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Allowed and disallowed costs

What costs are provided by Wellcome Trust awards?

The Wellcome Trust provides funding for the directly incurred costs of the research project. Directly incurred costs are actual costs that are explicitly identifiable as arising from the conduct of a project (e.g. staff salaries, equipment, materials, travel). These costs are charged as the cash value actually spent and are supported by an auditable record. We do not fund on a proportion of full economic costs (fEC) basis.

Awards may also provide other costs where it suits our charitable mission to do so. For example we:

Grants will be cash-limited at the point of award.


Allowed costs

Funds may be requested for the salary costs of all staff, full or part-time, who work on the project and whose time can be supported by a full audit trail. (Please refer to the staff categories [PDF 16KB] to be used when applying for grant support).

Such costs typically include:

  • research assistants/technicians who are to be employed on the grant
  • Wellcome Trust fellowship and studentship holders
  • principal applicants and coapplicants seeking their own salary support*, if the Wellcome Trust is convinced that our fellowship support schemes are inappropriate for the individual and that the individual is an experienced independent researcher.

*Please note that for some of our schemes, the Trust will not provide a salary for the principal applicant (for example, Investigator Awards). You are advised to check the relevant scheme webpage for information.

We are unwilling to meet the salary recovery costs of staff currently funded by the Higher Education Funding Council. However, a contribution towards the salary of HEFC-funded departmental technicians may be requested, provided that the time spent on the project by the individual can be supported by a verifiable audit trail.

Salary costs sought should be commensurate with the skills, responsibilities and expertise necessary to carry out the role required. Where appropriate, the level of salary sought should be justified in the relevant costs justification section of the form. We reserve the right to award support at a different level if considered appropriate.

Salary costs sought should include any increments to which the individual is entitled, and expected promotions or regrading, where appropriate.

The host institution is responsible, as the employer, for the contracts of employment of the staff concerned, and consequently for any redundancy or other compensatory payments that may be required. Work permits, where required, are a matter for direct negotiation between the host institution and the relevant Government departments.

Further details on the employment of staff are available.

Please note that where the salary costs on an application are required to be amended following consideration by the committee, the revised costings must be based on the original costs submitted in the grant application, including the percentage figure(s) used to cover known or scheduled pay awards in Year 1.

Disallowed costs
We will not provide redundancy costs for research staff.

Materials and consumables

We will meet the directly incurred costs of materials and consumables required to carry out the proposed research.

These costs may include laboratory chemicals and materials (e.g. reagents, isotopes, peptides, enzymes, antibodies, gases, proteins, cell/tissue/bacterial culture, plasticware and glassware, etc.), photographic supplies and any associated charges for shipping, delivery and freight.


Funds may be requested to cover charge-out rates for animal house facilities, when animal use is essential to the project. Charge-out rates may include running costs (including the purchase and maintenance of animals, and any experimental procedures involved, licences and relevant staff training), plus appropriate estates costs and cage depreciation costs. Building depreciation costs should be excluded from the charge-out rates applied for on Trust grants.

We may not be willing to meet the full charge-out rate for an animal house facility where we have provided significant funding towards the infrastructure and/or core support of the facility.

The Trust reserves the right to review and challenge the costing methodology used by the institution to calculate animal house facility charge-out rates applied for on Trust grants.

For institutions that do not use full economic costing methodology to establish charge-out rates for animal house facilities, funds may be requested to cover the purchase costs of animals, food and maintenance charges (e.g. diet, bedding, disinfectant, disposal bags) and labour costs, and for any experimental procedures involved.


Equipment purchase and equipment maintenance

Allowed costs

Applicants can request items of equipment essential to the proposed research project. Costs may include purchase, delivery, installation, maintenance (see below) and any training.

VAT and import duties may be charged only where the usual UK exemptions on equipment used for medical research do not apply, or, in the case of non-UK organisations, it is clear that such costs cannot be recovered).

For an item costing £100K or more, we normally expect a proportional contribution from the host institution or other source.

As a guide, we would expect a contribution of at least 10 per cent on an equipment item costing £100K or more, and at least 20 per cent on an item costing £500K or more. In some instances, a larger contribution may be required; in these cases we will negotiate with the applicants after the application has been assessed.

Contributions are not limited to cash and can include benefits in kind, such as refurbishment or the underwriting of a key support post.

Please note that larger contributions from the host institution/other sources could potentially strengthen the competitiveness of an application.

Equipment maintenance
We will consider requests to cover equipment maintenance for equipment originally funded by us.

Requests for maintenance of existing Wellcome Trust-funded equipment may be considered once the original grant period has expired. We will, however, only consider providing maintenance costs for equipment more than five years old, if the applicant can demonstrate that it is cost-effective to do so.

