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Translation Fund

Translation Fund
Translating innovative and ambitious, applied R&D projects with an unmet healthcare need.
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The aim of Translation Awards is to develop innovative and ground breaking new technologies in the biomedical area.

Projects must have already demonstrated proof of principle, supported by experimental data. Applications should bridge the funding gap in commercialisation of new technologies in the biomedical area and must plan to take the product, technology or intervention to a stage at which it is sufficiently developed to be attractive to another party.

Translation Awards are designed to be flexible, enabling freedom to innovate and push the boundaries of current knowledge. Our aim is to support exceptional individuals with the brightest minds through larger and bolder awards to accelerate product development. The Fund will consider applications that are either single projects or portfolio programmes.

To encourage more applications in underserved and challenging areas, the fund will have strategic highlight areas.However, projects covering any aspect of technology development from a range of disciplines - including physical, computational and life sciences - will be considered at any time. Projects must address an unmet need in healthcare or in applied medical research, offer a potential new solution, and have a realistic expectation that the innovation will be developed further by the market.

The Trust will normally actively participate in the stewardship of the project and lead on intellectual property management and exploitation.

Current highlight

Strategic highlight: 'Restoring the Body'

Translation Fund
The global population is rapidly expanding and people expect to lead longer and healthier lives, but their ageing bodies are continuing to suffer from wear and tear. At the same time, in part because of increased life expectancies, the demand for donor organs exceeds supply. With few alternatives to transplant available, this shortage presents a clear unmet medical need worldwide.

In recent years, huge advances have been made in translating stem cell research and regenerative medicine, and developing novel medical devices that can replace the function of an organ. These areas of medicine are excellent examples of themes we will consider as part of 'Restoring the Body', our first strategic highlight.

We are particularly keen to receive ground-breaking proposals in novel biomedicine that seek to restore function to the body and enable people to lead full and independent lives.


Proposals are welcome from academic and commercial organisations based in the UK and overseas.


Eligible institutions are not-for-profit research institutions, including those funded by the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, in the UK, that are able to sign up to Wellcome Trust Grant Conditions.


Commercial companies are eligible to apply either as principal applicants or as collaborators. The Wellcome Trust is able to use charitable monies to fund commercial companies to meet its charitable objectives through programme-related investment (PRI). For further details, please see our policy on PRI [PDF 38KB]. Companies will normally be expected to sign up to specific terms relating to the scheme.

All applications will require clear arrangements for leadership and management of the project, whether this involves a single institution or a consortium.

Application process

Prospective applicants should complete a concept note and send it to Innovations innovations@wellcome.ac.uk where it will be considered internally. If a decision is made to invite a preliminary application the applicant(s) will be sent a link to the form on e-grants.

Preliminary applications will be reviewed and shortlisted by the Translation Fund Committee.

Following triage shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full application and will be subject to international peer review and due diligence by members of our Innovations Advisory Group (IAG).Applicants will be expected to make a presentation on their proposal to the TFC. Unless otherwise advised, this will be at the next scheduled meeting of the TFC.

Proposals are taken forward by invitation only. Uninvited applications will not be considered.

Application advice

Innovations staff are happy to advise you during the preparation of a proposal.

Projects must address an unmet need in healthcare and offer a potential new solution. Projects must plan to take the innovation to a stage at which it is sufficiently developed to be attractive to another party – for example commercial organisations (eg. Venture capital funds, pharma, biotech), not for profit organisations etc.

Providing it is adequately justified, modest equipment purchase and maintenance costs may be included in an application. Building or refurbishment expenditure will not normally be considered.

Applications may not include requests for academic institutional overheads.

See allowed costs and disallowed costs for further information on what is and is not included.

Projects must have already demonstrated proof of principle, supported by experimental data.

If selected to submit a preliminary application (and subsequently a full application) the proposal will be expected to consider a commercial strategy that takes into account the regulatory pathway, IP management, commercial barriers and routes to market.

If invited to submit a preliminary application the Wellcome Trust will neither consider nor process the application if the same or a related application is under consideration by another organisation.

The most common application queries are addressed by our FAQs.


There is an open call for concept notes. Prospective applicants should contact Innovations to discuss their proposal.

If you receive an invite to submit a preliminary application, the deadlines for 2014/15 are as follows:

Concept note deadline: 24 October 2014
Preliminary deadline:
12 December 2014
Committee meeting
: July 2015 (presentations by shortlisted applicants)

All applications must be received by 17.00 GMT on the deadline date.

Full applications will be invited following the relevant triage meeting.

Shortlisted applicants will be expected to make a presentation on their proposal to the Translation Fund Committee. Unless otherwise advised, this will be at the next scheduled meeting of the Committee.


Wellcome Trust
Gibbs Building
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK

T +44 (0)20 7611 5757
+44 (0)20 7611 8857

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