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, finance, investments, public engagement, communications and operations.

The next programme is scheduled to start on 4 September 2017.

What we offer

There are two different streams in our graduate programme:

  • a specific investments programme
  • a broader general programme.

Both streams are full time with a salary of £26,000. 

Investments programme

As an independent global charity we fund our grants and other activities from an £18 billion investment portfolio.

In your first year as a member of our investment team, you’ll learn the basics of financial markets and investment analysis. You'll also learn how Wellcome's long-term investment philosophy generates returns to support our mission. 

In your second year you may be able to gain commercial experience working with one of the companies we invest in. Alternatively, you might work in another part of Wellcome that interests you – such as Innovations, Insight and Analysis or even Science.

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

General programme

We want your experience on our general programme to be varied and fulfilling. You’ll have the opportunity to work in a broad range of Wellcome’s work 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:

  • Communications

    Good communication helps build understanding of Wellcome's purpose and priorities. It extends our influence and reach, helps us to work with grantholders and other partners more effectively, and puts science at the heart of national and international conversations. 

    A rotation in the Communications team can focus on social media campaigns and science writing, or on public relations, brand and marketing. Or you might pursue corporate communications, working in our busy press office, or internal communications for our 700 staff. 

    Whatever you do, you'll experience working with a team that uses an array of communications approaches and the latest technologies to reach our different audiences.

  • Culture and Society Directorate

    The C&S Directorate is a small team responsible for the leadership and operational management of the division, which has around 135 staff and a budget of £40 million. 

    The department covers Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Library, as well as grant making in the field of humanities, social science and public engagement. 

    This rotation will offer an insight into how a major division of the organisation is run, and how strategies are developed, implemented and evaluated. Your rotation will offer the opportunity to experience desk-based research, budget management, project management, evaluation and communications. 

  • Education and Learning

    Wellcome has a longstanding enthusiasm and commitment to ensuring an excellent science education for all students. 

    The team's current work focuses on: 

    • transforming primary school science
    • transforming the professional development environment for science teachers
    • implementing and testing new approaches to science education research to increase its relevance and impact on policy and practice.

    Previous graduates in Education and Learning have worked on a wide range of projects, from producing postcard packs encouraging teachers to use Wellcome Images to developing a website that helps school governors improve science and maths. 

    In this rotation you will develop skills in areas such as desk research, policy development, organising and chairing meetings, communications and marketing, and commissioning services from external organisations. 

  • Engaging Science

    The Engaging Science department supports individuals, projects and ideas that enable people of all ages and all walks of life to enjoy, understand, challenge and shape biomedical science and the humanities. 

    The team works closely with a growing community of scientists, science communicators, curators, content producers, educators, and artists – to mention but a few – to ensure science can be enjoyed and experienced as part of culture, entertainment and everyday life.

    This rotation will develop your research, communications and project management skills, and build your knowledge of grant making, including assessing applications and the outputs of our funding schemes. 

  • Facilities management

    Facilities Management takes an integrated approach to operating, maintaining, improving and adapting Wellcome's buildings and infrastructure to create an environment that strongly supports our strategic aims. 

    In this rotation you’d be involved in our activities, which range from building projects to business continuity planning, catering to cleaning, AV to engineering, and space planning to security.

  • Finance

    The Finance department consists of three main sections: commercial finance; financial planning and analysis; financial accounting. There are also specialist teams covering investment accounting, tax, internal audit and risk management. 

    This rotation offers a broad understanding of how a large, diverse finance department operates – from forecasting our cash requirements to preparing the monthly payroll.

    It provides the opportunity to develop valuable skills in modelling, analysis and financial project work, and develops your teamwork, communication and influencing abilities.

  • Grants Management

    Wellcome spends over £700 million a year on grants across three primary areas: Science, Culture and Society, and Innovations. 

    This rotation will provide an insight into how we manage our grant-giving operations, the processes and decision making that underpin these, and the support functions that create the framework for high-quality grants processing and management.  

    You'll be 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.

  • Policy

    The Policy team works to nurture a thriving research and innovation system and address health challenges by understanding and influencing the external policy environment. We also work closely with Wellcome's research community.

    Our day-to-day work is highly varied and all staff quickly develop good project management and task prioritisation skills. 

    This rotation provides a keen insight into policy analysis and advocacy. It includes exposure to legislative processes and political decision making, and provides plenty of opportunities for you to build on your analytical and communication skills.

  • Human Resources

    We believe that people matter. We're committed to inclusion and equality, and people are employed solely on their merits.

    The Human Resources team supports the organisation by recruiting and developing talented people and helping them to maximise their potential. It is our people who make Wellcome's vision of improved health for all a reality.

    This rotation provides the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and experience the day-to-day operational issues that help recruit, develop, reward and retain our people. Working closely with both specialists and generalists, your contribution will link to our strategic aims and goals.

  • Humanities and Social Science

    Wellcome's vision of improving health for everyone can only be achieved if advances in biomedical research are accompanied by advances in our understanding of the social, cultural and historical contexts of medicine, health and wellbeing. 

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

    This rotation will allow you to accrue valuable experience in grant making and assessment, and advance your skills in critical thinking and narrative, as well as being able to develop and manage your own project relating to our mission. 

  • Innovations

    Innovations support researchers and organisations across the world to transform great ideas, discoveries and inventions into treatments and products. Translational research turns early-stage ideas into deliverable health products. The team wants to encourage translation by making it easier for researchers to get involved.  

    We've supported projects across a diverse range of applications in healthcare, from medical devices, diagnostics and therapeutics to vaccines, regenerative medicine and enabling technologies. 

