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For outstanding postdoctoral scientists wishing to build their own UK-based independent research career addressing an important biomedical question.

Research can range from the molecules and cells vital to life and their role in the global spread of disease, to clinical and public health research seeking to improve the quality of healthcare. It can be based in the laboratory, clinic or field, and may involve experimental or theoretical approaches.

This Fellowship brings together the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust, two of the world's most prestigious and influential scientific organisations, in their shared commitment to supporting the future leaders of biomedical research.

The scheme seeks to support individuals who would have previously applied for a 'biomedical' Royal Society University Research Fellowship or a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship hosted by a UK academic organisation.

Details of awarded fellows are available.

What's included

Fellowships are tenable for five years in the first instance, with the potential to apply for competitive renewal for an additional three years.

Fellowships may be taken up on a part-time employment basis, where appropriate.

Unless stated otherwise, the following costs may be requested:

  • a basic salary for the Fellow, as determined by the host organisation; an additional Wellcome Trust enhancement of £7500 per annum will also be provided
  • research expenses, including research assistance (normally one post which may be a postdoc or graduate RA or technician; requests for additional research staff may be considered where fieldwork or clinical studies in a low- or middle-income country are proposed)
  • travel and subsistence for collaborative travel or scientifically justified overseas visits of normally up to one year
  • overseas allowances, where appropriate, for applicants working in low- or middle-income countries for 12 months or more

In addition the Funders will provide:

  • an inflation allowance as set by the Wellcome Trust
  • a Flexible Funding Allowance as set by the Wellcome Trust
  • a contribution towards indirect and estate costs funded by the Royal Society (currently set at £11 000 per annum per Fellowship).

Please note that only the funds provided by the Royal Society may be used towards indirect and estate costs.

The Wellcome Trust’s position on full economic costs is to pay the directly incurred costs of the research it funds, and other costs where these will further the Trust’s charitable mission. The Trust does not fund on a proportion of full economic costs (fEC) basis.

Successful applicants for this scheme may be considered for a Wellcome-Beit Prize. These are intended to provide additional recognition for outstanding biomedical researchers.



You are expected to have relevant scientific or mathematical qualifications and, at the final decision point (i.e. at interview), be no more than seven years from the date of your PhD viva.

You must be:

  • a UK/EEA national
  • a non-EEA national who either has a relevant degree from a UK university, or has worked in the UK for at least a continuous three-year period
  • an exceptional biomedical scientist, who does not fall within the categories above, whose recruitment to the host organisation would be advantageous to both the applicant and the organisation.

Please note that if you hold an established post you are not eligible to apply for a fellowship to be held at your current employing organisation. However, in exceptional circumstances we are willing to consider a preliminary application if you wish to move organisation and are able to make a strong scientific justification for the move. Please contact the Wellcome Trust for advice (see ‘Contacts’).

You must have made intellectual contributions to research that have been published in leading journals, and be able to demonstrate your potential to carry out independent research.

Time spent outside the research environment will be taken into consideration (e.g. time away due to personal reasons such as maternity, paternity, adoption leave or other caring responsibilities; ill-health or working in a non-research environment/role such as industry).

Where applicants have taken formal maternity, paternity or adoption leave as the primary carer (either the mother, father, partner or adopter), the Trust will allow an additional six months for each period of parental leave when assessing eligibility. Each case will be considered individually and the employing institution may need to confirm that the applicant qualifies for this provision.

Resubmissions are not normally encouraged. If a previous application has been unsuccessful, please contact the Wellcome Trust for advice.

Holders of Royal Society University Research Fellowships or Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowships are not eligible to apply for a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship.

Whilst this scheme is not open to individuals who wish to combine research with a continuing clinical career in medicine, psychology, dentistry or veterinary practice, opportunities may be available through the Wellcome Trust’s clinical fellowship schemes.

Host organisation

You must have an eligible sponsoring host organisation in the UK with the support of the relevant Head of Department, or equivalent e.g. Centre Director, Head of School, etc., who can guarantee that you will be supported in developing your own independent career and that adequate space and resources will be provided for the duration of the award.

