and historic exhibitions and collections, lively public events, broadcast and art partnerships and through publishing books and digital stories. Our critically acclaimed venue also offers a Reading Room, library, café, shop, restaurant and conference facilities.

    There are diverse opportunities for graduates to work across the different areas of Wellcome Collection including Operations, Public Programmes, Digital Engagement, and Collections and Research.

    Recent graduate activities have included:

    • project managing the production of marketing materials for large and small events including Friday Late events and a collaborative weekend of events with the BBC
    • audience research for exhibitions and events
    • organising user consultation sessions to improve accessibility in future exhibition design
    • helping with curatorial research for upcoming exhibitions
    • helping researchers and the wider public access, understand and use our collections in their work
    • project managing strategy and policy development.

    We are also interested in graduates who would like to work with our Digital Engagement team on user research, interface testing and analytics, editorial content commissioning and production, and data modelling and machine learning (subject to knowledge and skills).

    A rotation in Wellcome Collection will develop your skills in project management, data analysis and presentation, print and digital communications, networking and budgeting and enhance your understanding of working in an audience-focused environment.

You can apply if you:

  • have an undergraduate or Master's degree (2:2 or above)
  • expect to complete your studies in 2019 or 2020
  • will be available from 7 September 2020
  • have the right to work in the UK
  • are an international student who is on a student visa that is valid until 7 September 2020.

We can't consider your application if you:

  • have any qualification beyond a Master's degree
  • graduated before 2019
  • have a gap between your undergraduate and Master's degree of more than a year.

What we're looking for

Our programmes are development programmes, designed to give you opportunities to learn on the job, and to develop and hone your skills in a variety of areas. 

They suit candidates who enjoy being challenged, are excited by trying new things and can come up with fresh ideas.

  • On the general programme your rotations will place you in several departments, each working with others across the organisation. On the general and investment programes you’ll need to build relationships at all levels, and show strong communication and interpersonal skills.

  • We’re looking for graduates who are keen to get to grips with a range of different challenges and bring a fresh perspective.

  • Our mission is very ambitious – to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We expect you to take the same attitude to your own development, setting yourself high standards and striving to excel.

  • On both programmes you’ll experience several roles and projects. So you'll need to be adaptable as you work with different teams – for example, paying close attention to detail but also being able to think about the bigger picture.

  • You'll need to be able to make decisions, solve problems and see a task through to completion.


  • We recognise the value of hearing diverse views, one of which will be yours. On the investments programme you'll be expected to express your opinion and contribute to our decision-making process.

    On both programmes you'll be analysing information, and writing and presenting to various audiences in a clear, concise and persuasive way.

Investments programme 2020

Applications for the 2020 programme have now closed.

General programme 2020

Applications for the 2020 programme have now closed.

For any general questions about the graduate programme, please email Natalie Hannan, Wellcome's early careers manager.

"I’ve learnt a massive amount about my strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly I’ve learnt about what roles I enjoy, and I’ve begun to develop ideas about what kind of shape I’d like my career to take in the future."
Aidan, 2017 graduate (studied Drama and Sociology)
"I really like the flexibility of the graduate programme. It feels like real effort is made to tailor the scheme to your personal interests and career development."
Charlotte, 2016 graduate (studied Social Anthropology)
"You have something to add, whatever background you have."
Kalaiyashni, 2015 graduate (studied Psychology)

Development programme Q&As

If you'd like to find out more about the 2020 general programme, watch our Q&A on YouTube.

You can also watch graduates and their Wellcome colleagues explain more about the programme in the videos below.