    This rotation offers a unique opportunity to engage with scientific as well as legal and business development professionals. It also offers an insight into how we evaluate proposals, conduct due diligence, structure funding agreements and work in partnerships with teams, drawing on our extensive global networks to steer exciting translational science.

  • Insight and Analysis

    The Insight and Analysis team delivers new 'insight' or understanding of the accomplishments achieved through Wellcome's funding, activities and strategic partnerships. 

    The team undertakes a range of research and projects – from data analysis and desktop research to expert interviews and social research studies – to understand the impact of our funding and to shape future programme design and strategic decision making.

    This rotation offers the opportunity to gain:

    • a good awareness of the approaches used and the associated challenges of doing post-award assessment and evaluation
    • an understanding of the way we develop and monitor the progress of our strategic priorities
    • an overview of the breadth of Wellcome’s activities. 
  • IT

    Wellcome's IT department is accountable for delivering the wide range of IT services, projects and analytics that support our major grant-giving, operations and investments activities.

    The department is key to supporting the operational effectiveness and digital innovation of the organisation in achieving its aims. It has a headcount of over 40, and operational and development budgets of around £5 million each.

    This rotation offers the chance to gain a thorough understanding of and grounding in the department and its work, encompassing the information lifecycle from requirement gathering, development, procurement, and service delivery and operations. It also provides the opportunity to extend your customer network, business knowledge and transferrable business skills.

  • Science

    The Science division is accountable for science funding decisions, our mechanisms for supporting and developing individuals and teams, and influencing national and international policy.

    It is organised into scientific knowledge teams:

    • Genetic and Molecular Sciences
    • Cellular and Developmental Science
    • Neurosciences and Mental Health
    • Infection and Immuno-Biology
    • Clinical and Physiological Sciences
    • Population, Environment and Health.

    And also into integration teams:

    • Research Careers
    • Structures
    • Operations
    • International operations. 

    The science knowledge and integration teams operate flexibly in a matrix to catalyse outstanding science and maximise its health impacts.

    This rotation involves understanding the global scientific landscape, and analysing and developing our research portfolio to seek gaps and seize opportunities.  

  • Wellcome Collection – Business and Operations/Public Programmes

    Wellcome Collection is home to four exhibition spaces, an innovative Reading Room, lively public events, an established Youth Programme, a world-renowned library, an industry-professional conference centre, catering and shopping facilities, and a diverse range of everyday public engagement activities. 

    It offers visitors the chance to explore the subjects of health, medicine and wellbeing in social and cultural contexts. These subjects are the backdrop to every topic we tackle through our collections, exhibitions, events, publications, digital outputs, broadcasts, tours, merchandise and more. 

    This rotation offers the opportunity to become well-versed in our approach to developing and delivering our exhibitions and events programme – from first principles to satisfied visitors. It includes the day-to-day running of a small marketing office, the strategic management of communications and the critical management of the brand.

  • Wellcome Library

    Part of Wellcome Collection, the Wellcome Library is one of the world's greatest cultural treasures: a unique and irreplaceable collection that documents medicine and its role in society, past and present. 

    In the past five years, the library has undergone a radical transformation with:

    • new collecting initiatives focusing on major events such as the Human Genome Project
    • a multi-million pound digitisation programme involving partners in the UK and USA
    • redevelopment of the physical library to improve the service we offer to researchers and to create the Reading Room – a unique and innovative hybrid of exhibition, event and library space. 

    This rotation offers the chance to gain an understanding of how we promote our collections and make them accessible to diverse audiences, online and onsite, and the opportunity to be actively involved in a user-focused project linked to one of our strategic objectives.

Who can apply

You can apply if you:

  • have an undergraduate or Master's degree (2:2 or above)
  • expect to graduate in 2016 or 2017
  • will be available from September 2017
  • have the right to work in the UK.

We can't consider your application if you:

  • have any qualification beyond a Master's degree
  • graduated before 2016.

What we're looking for

Our programmes are development programmes, designed to give you opportunities to learn on the job, and 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.

  • Building relationships

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

  • Creativity and innovation

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

  • Initiative and drive

    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.

  • Flexibility and adaptability

    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.

  • Focus on delivering results

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


  • Presenting and communicating

    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.

How to apply

2017 investments programme

Applications for the investments programme are open. They will close at 23.59 on Friday 4 November 2016.

Apply now

2017 general programme

Applications for the general programme are now open. They will close at 23.59 on Friday 25 November 2016. 

Apply now

You can find out more at an open evening on 24 October, 6pm – 8pm. You must register to attend.

Find out more about the event and how to register

Application process

The process for both programmes will consist of:

  • an online application form, including situational judgement test
  • a video interview 
  • an assessment centre, which will take place in December for the investments programme and in January for the general programme.

If you have any questions about the programme, please email Natalie Hannan, graduate manager.

Grads' experiences

You have something to add, whatever background you have. Kalaiyashni, 2015 graduate (studied Psychology)
I don’t think I realised how much impact Wellcome has on the world. Emily, 2014 graduate (studied Biology)
The best thing about it is the ability to shape the scheme and decide what you want to do when you get here. That sets it apart from other grad schemes. Calum, 2014 graduate (studied Chemical Engineering)
Working in investments is a great experience: you learn so much about the broad range of businesses and funds that we invest in. The team are really supportive and help you to get involved in investment decisions from day one. Tim, 2015 graduate (studied Economics)
The investments team created a really positive, constructive environment for me to develop as a graduate. The strength of the team and the portfolio meant there were always new (often surprising) opportunities to challenge and learn from. Katharine, 2015 graduate (studied Geography)