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Research Resources

The Wellcome Trust's Research Resources grant scheme aids research by supporting projects to catalogue and preserve significant primary source collections in libraries and archives across the UK and Ireland.

Project proposals are asked to highlight the research potential of collections and demonstrate their significance to the scholarly community across a wide variety of disciplines within the medical humanities and social sciences. Applicants are encouraged to engage with scholars in these disciplines and to discuss project proposals with Research Resources grants advisers at an early stage.

Watch an introduction to some of the outstanding projects funded by Research Resources awards.

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Research Resources grants form part of the Medical Humanities grants portfolio, alongside the Medical Humanities, and Society and Ethics schemes. Research Resources grants are considered within the context of the Wellcome Trust's aim to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. Since 2009, themed calls for proposals have been based on the five challenge areas outlined in the Wellcome Trust's Strategic Plan.

Forthcoming themes, to be broadly interpreted, are:

2013/15 - investigating development, ageing and chronic disease

2014/16 - connecting environment, nutrition and health.

The themes covered since 2009 are 'Foundations of modern genetics', 'Understanding the brain' and 'Combating infectious disease' (2012/13).

Collections addressing more than one theme may apply.

Grants are normally between £10 000 and £100 000. Expressions of interest may also be invited for projects falling outside the normal scope of Research Resources projects, for example:

  • strategically important collections that do not fit within the subject themes or that address more than one theme
  • larger-scale projects that combine cataloguing and preservation with a research component, such as a PhD studentship or postdoctoral fellowship
  • digitisation projects to enable global access to collections in areas that are of interest to the Wellcome Trust.

Small grants of up to £10 000 may be awarded to assess the content, condition and research potential of collections in preparation for a full application. Applicants are encouraged to contact Trust staff to discuss potential scoping projects.

Research Resources grants have also developed connections to the Wellcome Library's major digitisation initiative.

A description of past projects can be seen in our grants directory.

Research Resources

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Research Resources supports projects in libraries and archives. Printed books, archives and manuscripts, together with film and photographic materials, may be included. Born-digital datasets such as longitudinal studies can also be considered, along with projects based on the retroconversion of early computer data to more stable and user-friendly formats. Museum objects and specimens are not normally included, unless they form part of a digitisation project.

What's included

Grants cover the costs of project staff and materials for projects, including:

  • the creation of online descriptive catalogues to internationally recognised standards for archives and books (ISAD(G) and MARC, respectively)
  • preventive conservation measures, such as the cleaning, repackaging and repair of collections, which may include digitisation as a preservation measure when items are fragile and at risk of damage from further handling.
  • Provision for Public Engagement costs


The scheme is open to repositories in UK and Ireland. In exceptional circumstances, strategically important collections held in other countries might be eligible. Grants are awarded to libraries and archives but not to individuals or academic departments. Collaborative projects, which may be part-funded by other agencies or sources, will also be considered.

Application process

Preliminary applications are considered twice a year, and a selection of full applications are invited from these.

You should make a preliminary application for Research Resources [Word 68KB] in writing (preferably submitted by email to r.resources@wellcome.ac.uk ) and as a single Word or PDF document. This must include:

  • a brief description of the collection content, significance and future research potential
  • an outline project proposal, together with estimated costs and a physical description of the size of the collection and the type of material it contains
  • the lead applicant's CV.


The current theme is 'connecting environment, nutrition and health'.

Applications based on collections falling outside the current theme, or those covering several themes, may also be considered.

The next deadline for preliminary and full applications is 15 April 2015.


Research Resources
MH&E Grants
Wellcome Trust
Gibbs Building
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK

T +44 (0)20 7611 8658

Research Resources in Medical History grants directory 2000/01-2011/12 Download PDFDownload PDF
Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK T:+44 (0)20 7611 8888