Flexible research careers
We believe passionately that breakthroughs emerge when the most talented researchers are given the resources and freedom they need to pursue their goals. Success in this demands diversity - of people, ideas and approaches. We recognise that different people choose different career paths, so we strive to provide flexibility in the range of scientific career opportunities that we offer.
For example, it has traditionally been challenging - particularly for female researchers - to manage a research career with other responsibilities such as family commitments. It can also be difficult for anyone who has taken a substantial career break to return to research. We therefore provide flexible support for women and men at all career stages to ensure that those wanting to continue or return to a scientific career have the best possible opportunity to do so.
Two researchers in a level-three containment lab conducting HIV research.
Flexibility in our funding
We make every effort to ensure we provide a flexible and fair funding system that allows excellent applicants, both women and men, to be successful.
We always take into account time (full- or part-time) spent outside the research environment when assessing grant applications.
When the Wellcome Trust pays researchers' salaries on our grants and they take maternity, paternity, adoption or sick leave, we will cover the actual cost paid by the employing institution that is over and above any recoverable statutory pay. In the case of grant holders, the end date of their grant may also be extended for the period equivalent to the leave taken. We will also consider requests to cover additional direct research costs (such as research staff and expenses) that may be incurred due to the grant holder taking such leave. Further details of statutory leave entitlements for parents, including recently expanded rights for paternity cover, can be found on the Direct.gov website.
Our policies and activities supporting flexible research careers
We work to ensure an environment in which research can flourish. Our policies and activities illustrate our commitment to supporting research careers.
- Our funding opportunities in biomedical science.
- Our information and resources on managing a grant.
- Wellcome Trust Investigator Awards: statistics on applications and awards made.
- Vitae, a UK organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes. Vitae’s ‘Straight talking’ report highlights challenges for researchers seeking careers advice.
- The Athena SWAN Charter, which recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology (SET) in higher education and research.
- Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI ‘Sex in Science Programme’, whichaims to generate discussion and raise awareness about issues traditionally facing women in science, and to drive policy and practice changes to redress them.