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Career Re-entry Fellowships

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This scheme is for postdoctoral scientists who have recently decided to recommence a scientific research career after a continuous break of at least two years.

It gives such scientists the opportunity to return to high-quality research, with the potential to undertake refresher or further training.

The fellowship is particularly suitable for applicants wishing to return to research after a break for family commitments.

What's included

The fellowship is tenable for two to four years, depending on seniority before career break, and may be taken up on a full or part-time basis.

It provides support that includes:

In exceptional circumstances, research assistance may be requested at the postgraduate or technical level.

Modest requests for equipment, where fully justified in the context of the proposed research, will be considered, but we expect that a laboratory or unit appropriate to the research proposed be selected, and that the majority of the necessary equipment and facilities required for the proposed research be available to the candidate.

Funding may be provided for re-training, e.g. tuition fees at the UK student rate for an appropriate MSc course.

Time permitted for non-research activity during the Career Re-entry Fellowship is normally restricted to a maximum of eight hours each week.


The awards are open to individuals with a relevant connection to the European Economic Area (EEA).

You should be a research scientist with at least two years' postdoctoral experience and intend to be based in a UK or Republic of Ireland organisation.

You must have had a continuous career break of at least two years and should have either a strong research track record (if applying for up to four years' support) or demonstrated the potential for a strong research career prior to your break (if applying for two years' support). A two-year fellowship should provide sufficient training support to consolidate your potential.

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

Resubmissions are not normally encouraged. If your application has been unsuccessful, please contact the Office for advice.

Sponsorship and supervision

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

You must have a sponsor who holds an established post and has tenure beyond the duration of the proposed fellowship. He/she must have a contract of employment with the host institution or, in the case of an NHS employee, an honorary academic appointment. He/she must be in a position to guarantee you space and facilities for the full period of the grant.

In addition to a sponsor, we would expect you to receive laboratory-based supervision and that an individual supervisor is identified for this purpose.

You must also have a mentor who will provide you with independent support and advice for the duration of the award.

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

Appropriate individuals will possess strong track records in research and mentorship. We hope that all mentors will provide guidance during the application process, as well as support throughout the Career Re-entry Fellowship.

Sponsors, supervisors and mentors are advised to read all the scheme information provided here.

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

Application process

You should complete and submit a preliminary application form [Word 264KB] 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.

Completed forms will normally be assessed within three weeks of the preliminary deadline.

If successful, you will be invited to submit a full application.

Full applications will be considered twice a year by the relevant scientific committee most appropriate to the subject of the proposed research.

If successful, you will be shortlisted for interview.

You will be notified at least two weeks prior to the interview date as to whether you have been shortlisted. Interviews will be conducted at our offices in London.

Application advice

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

You are expected to liaise closely with your proposed sponsor, supervisor and mentor when writing your proposal. These individuals should provide guidance during the application process, as well as support throughout the Career Re-entry Fellowship. Mentors should be prepared to provide informal guidance to help you integrate into your academic environment.

Sponsors and supervisors are encouraged to view their support and mentorship of a candidate as part of a longer-term commitment to help that candidate successfully return to a career in research.

We will take particular care to assess your track record in research before the career break and the appropriateness of the re-training strategy.

Assessment criteria:

  • the scientific merit of the proposed project
  • the significance of the science, which will need to be competitive
  • the suitability of the sponsor, supervisor, mentor and host environment
  • appropriateness of training, applicant’s track record and knowledge of area.

Time (full or part-time) spent outside a research environment is taken into consideration when assessing eligibility to apply for support for all Wellcome Trust fellowship schemes.

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

Fellowships must be taken up within one year of award.

Resubmissions are not normally encouraged. If your application has been unsuccessful, please contact the Office for advice.

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

Alternative funding schemes

Applicants who wish to return to research after a career break for family reasons may be interested in the following schemes offered by other funding organisations:


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

  • 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

Late applications will not be accepted at any stage.


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

See Contact us for our postal address.


A full list of current and former Career Re-entry Fellows is available.

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