Senior Investigator Awards
Senior Investigator Awards support exceptional, world-class researchers, who hold an established academic position. We will support researchers who have an international track-record of significant achievement relative to their career stage, who have demonstrated the originality and impact of their research, and who are leaders in their field.
Senior Investigator Awards provide flexible support to enable the best researchers to address the most important questions about health and disease. Awards may be small or large, but candidates must be able to articulate a compelling vision for their research and set out the approaches they will take.
The research should contribute to the Wellcome Trust's vision to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health, and the proposal should describe how it will address one or more of our five major challenges. These are set out in our ten-year Strategic Plan for 2010-2020.
Senior Investigator Awards provide a flexible package of funding that is driven by the requirements of the proposed research.
A Senior Investigator Award might be anything up to £425k per year, and for any duration of up to a maximum of seven years. Costs should be suited to and clearly justified by the proposed research and the approaches you will take.
The award covers the direct costs of carrying out the research, such as:
- research expenses, including research assistance, animals, equipment, fieldwork costs and funding for collaborative activity
- travel and subsistence for scientifically justified visits
- overseas allowances where appropriate.
The award does not include your salary costs. These must be provided by your host institution.
You are expected to justify the costs requested. The exact costs awarded will be finalised with successful applicants after the funding decision and will depend on the recommendations of the Interview Panel. The final award will not exceed the total amount requested.
Please note that the Trust does not fund on a proportion of full economic costs (fEC) basis.
See Costs guidance for Investigator Awards [Word] for further information on what costs are, or are not, allowed.
Additional funding is available to enable institutions to recruit exceptional scientists to the UK from overseas. The International Recruitment Supplement (IRS) is designed to be part of the award, providing a competitive start-up package and covering some of the other costs associated with an individual's recruitment. Candidates must speak to their host institution before submitting an application that includes IRS and this must also be discussed with the Trust in advance.
Investigator Award holders may also have the opportunity to apply for future Enhancement funding.
To be eligible for a Senior Investigator Award you must be based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or a low- or middle-income country, and you should have an established academic post at an eligible higher education or research institution. By this we mean you are employed on a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract, salaried by your host institution.
You are also eligible to apply if you have a written guarantee of an established academic post at your host institution, which you will take up by the start of the award.
If you are uncertain as to whether your employment status meets the above eligibility criteria, please contact the Trust for advice (see 'Contacts').
If you are based in a low- or middle-income country in sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia or South Asia (with the exception of India - see below) please note that you are eligible to apply if you fulfil the above eligibility criteria and are working within the Trust's broad science funding remit.
If you are based in a low- or middle-income country other than in the territories mentioned above, please note that you are eligible to apply only if you are a researcher carrying out research in the fields of public health and tropical medicine. Research projects should be aimed at understanding and controlling diseases (either animal or human) of relevance to local, national or global health. This can include laboratory based molecular analysis of field or clinical samples, but projects focused solely on studies in vitro or using animal models, will not normally be considered.
The Senior Investigator Award scheme is not available to researchers in India. Please see the schemes offered by the Wellcome Trust/Department of Biotechnology India Alliance.
Other eligibility information
- If you are employed at an eligible core-funded research institute, the research you propose for a Senior Investigator Award should be distinct from, and not intended to replace, activities already funded through other forms of support in that institute.
- We encourage applications from outstanding individuals who have worked in industry or other non-academic research environments, or who have taken career breaks. Time spent outside a research environment (full- or part-time) will be considered when assessing your eligibility.
- If you are a research worker who has retired or will reach retirement age during the proposed term of the grant, you might be eligible to apply, subject to the policy of your host institution and with the support of a sponsor at your host institution. Please contact the Trust for advice.
- Royal Society and RCUK researchers may be eligible to apply and are advised to contact the Trust.
- Unsuccessful applicants will normally be expected to wait 12 months before resubmitting an application, and must first discuss their resubmission with the Trust.
