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Medical Humanities

The medical humanities comprise a variety of disciplines that explore the social, historical and cultural dimensions of scientific knowledge, clinical practice and healthcare policy. They investigate and give meaning to the experiences, narratives and representations of health and illness that are often ignored by the biomedical sciences alone. By exploring experience, knowledge and practice in context, the medical humanities can enrich our understanding of health, medicine and disease. For example, they can offer:

  • scholarly reflection on scientific developments, clinical practice and human experience;
  • opportunities to inform medical education and practice;
  • new methods for examining questions about health, wellbeing and illness;
  • the development of tools and techniques that allow patients and practitioners to engage reflectively and experientially.

The Medical Humanities funding stream encourages bold and intellectually rigorous research applications that address important questions at the interface of medicine, health-related sciences, and the wider humanities. We believe that these broad approaches will not only help to illuminate our perceptions of health and illness in the past and present, but also serve to shape the practice of medicine and experiences of health in the future.

Watch an introduction to some of the outstanding research funded by Medical Humanities awards.

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4 min 23 s

We fund research from a wide array of disciplines, using a range of different methods and sources, including (but not limited to) anthropology, classics, the creative arts, English, history, medicine, philosophy, psychology and sociology.

Although we encourage interdisciplinary work, our principal aim is to support the best research by the brightest scholars at all stages in their academic careers.Funding decisions are made primarily by considering the importance of the research questions, the quality of the methods proposed to tackle them, and the track record of the researchers involved.

 Medical Humanities FAQs For more information on Medical Humanities at the Wellcome Trust, see our FAQs page.

Our funding schemes
Investigator Awards Funding for world-class researchers to address the most important questions.
University awards Support enabling universities to attract and retain outstanding research staff.
Fellowships Support for individuals not in established academic posts.
Other personal awards Including Master's Awards, Doctoral Studentships and Research Leave Awards.
Small grants Support for small-scale research projects, scoping exercises or meetings in the medical humanities.
Seed Awards Funding to support the generation of new ideas.
The Hub Award Project funding and a stimulating space for researchers and other creative minds.
Collaborative Awards Funding for collaborative reseach by teams.
Grants and awards for libraries and archives
Our funding supports the preservation, conservation, cataloguing and digitisation of significant collections in the UK and Republic of Ireland, which are relevant to research in the medical humanities and social sciences. In exceptional circumstances, strategically important collections held in other countries may be eligible for support.
Support for archives and records Information about the Research Resources scheme

For information about applying to the Trust, Grant Conditions, eligibility and deadlines see Application information. Current grantholders should see Managing a grant.

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