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Research Fellowships

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This scheme is for individuals not yet in established academic posts, who wish to undertake a period of postdoctoral research.

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of research on the social and ethical aspects of biomedicine and healthcare, Research Fellowships may provide postdoctoral researchers with support to enable them to obtain research training, either in a new discipline or in a new aspect of their own field, e.g. a humanities scholar who wishes to be trained in social science.

In such cases, the requested training must form a substantial component of the proposed research and should not normally be available via the standard funding routes, e.g. by learning new skills as a postdoctoral researcher on a project grant. The requested training should also include methodologies and skills that are new to the applicant.

Research training provision can include participation in taught courses, and periods spent in other research groups gaining practical, technical or other skills for introduction to the sponsor's or individual's own group.

What's included

The maximum duration is three years. An award will not normally exceed £250 000, exclusive of any standard Wellcome Trust allowances.

The awards are full-time but can, in some circumstances, be tenable on a part-time basis if a case can be made that personal circumstances require this.

Fellowships provide a salary, plus appropriate employer's contributions.

Essential research expenses, including travel and fieldwork, are available, as is a set amount for travel to conferences, seminars and other meetings of a scholarly nature.

As a condition of the award, we may stipulate that the grantholder attends specific workshops or summer schools in relevant research methods.

Provision for public engagement costs


You are eligible to apply if you are a postdoctoral scholar who is not in a tenured or otherwise long-term established post. Fellowships must be held at a UK, Irish or low- or middle-income country institution. You will require a:

  • sponsor who can guarantee that the host institution will administer the award for the full tenure of the fellowship - he/she must have a contract of employment at the host institution and have tenure beyond the duration of the proposed fellowship
  • supervisor who will have day-to-day interaction with the fellow and is immediately responsible for the direction of research - it will be the duty of the supervisor to meet the training needs of the candidate.

You will also be expected to have been awarded your PhD before you are eligible to apply. Applications from candidates who are still awaiting their viva by the time they submit the full application will not normally be accepted.

The scheme is aimed at people who intend to pursue a long-term academic career exploring the ethical or social aspects of biomedical research or health.

Application process

During 2015 we are launching a new grants system that will replace eGrants, our current electronic application system and other ad hoc application mechanisms. It is important that your application is submitted to using the appropriate system; this will depend on the deadline you are applying to (see ‘Deadlines’ tab). Please contact us if you wish to discuss these arrangements in more detail.

Preliminary applications should be made in writing (preferably submitted to SEgrants@wellcome.ac.uk) and should include:

  • your name and contact details
  • your CV, including publication list
  • your sponsor's name and contact details
  • the title and a brief outline (one page maximum, Arial 11 or similar) of the project, including a short research plan and a description of the proposed methodology
  • approximate costs
  • a letter of support from the head of department in which you will be working (this can be submitted directly to SEgrants@wellcome.ac.uk).

Preliminary applications are reviewed to check that they are eligible, fit the Trust's funding remit and are generally competitive. Applicants who pass this review will be invited to submit a full application.


During 2015 we are launching a new grants system that will replace eGrants, our former electronic application system.

If you plan to submit an application to the July 2015 preliminary application deadline, please apply in writing (see 'Application process' tab). If you intend to submit a preliminary application to a later deadline, you should wait until our new system is launched in May 2015 and application forms are available.

We are no longer accepting full applications to this scheme via eGrants. If you intend to submit a full application, please wait until our new system is launched in May 2015 – we will update this webpage to let you know when application forms for this scheme are available. Please contact us if you wish to discuss these arrangements in more detail.

Applications are considered twice a year.

2015 deadlines

January round (Closed)

  • 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

  • 10 July 2015: closing date for preliminary applications
  • 25 September 2015: closing date for full applications

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 (Society and Ethics)
Wellcome Trust
Gibbs Building
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK

T +44 (0)20 7611 5757

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