Wellcome science review

We’re carrying out a review of the way we support science. Our aim is to create a vision that sets out what we want to achieve and the impact we want to have. 

Why we’re doing the review

Wellcome’s mission is to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We achieve this in part through our support for science, where we spend almost £620 million a year. But while aspects of science have changed over the past few decades, the way Wellcome supports researchers has changed very little. It is therefore timely to ask if we’re serving science and research well.

Wellcome as an organisation has also changed. We’re much clearer about what we want to achieve and, through the Wellcome Success Framework, are monitoring whether we’re succeeding in our aims.

Another aspect of this accountability, to ourselves and to society, involves looking at whether we make full use of Wellcome’s independence. We have the freedom to do what other funders cannot, and need to think about how best to use this independence for public benefit.

At a time when humanity is facing some of its greatest threats, we think it is right to ask how the science we fund can achieve the best possible advances in human health.

Our approach

The first part of our review involves creating a clear vision of where we want to be in ten to fifteen years, then working backwards to decide how to get there. The vision will give us clarity and a clear sense of purpose, helping us define the funding mechanisms and activities needed to achieve it.

To help us do this work, we are:

  • gathering the opinions of researchers, leaders from academia and industry, policy makers, and other experts in health and research
  • looking at what other funders do, in the UK and around the world
  • looking at our own effectiveness.

We’re consulting as broadly as possible, speaking to people from different organisations, communities, countries and career stages, using methods ranging from online surveys to study trips and interviews. We’re also speaking to people we don’t usually work with, to collect ideas that challenge our thinking and our ways of working. 

Jim Smith is leading the review. Read his blog for more on how we're approaching it. 

We’ll continue our consultation throughout 2019. Keep an eye on this page to read about our progress.

Contact the team

If you have any questions about our science review, contact sciencereviewteam@wellcome.ac.uk.