International Master’s Fellowships

This scheme offers nationals of low- and middle-income countries the opportunity to receive training at Master’s degree level.

Before 4 June 2018, this scheme was called Master’s Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Postgraduate training

Where your host organisation is based:

Low- or middle-income countries

Type of 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 must:

  • 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:

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.

Sponsor and supervisor

You should give careful thought to your choice of sponsor and supervisor. Your sponsor should:

  • hold an established post for the duration of the fellowship
  • 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.

Your sponsor should not expect you to spend more than eight hours a week on non-research activities (eg 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 should also identify a supervisor who will be responsible for the day-to-day supervision of your research project. We expect you to identify additional supervisors for each period that you spend outside your host organisation, including your taught course.

You can nominate your sponsor as a supervisor, if appropriate.

Other schemes

International Training Fellowships

Offering nationals of low- and middle-income countries the opportunity to receive training at postgraduate or postdoctoral level.
Full details of International Training Fellowships

International Intermediate Fellowships

Offering nationals of low- and middle-income countries the opportunity to lead their own research programmes.
Full details of International Intermediate Fellowships

Investigator Awards in Science

Enabling independent researchers with a compelling research vision to tackle the most important questions in science.
Full details of Investigator Awards in Science
Scheme finder

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 employing staff.

    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 cover research management and support costs if:

    • your host organisation is in a low- or middle-income country.
    • your grant will be directly awarded to that organisation.

    These costs may 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.

    See a list of low- and middle-income countries.

    • 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.
    • The fellowship funds can cover the cost of buying animals if they’re essential to your project. We’ll also fund the charge-out rates for animal house facilities, but only if your organisation uses full economic costing methodology.

      These costs include:

      • running costs (including animal maintenance, any experimental procedures, licences and relevant staff training)
      • appropriate estates costs
      • cage and equipment depreciation costs, but not building depreciation costs.

      We may not pay the full charge-out rate for an animal house facility if we've provided significant funding towards the infrastructure and/or core support of the facility.

      If your organisation doesn’t use full economic costing methodology to establish charge-out rates for animal house facilities, funds may cover:

      • the cost of buying animals
      • running costs (including animal maintenance, any experimental procedures, licences and relevant staff training)
      • staff costs, eg contributions towards the salaries of animal house technicians.

      We don’t provide estates or depreciation costs.

    • Equipment purchase

      Your chosen research environment(s) should have the necessary equipment for you to complete your work. The fellowship can be used to cover smaller items of equipment that are essential to your proposed research project. Costs may include purchase, delivery, installation, maintenance and training, where necessary.

      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 use some of your grant to cover 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 use the funds for access charges if:

      • the grant has ended
      • any support for running costs and maintenance contracts has ended.
      • Travel costs

        You should use the most suitable and economical form of travel.

        Conference attendance

        You can use up to £1,500 towards the costs of attending scientific and academic meetings and conferences, including registration fees.

        Collaborative travel

        Your funds can cover travel and subsistence costs for visits to collaborators, and for collaborators to visit your laboratory. You’ll need to justify each visit and its duration.

        Other travel

        You can also use your funds to pay for other essential visits, eg to facilities, for sample collection and for fieldwork. You can include subsistence costs.

        Subsistence costs

        If you’re away for up to one month you can use your funds for subsistence costs. These include accommodation, meals and incidentals (eg 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, you can use the funds for 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 use up to £20 a day to cover extra costs, such as transport and incidentals.

        If you’re away for more than 12 months, we will cover 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. If you need help calculating the costs please contact Grants Management.

        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.

    • We cover fieldwork costs if they’re essential. 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.
    • The fellowship funds can be used to fund the page charges and/or costs for colour prints for your original research papers. 

      You can also use the funds to cover the costs of publishing other material which is essential to your project, such as:

      • the proceedings of a workshop or conference we’ve funded
      • questionnaires, recruitment material, newsletters etc for clinical, epidemiological and qualitative research studies
      • the results of a clinical trial or epidemiological study
      • public engagement materials where dissemination (including printing and publishing) is a key activity of the project.

      Open access charges

      If your organisation receives block funding through the UK’s Charity Open Access Fund you can ask it to cover these costs. If not, we’ll supplement your grant when your paper has been accepted for publication.

    • Costs the fellowship funds may be used for:

      • specialist publications that are relevant to the research and not available in institutional libraries
      • 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
      • purchase, hire and running costs of project-dedicated vehicles.

      Costs the funds won't cover:

      • 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.*
      • research, technical and administrative staff whose time is shared across several projects and isn’t supported by an audit record*
      • 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, gloves, 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 guidance [XLSX 18KB] on the types of costs that can/cannot be charged on biomedical science research grants.

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 provide funds for directly allocated or indirect costs unless they're included on this page (eg 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 application

    You must submit your application through 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 International Master's Fellowships [PDF 289KB]

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

    Your application must be submitted 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.

  3. Scientific review

    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.

Disabled applicants

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

Dates

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.

March 2018 round

  • Application deadline

    26 March 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Decision

    June 2018

August 2018 round

  • Application deadline

    31 August 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Decision

    November 2018

Definitions

Postgraduate training

For people who have, or are about to finish, an undergraduate degree and want to go on to do a Master's or PhD.

Low- or middle-income countries

See a list of low- and middle-income countries, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Public health

Develop your research career

See our other postgraduate training schemes.

Key dates

We consider applications twice a year.

March 2018 round

  • Application deadline

    26 March 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Decision

    June 2018

August 2018 round

  • Application deadline

    31 August 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Decision

    November 2018

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.

People we've funded