The Wellcome Discovery Awards for International Established Researchers in the UK

Opportunity Detail

  • Gender MaleFemale
  • Level ResearchNon-Degree /Short program
  • Eligible Region/Countries

    All Countries

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  • Medium of Instruction English
  • Field of study Several
  • Opportunity ID 11876
  • Funding Type Fully Funded
  • Duration 8 Years

Opportunity Description

The Wellcome Discovery Awards from the Wellcome Trust enable established researchers and teams to work on human life, health, and well-being from the perspective of any discipline.

They will expand their research capabilities, drive innovative work programs, and deliver significant shifts in understanding that may improve human life, health, and well-being. Expectations go for actively promoting a diverse, inclusive, and supportive research environment within the researcher’s team and organization.

If you are an established researcher ready to lead an extensive and innovative research program, you can apply for a Wellcome Career Development Award. Your research can be in any discipline – including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), experimental medicine, humanities and social science, clinical/allied health sciences, and public health – as long as it has the potential to improve human life, health, and well-being and is within the scope of their funding.

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The Scheme at a Glance

  • Host organization Locations: UK, Republic of Ireland, and countries with low or middle incomes, excluding India and mainland China
  • Level of funding: You should request the resources you require for your research project by justifying the application
  • Duration of funding: Typically, it lasts eight years, but it may be less for some disciplines and slightly longer if held part-time.
  • Application Opens: 17 April 2024
  • Last date to apply: 30 July 2024, 17:00 BST
  • Shortlisting:  October 2024
  • Interviews: 21-23 January 2025
  • Offered by: Wellcome Trust organization

What Do the Wellcome Discovery Awards Offer?

Fellows will benefit from the following items and benefits:

  • The Award covers research expenses
  • Part-time involvement opportunity with the Award is possible. They will extend the award period to reflect this.
  • Applicants can request funding at a level and duration appropriate for their proposed research but should justify their applications.
  • The Award typically lasts eight years, but it may be shorter in some disciplines, such as humanities and social science.

The Discovery Awards include the following costs:

  • Staff and their salaries from the host organization and necessary fees
  • Continuing professional development and training
  • Materials and consumables
  • Animals for tests
  • Necessary equipment and maintenance costs of the equipment, such as computer and VAT
  • Access charges for the cost of access to shared equipment, services, or facilities
  • Overheads
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Overseas allowances
  • Fieldwork expenses
  • Inflation allowance
  • Open access charges
  • Clinical research costs
  • Public engagement and patient involvement costs
  • Contract research organizations
  • Other costs

Check Similar Opportunities:

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Areas of Research

Researchers may consider these research areas for their projects:

  • Molecular Mechanisms
  • Pathogen Biology and Disease Transmission
  • Cell Biology, