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Multi-user equipment grants

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Equipment grants are intended to provide support for multi-user items of equipment, including equipment required to create a central resource for a number of disparate scientific programmes.

Applicants should demonstrate how the requested equipment would enhance Trust-funded investments in strategic areas of interest and add value to Trust-funded research. Requests for equipment must be justified within the context of the research strategy of the institution. Applications must also take into account opportunities to access similar equipment locally or nationally.

Applications for multi-user equipment grants will be considered annually (alongside biomedical resource/technology development grant applications) at a specially convened committee.

What's included

Up to five years' support is available, and expenses may include:

  • the purchase and essential running and maintenance costs of equipment
  • salaries for staff necessary to run and/or manage the apparatus (but not for experimental research personnel).

Applications exceeding £1m, or those requesting less than £75 000, will not normally be considered under this scheme. Please contact the Trust for more details.

Capital build costs will not be considered through this scheme, although minor refurbishment costs may be requested if the new equipment requires specialised housing.

Please note that the Trust’s standard travel allowance for applicants will not be added to these awards.

Project-related consumable costs are not permitted.

Institutional contribution

We normally expect applications to include a contribution from the host institution or other source, proportionate to the total amount requested. As a guide, we would expect a contribution of at least 10 per cent on applications costing £100 000 or more. In some instances, a larger contribution may be required. Applicants should discuss the requirements for an institutional contribution with a member of Trust staff before submitting a preliminary application.

Please note that larger contributions from the host institution or other sources could potentially strengthen the competitiveness of an application. Regardless of the size of the institution's contribution, it will be required to submit a statement explaining how the equipment fits into the overall institutional strategy.

Contributions are not limited to cash and can include appropriate benefits in kind, such as refurbishment or the underwriting of a key support post.

Additional contributions

The Trust anticipates that the equipment will be used primarily (but not exclusively) by Trust-funded researchers. Where a significant proportion of users of the equipment are not Trust-funded, we would expect applicants to consider seeking an appropriate financial contribution from alternative sources, including other funding bodies.

Additional information

If an applicant moves to a different institution after an equipment grant has been awarded, the equipment must remain at the institution to which it was awarded. This ensures that we are contributing to the infrastructure of institutions, as well as promoting the science of individuals (see our Grant Conditions).


This scheme is open to applicants in the UK who meet our standard eligibility criteria and have a track record in obtaining grant funding.

Co-applicants who do not have salary support for the duration of the grant are eligible to apply, provided they have at least one year’s personal salary support at the proposed start date of the grant.

Researchers in low- or middle-income countries may be eligible to apply if they have a track record of Trust funding or if they can demonstrate that they have established a strong track record of independent research accomplishment.

Application process

Preliminary application stage

Please use WT Grant Tracker to complete your preliminary application.

Preliminary applications must include a supporting statement from the host institution:

  • outlining how the equipment will contribute to the overall research strategy of the institution
  • indicating the contributions - financial or otherwise - that will be provided by the institution and/or other sources if the application is successful.

You are advised to refer to ‘Application advice’ below for information on points to consider when preparing your application.

Completed preliminary application forms will be assessed and, if shortlisted, applicants will then be invited to submit a full application.

Full application stage

Full applications submitted for the published deadline will be sent out for peer review. Applications will be considered by a specially convened committee.

Please note that the Trust does not normally accept the resubmission of unsuccessful applications.

Application advice

Points to consider when preparing your preliminary and full applications:

  • the potential impact and importance of the equipment for your research should be apparent
  • those involved in the assessment of an application will need to be convinced that there is a genuine demand for the equipment and that the availability of other similar equipment in the local environment has been taken into consideration
  • the feasibility of the type and model of equipment being requested may be demonstrated by the inclusion of pilot data
  • you will need to demonstrate that the equipment will be appropriately managed and how conflicting demands for access will be addressed
  • how the equipment will be sustained at the end of the proposed grant period - you will need to submit a convincing business plan to demonstrate sustainability in the medium to long term
  • who will provide the specialist expertise and/or technical support that may be required
  • try to negotiate discounts on the cost of the equipment from the outset, and quote discounted prices rather than list prices wherever possible.
  • the total cost of running the equipment in-house, including reagents, staff and maintenance, should be demonstrably lower than the cost of outsourcing the work (if applicable).

Assessment criteria

Both preliminary and full applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • track record of the applicants and coapplicants and the value of research supported by the equipment
  • how the equipment will contribute to the overall research strategy of the institution, including any evidence that the equipment would add unique or novel capacity that is currently unavailable
  • how the equipment will enhance existing Trust investments in strategic areas of interest and add value to Trust-funded research
  • how the equipment will enhance the scientific programmes of the applicants and/or the research community
  • the regional and national (and international, if appropriate) context of the application
  • the level of financial contribution from other sources
  • plans for the longer-term sustainability of the equipment
  • plans for data management and sharing.


This is an annual competition.

