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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 research environments 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.

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 appropriate research locations 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 can also apply for provision for public engagement costs, which provide dedicated funds to enable grant holders to engage with the public with their research.

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.

For preliminary applications submitted after November 2014, you must be in the final year of your PhD studies or have no more than two years of postdoctoral research experience from the date of your PhD viva at the final decision point (i.e. interview). 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).

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.

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 are encouraged to begin your fellowship at a new research location.

You will require a:

  • Sponsor (normally the Head of Department, or equivalent, e.g. Centre/Unit Director) who can guarantee that the sponsoring institution will administer the award for the full tenure of the fellowship
  • mentor who will provide you with independent support and advice for the duration of the award
  • research sponsor in every different research environment who must be able to 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 of full applications are not normally allowed.

Application process

Please use WT Grant Tracker to complete your preliminary application.

This 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

This fellowship should support you to undertake a research programme that will not normally be possible in a standard postdoctoral position, and which will enable you to expand your research horizons and develop your scientific independence whilst working with the best researchers in the UK and overseas.

You should drive the identification of a research question and the development of the proposal. However, we expect your research sponsor(s) and mentor to 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.

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 include periods in more than one research location, 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 sponsoring institution during the award.

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 location you propose to work in.

For the full application, you are encouraged to identify all your proposed research sponsors, but, at a minimum, you must identify at least two research sponsors.

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

Your fellowship may not start until your PhD is awarded.

The Trust would normally expect this fellowship to be taken up in a timely fashion, normally no longer than six months after award.

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

Resubmissions of full applications are not normally 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: 3 May 2016 (5pm)
  • Invited full application deadline: 4 July 2016 (5pm)
  • Shortlisted candidate interviews: 9-11 November 2016

  • Preliminary application deadline: 10 October 2016 (5pm)
  • Invited full application deadline: 13 December 2016 (5pm)
  • Shortlisted candidate interviews: 19-21 April 2017

Current award holders

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

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

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