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Strategic Awards in Biomedical Science

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Strategic Awards provide flexible forms of support to excellent research groups with outstanding track records in their field. In particular, Strategic Awards support research to address the challenges outlined in the Wellcome Trust’s Strategic Plan for 2010-2020.

Strategic Awards are funded in partnership with the host institution(s). A written commitment from the institution is a prerequisite to submitting an application; this should explain how the proposal fits with the strategic aims and priorities of the institution.

Proposals which involve interdisciplinary research collaborations of basic scientists and/or clinicians (medical and veterinary) and/or non-biologists (e.g. mathematicians, physicists, chemists, engineers, social scientists) are particularly encouraged.

As part of our refreshed funding framework, we are drawing a clearer distinction between strategic and responsive funding.

Strategic funding is available in research areas that we judge to be strategically important, informed by dialogue with our researchers and the wider community. Applications will be invited, but we welcome the opportunity to discuss research ideas that might fit with our strategic priorities, and that might be suitable for an invitation.

The current scheme will be closing, with final awards made in July 2015. Opportunities for funding large strategic initiatives and for collaborative research will continue.

What's included

Awards are normally for five years and can provide funds for:

Limited capital building or refurbishment essential to the programme can also be requested.

The support available can be tailored to the needs of individual groups with agreement from the Trust and might be justified in terms of the added value they will provide.


Applications will be considered from principal applicants who meet our eligibility criteria and are recognised international leaders in their field.

Further information for applicants from the Republic of Ireland.

Application process

Preliminary application stage

You should contact a member of Trust staff from the appropriate funding department to discuss your application (please see ‘Contacts’). You may then be invited to complete and submit a preliminary application form.

Full application stage

If your preliminary application is successful, you will then be invited to submit a full application via the Wellcome Trust’s eGrants online application system.

Your full application will be sent for peer review and will then be considered by the Strategic Awards Committee. The Committee meets twice a year and you may be asked to make a presentation to support your case.

You will be given the opportunity to comment on referees' opinions before the Committee meeting.

You should note that if referees provide predominantly negative reviews of a Strategic Award application, then the application may be withdrawn from consideration at the Strategic Awards Committee meeting.

From time to time we may highlight particular areas of research and/or training in which bids for Strategic Awards are encouraged. In such cases, application deadlines may be specified so that bids from different institutions can be considered in competition alongside each other.

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

Details of current themed initiatives


Please note that the current scheme will be closing, with final awards made in July 2015. Preliminary applications will need to be submitted to the Trust by January 2015.

Opportunities for funding for large strategic initiatives and collaborative research will continue.


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

See our postal address and general contact details.

Current Award holders

Details of current Strategic Award holders.

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