Research Bursaries

This scheme supports individuals working on small and medium-scale research projects that focus on library or archive collections supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Following a review of this scheme, the April 2018 round will be the final round.

Scheme at a glance

Career stage:

Postdoctoral research, Leading a research programme, Returning to research

Level of funding:

Usually in the range of £5,000 to £25,000

Duration of funding:


Who can apply

Research Bursaries are for academic researchers, conservators, artists, performers, broadcasters, writers, public engagement practitioners and others working in the creative arts.

If you're an experienced researcher in an established academic post, you should have some publications in an appropriate area.

If you're an experienced or early-career researcher not in an established academic post, you should have a doctorate or clinical qualification. You should also have established a research interest in biomedical science or in the humanities or social sciences (as they relate to medicine).

If you're applying from outside the scholarly community, you'll usually be expected to demonstrate relevant experience and achievements, and to explain the approach you will use to explore your chosen collection.

All projects must:

What we're looking for

We want collections supported by us – Research Resources Grants and those in the Wellcome Library – to be the starting point for your idea. Your research might lead to a wide range of findings, such as: 

  • symposia or academic meetings
  • public lectures
  • journal articles or other publications
  • broadcasts
  • film, TV or radio scripts.

Researchers in the Wellcome Library should be willing to take part in the life of the library and work with library staff as their ideas develop. This may not be the case with collections we support in other organisations. You can discuss your idea with individual organisations. 

Other schemes

Research Resources Grants: Support for libraries and archives

Improving access to health-related library and archive collections across the UK and Republic of Ireland by supporting cataloguing, conservation and digitisation projects.
Full details of Research Resources Grants: Support for libraries and archives

Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science

Helping researchers develop compelling and innovative ideas that will go on to form part of larger grant applications to Wellcome or elsewhere.
Full details of Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Science
Scheme finder

Research Bursaries are usually in the range of £5,000 to £25,000.

Awards contribute towards expenses incurred in travelling to, and consulting at, libraries or archives in the UK or Republic of Ireland, such as:

    • Travel costs

      You can ask for travel costs to cover essential visits to the Wellcome Library, and archives and libraries that are supported through the Research Resources scheme.

      You’ll need to justify each visit and its duration.

      Subsistence costs

      If you're away for up to one month you can ask 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, 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 £20 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. 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.

    • You can ask for personal support or salary expenses to cover the time you spend on the project. You will need to be able to justify these costs.

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

      • archival photocopying
      • printing associated with fieldwork and empirical research
      • other items if they are necessary for the project and you can justify them.
    • We will add an inflation allowance to your award.

      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.

      Our inflation allowance is increasing. The following rates apply to grants awarded from 1 October 2017:

      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.

If you request personal support or salary expenses, you should provide an explanation in your application.

You should request a level and duration of funding that's appropriate to your career stage, research experience and proposed research.  

What we don’t offer

  • University fees.
  • Travel and visa arrangements.

We don't provide funds for directly allocated or indirect costs unless they're included on this page.

You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).

Start your application

Stages of application

  1. Submit your full application

    If you’d like to discuss your ideas, you can contact us before you submit your application.

    You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker.

    View the  Sample full application form for Research Bursaries [PDF 1MB].

  2. Review and decision

    We'll determine the suitability and competitiveness of all eligible proposals, and aim to give you a decision within nine weeks of the application deadline. There are no interviews. In general, we don't provide detailed written feedback to unsuccessful applicants.


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

April 2018 round

This is the final round for this scheme.

  • Application deadline

    3 April 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Decision

    May 2018


Postdoctoral research

For researchers with a PhD or equivalent.

Leading a research programme

For researchers with a PhD or the equivalent, and significant postdoctoral research experience.

Returning to research

For people who want to return to a research career after a break of two years or more.

Key dates

April 2018 round

This is the final round for this scheme.

  • Application deadline

    3 April 2018, 17:00 BST

  • Decision

    May 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 Humanities and Social Science team.

People we've funded