Applicants outside the UK and Republic of Ireland may apply for maintenance costs for equipment originally funded by us or other sources.

Disallowed costs
Maintenance costs of equipment not funded by the Trust may not be sought on applications from the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland (exceptions may apply to the funding of animal-related research).

Access charges for equipment and facilities

Allowed costs

Access charges calculated on a cost recovery basis may be sought for equipment that was originally funded either by the Wellcome Trust or other sources, after the initial funding period has ended. Access charges for Wellcome Trust-funded equipment will only be considered where any maintenance contracts funded by us have expired. Charges may cover maintenance of service contracts, running costs, staff time and material and consumables.

Access charges calculated on a cost recovery basis may be sought for facilities, so long as the costs are calculated on a Directly Incurred Cost basis and exclude depreciation costs.

The use of the equipment/facilities must be essential to the proposed research.

Disallowed costs
Depreciation costs should not be included. Support for departmental, technical and administrative services (even where calculated on a Directly Incurred Cost basis) are not allowed.


Research management and support costs

These may be requested on grants that will be directly awarded to low- and middle-income country institutions and may include:

  • training costs (e.g. transferable skills and personal development training for the principal applicant and all other posts on the grant, short-term professional training for administrative, technical and support staff)
  • administrative costs (e.g. grant management costs, departmental technical and administrative services)
  • other justifiable costs associated with delivery of the research, which can vary according to the needs of the institution (e.g. computing and internet access costs, facility and running costs such as utilities, furniture, waste disposal and incineration, building maintenance and access to electronic resources). Justification for such costs should be clearly documented and be verifiable through internal and external audit.

In order to apply for these costs, applicants should complete the relevant Costs section of the application form, including a full breakdown of what the costs will pay for. Requests must be accompanied by a letter from the Finance Director of the host institution, confirming that the request is a true representation of the costs incurred.

Flexible Funding Allowance

A Flexible Funding Allowance (FFA) may be provided to meet the unanticipated, directly incurred costs of the research (including page and/or colour publication costs).

The FFA is normally be equivalent to 2.5 per cent of the total costs. However, FFA on grants is provided at the discretion of the Trust. The FFA is only provided on studentship and training and intermediate fellowships and is subject to a maximum ceiling of £50 000 per grant. The FFA will be added, where appropriate, by the Trust.

For other grant schemes, where FFA is not provided, support for page and/or colour publication costs (with the exception of open access costs), formal transferable skills and personal development training, and PhD student fees for individuals employed on a Trust grant, may be requested in the application.


The funds requested on an application must be based on current known costs. Figures for Year 1 may include known pay awards that will take place during the first year (or an assumed percentage, equivalent to our current inflation allowance where the scheduled pay award has not yet been confirmed). An allowance for inflation from Year 2 onwards will be added, where appropriate, by the Trust.

Publication costs

Allowed costs

Page and/or colour publication charges associated with original research papers can be met from the Flexible Funding Allowance on each grant.

Such publication costs will only be met through the FFA on studentships and training and intermediate fellowships. For other grants schemes where FFA is not provided, support for reasonable page and/or colour publication costs may be requested in the application.

Other publishing costs (i.e. those not associated with publishing academic papers) will be considered where such activities are integral to the project, for example:

  • the cost of publishing the proceedings of a Wellcome Trust funded workshop or conference
  • the cost of printing questionnaires, recruitment material, newsletters, etc. for clinical, epidemiological and qualitative research studies
  • where it has been agreed that the results of a clinical trial or epidemiological study should be shared with participants or disseminated more widely to influence policy or change practice
  • for public engagement projects where dissemination (including printing and publishing) is a key activity of the project.

Disallowed costs
The costs of open access article processing charges made by publishers (see the Trust's full policy on open access publishing) should not be requested on individual grant applications as the Trust has provided alternative sources of funding (see question 17 of the FAQs).


Provision for public engagement

The Wellcome Trust offers provision for public engagement costs, which provide dedicated funding to enable grant holders to communicate their research to the public. Researchers are invited to plan how they will inform, consult and collaborate with the non-specialist public over the lifetime of their research project and cost for this appropriately.

New grant applicants will have these costs considered alongside their grant application. Current grant holders (who have at least two years of funding remaining) can apply for these costs as a supplement to their existing grant.

This funding is available for the majority of our postdoctoral fellowships and Investigator Award applicants and grant holders. Further information and details on how to apply.

Please note that if engaging with the public is essential to the ethical conduct of your research (e.g. recruitment of study participants or community advisory panels), then you should include this within your research methodology and cost for it within the research costs of your grant application.