  • Preliminary application deadline: Friday 20 November 2015 (5pm)
  • Invited full application deadline: Monday 29 February 2016 (5pm)
  • Committee review: 16 June 2016

Late applications will not be accepted at any stage.

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

Current award holders

Details of the Multi-user equipment grants awarded in 2014

Dr Giancarlo Biagini, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Supporting excellence in basic and clinical research: a flow cytometry/sorting and cell imaging platform for the genotypic and phenotypic analysis of Hazard Group 3 pathogens

Professor Bettina Böttcher, University of Edinburgh
Advancing our capabilities for visualisation of cellular structures and isolated complexes by electron microscopy

Professor Alistair J P Brown, University of Aberdeen
Quantitative proteomics equipment for the Aberdeen Proteomics Facility

Professor Peter J Cullen, University of Bristol
Provision of high-resolution proteomics to enhance forward and back translational research

Dr Christian Eggeling, University of Oxford
Advanced super-resolution fluorescence STED microscopy of the cellular interior

Dr Jan Löwe, Medical Research Council
Focused ion beam and scanning electron microscope for 3D reconstruction of large volumes in neurobiology, cell biology and nano-engineering of electron cryotomography samples

Professor Anthony I Magee, Imperial College London
FILM microscopy facility: new-generation confocal and high-content screening microscopes, and upgrades for intravital microscopy

Professor Stephen J Matthews, Imperial College London
Imperial Cross-Faculty NMR Centre: new applications to large macromolecular complexes, membrane proteins, biomaterial and metabolomics

Dr Michelle Peckham, University of Leeds
Multi-functional imaging of living cells for biomedical sciences

Professor Sheena E Radford, University of Leeds
Biological NMR for challenging biomedical problems

Professor Dame Carol V Robinson, University of Oxford
Mass spectrometry of membrane proteins

Dr Joel Tarning, University of Oxford
High-resolution mass spectrometry for tropical medicine research

Professor Gabriel Waksman, University College London
Using structural mass spectrometry for the study of large macromolecular nanomachines

Professor Joanna M Wardlaw, University of Edinburgh
Magnetic resonance imaging of life-course influences on brain health and disease

Details of the Multi-user equipment grants awarded in 2013

Dr Fred A Antson, University of York
Integrated multi-user crystallisation facility comprising a robot and storage system with image retrieval

Dr John Christodoulou, University College London
The UCL integrated NMR Centre: bridging fine-scale analysis of macromolecules and cell physiology with high-throughput population scale metabolomics, drug target validation and biomarker development

Professor Jane Clarke, University of Cambridge
Dissecting complexity in biomolecular interactions

Professor Timothy M Frayling, University of Exeter
Maximizing south-west biomedical sequencing and informatics capability

Professor E Yvonne Jones, University of Oxford
Fast live-cell imaging to correlate with electron cryo-tomography in high containment

Dr Robin Ketteler, University College London
High-throughput electroporation of primary cells

Dr Robert Knight, King’s College London
A dual beam multi-photon microscope and imaging workstation for live imaging of cellular dynamics in large specimens

Professor Sussan Nourshargh, University of London
The use of a combined flow cytometer/microscopy imaging platform for analysis of cellular phenotypic and functional profiles in inflammation and cancer

Professor Helen R Saibil, Birkbeck University of London
A direct electron detector for electron cryo-microscopy

Professor Geoffrey L Smith, University of Cambridge
Fluorescence activated cell sorting for immunobiology

Professor Kate G Storey, University of Dundee
Development of live tissue imaging capabilities using multi-photon confocal microscopy

Dr Neil H Thomson, University of Leeds
Fast scan atomic force microscope for cross-faculty biomedical research at the University of Leeds

Professor Malcolm D Walkinshaw, University of Edinburgh
The Edinburgh Protein Production Facility (EPPF)

Details of the Multi-user equipment grants awarded in 2012

Professor Stephan Beck, University College London
A centralized platform for validation of genomic and epigenomic targets from clinical and non-clinical studies

Professor William Harris, University of Cambridge
Light sheet imaging and computer equipment for the Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre (CAIC)

Professor Miep Helfrich, University of Aberdeen
Transmission electron microscopy with tomography for studies of cellular ultrastructure

Professor Derek Jones, Cardiff University
Dedicated computing infrastructure for CUBRIC

Dr Kathryn Lilley, University of Cambridge
High performance mass spectrometry for proteomics

Dr David Norman, University of Dundee
State of the art pulse EPR instrumentation for long range distance measurements in biomacromolecules

Professor Carol Robinson, University of Oxford
Chemistry in cells

Professor Christiana Ruhrberg, University College London
High resolution retinal imaging

Professor Dale Wigley, Institute of Cancer Research
A facility for in-house analysis and X-ray data collection of crystals with large subunit cells

Professor Will Wood, University of Bath
Cell sorting flow cytometry for the study of live cell, cell surface and intracellular processes

Professor Xiaodong Zhang, Imperial College London
Enhancing the cryo-electron microscopy capacity at Imperial College London for single particle and tomographic studies

Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK T:+44 (0)20 7611 8888