The Head of Department (or equivalent):

  • must have a contract of employment with the host organisation or, in the case of an NHS employee, an honorary academic appointment
  • should give an undertaking that if an award is made, you will be granted the status and prerogatives of other academic staff of similar seniority
  • should not expect you to spend more than six hours per week on activities unrelated to the Fellowship (e.g. teaching duties).

If you propose to undertake fieldwork or research in a low- or middle-income country, you may be required to identify an appropriate Head of Department, or equivalent (e.g. Director of Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme), in your overseas organisation.

Head of Departments are encouraged to view their support and mentorship of you as part of a longer-term commitment to help you realise your career aspirations in research.

Sponsors are advised to read all the scheme information provided here.

Application process

Preliminary application stage

Please use WT Grant Tracker to complete your preliminary application.

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

Full application stage

If eligible and assessed as competitive, you will be advised to submit a full application. You should only complete a full application form if we have invited you to; any full applications submitted without invitation will not be accepted.

Download a sample of the full application form.

Sir Henry Dale Fellows are expected to conduct research in line with the agreed Policies and Position Statements of the funders.

Once the full application has been submitted it will be subject to external peer review prior to consideration by the scientifically relevant Expert Review Group.

The Expert Review Group will shortlist applicants for interview by the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship Interview Committee.

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted at least two weeks before the interview date and interviews will take place in London.

Awards will be conditional upon a satisfactory performance at interview.

Application advice

Reviewers and decision-making bodies typically assess:

  • the calibre of the candidate
  • the scientific merit of the proposed project
  • the significance of the research
  • the suitability of the host environment for the applicant's development as an independent researcher.

You are expected to write your own application for support of an independent project, which should normally be hypothesis-driven.

Candidates are not expected to move organisation to apply for this fellowship. However, if you’ve been in the same department for more than two years and intend to stay there, you should describe in your application how you will develop your independence.

Those appointed are expected to be strong candidates for a more senior fellowship or a permanent position within a UK research organisation at the end of their Sir Henry Dale Fellowship.

You may not apply for more than one of the funders' fellowship schemes at any one time.

Successful applicants may have the opportunity to apply for Wellcome Trust Enhancement funding.

Successful applicants from outside the European Economic Area are encouraged to apply for entry to the UK via the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise visa routes. In order to streamline the application process for these visas, the Trust is taking part in a pilot scheme for accelerated endorsement, in collaboration with the Designated Competent Bodies – the British Academy, the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. For more information please contact tierone@wellcome.ac.uk.


Applications for this scheme are now considered three times a year. Details of the next round:

  • Preliminary application deadline: 17 August 2016 (5pm)
  • Invited full application deadline: 24 October 2016 (5pm)
  • Shortlisted candidate interviews: March 2017

Schedule for preliminary applications submitted to 12 April 2016 deadline:

  • Invited full application deadline: 21 June 2016 (5pm)
  • Shortlisted candidate interviews: 26-28 October 2016

Schedule for preliminary applications submitted to 1 December 2015 deadline:

  • Invited full application deadline: 12 February 2016 (5pm)
  • Shortlisted candidate interviews: 1-3 June 2016

Late applications will not be accepted at any stage.

Details of awarded fellows.

Contact us

About your eligibility, the application process or general queries about grants

About the content of your project or proposal

About our online application system

Information for awardees

Information and resources that will be useful once a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship has been awarded.

Grant Start Certificate [Word 101KB]
This certificate must be signed by a senior member of the central administration of the host organisation, confirming acceptance of the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship. The grant cannot be activated until this confirmation has been received. The Funders will not accept liability for any expenses incurred on the grant until a signed Grant Start Certificate has been returned.

Grant Conditions [PDF 107KB]
These Grant Conditions, together with the Award Letter and Policies and Positions Statements (see below), set out the terms and conditions on which the Grant is made by the Funders to the host organisation.

Policies and Position Statements [Word 81KB]
Sir Henry Dale Fellows are expected to conduct research in line with the agreed policies and position statements of the Funders.

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