- You may hold only one Senior Investigator Award at any one time.
Joint applications are welcome from two researchers who are working closely together towards a shared research vision. Please contact the Trust for advice before completing your application form.
Senior Investigator Awards are prestigious awards intended to support world-leading researchers who have an established track record of significant achievement relative to their career stage; who have carried out innovative research with a clear impact; and who propose a compelling vision for their research to explore the most important questions in their field of study.
We expect that you:
- are an internationally recognised research leader
- have made significant contributions to your field - demonstrated by a substantial record of publications in the important journals in your field
- have a strong track record of attracting significant research grant support from major funding bodies, or have been the recipient of a senior research fellowship prior to taking up your current post
- have a strong training record supporting the development and mentorship of less experienced researchers.
Trust staff are happy to provide advice if you are unsure of your suitability for this scheme.
Host institution: what the Trust expects
The environment in which you will undertake your research, and the nature of the support promised by the host institution, are important factors when we are evaluating your application.
Your full application must be accompanied by a statement of commitment on behalf of your host institution from the most senior authority in the relevant faculty, school or division. This should express:
- why your institution considers that you merit Senior Investigator Award status
- how your institution will support you to ensure that the ambitions of your research proposal can be achieved
- how your research proposal complements and addresses your institution's strategic aims and priorities.
The statement should also confirm:
- the nature of your employment contract and its compliance with our eligibility criteria for a Senior Investigator Award
- the source of your salary for the duration of the award
- that the necessary additional space, facilities and infrastructure will be made available to you for the research for the duration of the award
- details of any support (financial, administrative, technical or other assistance) that your institution will commit to supporting the application.
Investigator Awards are made following a rigorous review process and interview. We no longer offer a formal CV check stage. However, prospective applicants are strongly advised to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria, and may contact the Trust at any stage during preparation of the application to discuss their proposal or suitability for the scheme.
The key stages of the application process are:
- submission of a Senior Investigator Award application form
- scientific peer review by one of the Trust’s Expert Review Groups, which will shortlist the candidates for interview
- written peer review of shortlisted applications by external expert referees, which will include members of the Trust’s peer review college. Selected unattributed referee comments will be fed back to the candidate before interview.
- interview of shortlisted candidates by the Interview Panel
- if successful at interview, candidates will then need to provide detailed costings to be agreed with the Trust.
Application forms are available on eGrants, our electronic application system. Please refer to the
Additional information for completing the Investigator Award form on eGrants, which provides an overview to help guide you through the Investigator Award application process. You may also find it useful to read the Costs guidance for Investigator Awards for further information on what is and is not included.
Please see 'Key dates' for details of the next full application closing date.
All experts involved in reviewing and selecting candidates for award are asked to consider applications against the following criteria:
- the track record of the candidate relative to their career stage, and his or her standing in the field
- the quality and importance of the research question(s)
- the approach to solving these questions
- the suitability of the research environment
- how the proposed research addresses one or more of our major challenges.
Unsuccessful applicants will not normally be allowed to resubmit within 12 months of the date of decision, and should first discuss their resubmission with the Trust.
Successful applicants may have the opportunity to apply for future Enhancement funding.
Applications are considered three times a year and all submissions will now be processed according to published closing dates. The closing date for the next round of full applications is:
- Next full application closing date: 25 July 2014
- Shortlisting of candidates by Expert Review Group: September 2014
- Shortlisted candidate interviews by
Interview Panel: 3-5 December 2014
Details of future rounds:
- Next full application closing date: 14 November 2014
- Shortlisting of candidates by Expert Review Group: January 2015
- Shortlisted candidate interviews by
Interview Panel: 30 March - 1 April 2015
Schedule for full applications submitted to 28 February 2014 deadline:
- Shortlisting of candidates by Expert Review Group: April/May 2014
- Shortlisted candidate interviews by Interview Panel: 8-10 July 2014