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Senior Investigator Awards in Medical Humanities

These awards support exceptional, world-class researchers who hold an established academic position and have a compelling long-term vision for their research.
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We will support researchers who have an international track record of significant achievement, who have demonstrated the originality and impact of their research, and who are leading their field.

Senior Investigator Awards provide flexible support at a level and length that is sufficient to enable exceptional researchers to address the most important questions about medicine in its social, cultural, and historical contexts.

The Medical Humanities funding scheme supports bold and intellectually rigorous research applications that address important questions at the interface of medicine, health-related sciences, and the wider humanities. While we encourage interdisciplinary work, our principal aim is to fund the best research by the brightest scholars at all stages in their academic careers.

What's included

Typical Senior Investigator Awards are for up to five years and provide a generous and flexible package of funding.

A Senior Investigator Award might be in the range of £100k to £200k per year, depending on the needs of your research and your ability to justify the proposed costs.

You can discuss the scope and scale of your proposal with the Trust before submitting your application.

The award covers the direct costs of carrying out the research, such as:

  • research expenses, including research assistance
  • travel and subsistence and funding for collaborative activity
  • capacity-building initiatives, public engagement initiatives and research leave
  • research, symposia and dissemination activities.

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 costs awarded will be finalised after the decision to fund an application is made and will depend on the recommendations of the Selection Panel. Please note that any 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 124KB] for further information on what costs are allowed or disallowed.

Provision for public engagement costs


If you are based in the UK, the Republic of Ireland or a low- or middle-income country:

  • 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 whether your employment status meets the above eligibility criteria, please contact the Trust for advice (see 'Contacts').

Other eligibility information

  • We encourage applications from outstanding individuals who have taken career breaks. With this in mind, time spent outside a research environment (full- or part-time) can be taken into account when assessing your eligibility and the competitiveness of your CV.
  • You may hold only one Senior Investigator Award at any one time.

Joint applications

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 highly sought after, prestigious awards. We aim to select world-leading researchers who have an established track record of significant achievement that demonstrates the originality and impact of their research, who have international reputations for excellence, and who propose a compelling long-term vision for their research to explore the most challenging and important questions in their field of study.

We expect that you will:

  • be an internationally recognised research leader
  • have published significant intellectual contributions to research and, for medical historians, have published a monograph
  • have a strong track record of attracting sustained and substantial research grant support from major funding bodies
  • have a strong training record supporting the development and mentoring of less experienced researchers.

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 main 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, in particular, 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 Senior Investigator Awards
  • 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.

Application process

Awards will be made following a rigorous review process and interview.

You are strongly advised to refer to the  Additional information for completing the Investigator Award form [PDF 48KB], which provides an overview to help guide you through the Investigator Award application process. You may also wish to download a sample application form .

Stage 1: Preliminary application- Now a compulsory stage
You will need to complete and submit the relevant form, which is available on the Trust's eGrants online application system. If you are already registered with eGrants, you will need to make sure that your homepage is up to date before submitting a preliminary application.

Stage 2: Main application
If you have been invited to submit a full application you will be required to submit this via the eGrants online application system. To proceed with the full application, go to ‘Application Details’ where you will find your Investigator Award application status at ‘Proceed on Notification’. Click ‘Proceed with Form’. This will put the form back ‘In progress’, allowing you to edit it.

Stage 3: Review and shortlisting
Main applications are reviewed and shortlisted for interview by the Medical Humanities Expert Review Group

Stage 4: External peer review
Before interview and final selection, we will seek comments from external reviewers.

Stage 5: Interview
Shortlisted applicants are interviewed by the Humanities & Social Science Investigator Award Selection Panel

Assessment criteria

All experts involved in reviewing and selecting candidates for awards are asked to consider applications against the following criteria:

  • the track record of the candidate and his or her standing in the field
  • the quality and importance of the research question(s)
  • the approach to addressing these questions
  • the suitability of the research environment
  • how the proposed research explores medicine in historical and cultural contexts and/or addresses one or more of our major challenges.

Award process

If successful, and before an award is made, candidates will be asked to provide:

  • full details of the costs requested
  • information on human participation and personal data
  • information on consultancies, equities, directorships and commercial exploitation
  • details of key collaborator(s)
  • other details, as required.

See the costs guidance for Investigator Awards [Word 124KB] for more information.


Applications are processed twice a year for consideration by Expert Review Group and Selection Panel meetings.

2015 deadlines

January round

  • 23 January 2015: closing date for preliminary applications
  • 2 April 2015: closing date for full applications

The schedule for full applications received by 2 April 2015 closing date is as follows:

  • May 2015: shortlisting
  • July 2015: interviews

July round

  • July 2015: closing date for preliminary applications (exact date tbc)
  • September 2015: closing date for full applications (exact date tbc)

The schedule for full applications received by the September 2015 closing date is as follows:

  • November 2015: shortlisting
  • January 2016: interviews

We aim to advise all applicants whether they have been invited to submit full applications within three weeks of the preliminary application deadline.


Grants Section - Medical Humanities
Wellcome Trust
Gibbs Building
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK

T +44 (0)20 7611 5757

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