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Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships

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This fellowship provides a unique opportunity for the most promising newly qualified postdoctoral researchers to make an early start in developing their independent research careers, working in the best laboratories in the UK and overseas.

Candidates will be expected to identify an important biomedical research question and to develop and deliver a personal programme to achieve their research aims.

Details of awarded fellows are now available.

In 2010, the Wellcome Trust carried out a review of the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. Read the full report [PDF 280KB].

Successful fellows met at the Wellcome Trust on the 28 July 2009 to discuss their experiences. Watch the video below to find out more about the scheme from the fellows themselves, including how they managed the application process (running time: 3 min 42 s).

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Read the transcript [PDF 144KB]
View this video on YouTube

What's included

The fellowship is for four years full-time. Fellowships may be taken up on a part-time employment basis with the tenure of award lengthened accordingly.

The fellowship provides an award of £250 000. These funds provide support for:

  • the basic salary as determined by the host institution, with an additional Trust enhancement for basic science fellows
  • research expenses (materials and consumables; animals; travel and overseas subsistence; support to attend scientific meetings; small items of equipment, e.g. laptop; and fieldwork and data collection).

Support funds for research staff or equipment are not provided. It is expected that an appropriate laboratory will be selected and that the majority of the necessary equipment and facilities required for the proposed research be available to the candidate.

Awarded Fellows are eligible to apply for provision for public engagement costs, which provides dedicated funds to enable grant holders to communicate their research to the public.

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellows in the third or fourth year of their Fellowship are also eligible to apply for the Wellcome Trust and BBC placement scheme. This scheme provides Fellows with the opportunity to undertake a four-week internship at the BBC science unit in Central London or Glasgow, to gain first-hand experience of the broadcast media environment and an understanding of the development, production and commissioning process of TV programmes.


These awards are open to individuals with a relevant connection to the European Economic Area.

You must be in the final year of your PhD studies or have no more than one year of postdoctoral research experience from the date of your PhD viva to the full application submission deadline (e.g. if the full deadline is in June 2014, your viva should not have occurred prior to June 2013). Time spent outside the research environment will be taken into consideration (e.g. time away due to maternity, paternity, adoption leave or other caring responsibilities; ill-health or working in a non-research environment/role such as industry).

The proposed research should fall within the Wellcome Trust's normal funding remit.

Sponsorship and supervision

You must have an eligible sponsoring institution in the UK or Republic of Ireland that will administer the fellowship for the full duration of the award.

You may be sponsored by your current host institution but must begin your fellowship at a new research location.

You will require a:

  • sponsor who can guarantee that the host institution will administer the award for the full tenure of the fellowship - he/she must have a contract of employment at the host institution and have tenure beyond the duration of the proposed fellowship
  • mentor who will provide you with independent support and advice for the duration of the award
  • research sponsor in every laboratory who must be able to guarantee you access to space and resources for the required period and provide relevant scientific guidance.

A sponsor may also be nominated as a research sponsor or mentor on an application. However, we would not expect a single individual to be proposed for all three roles.

More information about these roles can be found on the Glossary page.

Resubmissions are not allowed.

Application process

You should complete and submit a preliminary application form [Word 298KB] by the published deadline. The requested accompanying information should be included in the same form and emailed as a single Word or PDF document to sciencegrants@wellcome.ac.uk. You can send letters of support separately, but these should reach the Trust by the deadline and clearly state which application they are associated with.

Your preliminary application will be assessed within four weeks of the submission deadline. If successful, you will be invited to submit a full application.

Your full application will be peer reviewed by the relevant scientific committee and, if successful, you will be shortlisted for interview.

Shortlisted candidates will be notified two weeks before the interview date. Interviews will be conducted at our offices in London.

Awards will be conditional upon a satisfactory performance at interview.

Application advice

You should give careful thought to your choice of sponsor and mentor. Appropriate individuals will possess strong track records in research, training and/or mentorship.

You will require a sponsor and a mentor, and a research sponsor in every lab. For the full application, you will be required to identify the first research sponsor as a minimum. A sponsor may also be nominated as a research sponsor or mentor on an application; however, we would not expect a single individual to be proposed for all three roles.

You should drive the identification of a research question and the development of the proposal. However, we expect your sponsor and mentor to be provide you with advice and support during the application process.

You will be expected to focus on your research for the duration of the award.

You may not apply for more than one Wellcome Trust fellowship scheme at any one time.

Reviewers typically assess:

  • your track record
  • the importance of the research question
  • your choice of appropriate research sponsors
  • the feasibility of the approach
  • your vision of how the fellowship will contribute to your career development
  • your longer-term aspirations.

The fellowship should normally include periods in more than one laboratory, either in the UK or overseas. There is no time limit on the amount of time spent outside the sponsoring institution. However, recipients are encouraged to maintain a strong link with their host institution during the award.

Candidates will normally be expected to return to UK/Republic of Ireland before termination of the fellowship.

Resubmissions are not allowed.

Please refer to the Application information pages for more advice about applying for a grant.


Applications for this scheme are considered twice a year. Details of the next round are:

  • Preliminary application deadline: 6 October 2014 (5pm)
  • Invited full application deadline: 8 December 2014 (5pm)
  • Shortlisted candidate interviews: 13-15 April 2015

Schedule for preliminary applications submitted to 8 May 2014 deadline:

  • Invited full application deadline: 18 July 2014 (5pm)
  • Shortlisted candidate interviews: 19-21 November 2014

Your fellowship may not start until your PhD is awarded, and must be taken up within one year of the grant being awarded.

Current award holders

A full list of Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellows is available.


Enquiries may be emailed to sciencegrants@wellcome.ac.uk or telephone the Grants Information Desk: +44 (0)20 7611 5757.

See our postal address and general contact details.

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