Miscellaneous other costs

This list is indicative rather than exhaustive, but is intended to provide guidance on the types of cost that may/may not be requested.

Costs should be specified as far as possible, and justified in terms of requirement of the research proposed.

Allowed costs may include:

  • fieldwork costs, including survey and data collection and statistical analysis
  • specialist publications (not found in institutional libraries)
  • consultancy fees
  • subjects/volunteers - expenses incurred by volunteers involved in a research project (participatory fees and travel for subjects and volunteers and interviewee expenses)
  • reasonable research-associated costs related to the feedback of health-related findings (but not any healthcare-associated costs)
  • computing – computing hardware (max. £1 500 per item unless more expensive items are specifically justified. Software, software licences and other recurrent costs of computing dedicated to the project
  • costs associated with delivering data management and sharing plans
  • recruitment, advertising and interviewee travel costs for staff employed on the grant
  • purchase/hire/running costs of project-dedicated vehicles.

For grants that do not include the Flexible Funding Allowance, the following costs may also be requested:

  • formal transferable skills and personal development training for Fellows and staff employed on the grant (including training on specific skills relevant to the research project, e.g. animal handling, microscopy)
  • PhD student fees for individuals employed on a Trust grant.

Disallowed costs may include:

  • estates costs* – this includes building and premises costs, basic services and utilities, research, technical and administrative staff whose time is shared across several projects and not supported by an audit record, and operational costs (e.g. phone, fax, postage, photocopying, stationery – unless these can be justified within a clinical or epidemiological study)
  • charge-out costs for major facilities* – departmental technical and administrative services, and use of existing equipment
  • indirect costs – this includes general administration costs such as personnel, finance, library, room hire and some departmental services
  • furniture – chairs, desks, filing cabinets, etc.
  • clothing – lab coats, shoes, gloves, protective clothing
  • non-research related activities – for example, catering, room and venue hire for staff parties, team-building and other miscellaneous social activities
  • indemnity insurance (insurance cover against claims made by subjects or patients associated with a research programme)
  • ethics reviews (except in low- and middle-income countries)
  • cleaning, waste and other disposal costs*
  • radiation protection costs.

*Different exceptional arrangements apply to the funding of animal-related research.

Detailed information on the types of costs that can/cannot be charged on biomedical research grants.

Clinical research costs
Research conducted using NHS patients or facilities is subject to the guidelines for attributing the costs of health and social care research and development (AcoRD), published by the Department of Health. Annex A of the AcoRD guidelines details the subset of costs that may be requested, and those which we would expect to be funded by the Department of Health through the National Institute for Health Research or local NHS Trusts.

When a trial is being undertaken, the Trust will meet the costs of trial registration, and researchers may request such costs as part of the grant application.

Further information on funding for clinical trials.

Travel costs

The Wellcome Trust provides the principal applicant and each researcher employed on the grant with a contribution towards travel costs to attend scientific/academic meetings and conferences. The following allowances apply:

  • principal investigators (and co-investigators who receive their salary on the grant): £2000 per annum
  • research staff employed on the grant: £1000 each per annum
  • junior and intermediate fellows: £1500 per annum
  • senior and principal fellows: £2000 per annum.

If you are submitting an application via WT Grant Tracker you can ask for these costs in your application form, up to the maximum annual amounts listed above. The Trust will no longer automatically provide these costs.

Requests for additional funds for specified meetings/conferences are not permitted.

Other travel funds (e.g. for collaborative visits) may be requested. Travel fares for accompanying partners and dependants may only be requested where the Trust-funded researcher will be undertaking research away from the home laboratory for 12 months or more.

Travel costs should be requested at economy class level.


Essential subsistence costs can be requested for individuals working overseas or away from their host institution for a period of less than 12 months. Subsistence should be costed according to the host institution's normal subsistence rates. Where the host institution does not have an established subsistence policy, the following rates should be used:

  • £80 per day for week 1
  • £60 per day for weeks 2 and 3
  • £40 per day for weeks 4-26
  • £20 per day thereafter, plus health insurance where necessary.

Grant applicants from low- and middle-income countries should use the following rates if the host institution does not have an established subsistence policy:

  • £90 per day for weeks 1-4
  • £60 per day thereafter, plus health insurance where necessary

Applicants intending to spend a period of time overseas should provide the predicted cost of health insurance.

For visits of 12 months' duration or longer, overseas allowances should be applied.

Overseas allowances

Specific arrangements apply for UK-employed post holders working overseas and for overseas-employed post holders working in the UK for periods of 12 months or more.


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