Research in the humanities and social sciences

We fund research in the humanities and social sciences that addresses any aspect of health.

Why it's important

At different times in history, or in different cultures and settings, people can have very different experiences of health, disease and wellbeing.

Understanding more about those experiences can improve the delivery of healthcare. It can also improve the way scientists conduct their research.

For example:

What we fund

We support:

Examples of the research and other work we've funded are:

Find out more about our funding schemes.

What we don't fund

Across all Wellcome’s funding areas there are certain activities we don’t fund.

In humanities and social science, the following are areas of research that we don’t usually fund.

Applied research

Your main research aim should be to make a significant intellectual contribution to your field – theoretical, conceptual and methodological innovations are likely to be central features of your proposal.

If these elements are not clearly shown or do not appear to be a major motivation for the research, your application is unlikely to be successful.

Similarly, an application which seems mainly or wholly focused on testing whether or not a particular intervention works is also unlikely to succeed.

Research we fund can have applied elements, but successful bids also promise to add something to their field intellectually.

Education

Projects to develop, promote, implement or assess education, including medical education, aren’t usually suitable for humanities and social science funding schemes.

Historical or sociological studies of health education that offer a contribution to scholarship in these disciplines might be suitable. 

Researchers interested in education should read our Science education priority area page.

Psychology

Wellcome does fund psychologists’ research but mostly through our Neuroscience and Mental Health and Population Health funding, which supports research through our Science schemes.

If your research uses qualitative methods such as focus groups or semi-structured interviews as its main approach, then it might be more suitable for our humanities and social science funding schemes.

Epidemiology

If your research project will mainly rely on collecting primary, quantitative data, you should contact our Population Health team

If your project will mainly rely on qualitative data (or any kind of secondary data), you should consider applying for humanities and social science funding.

More information

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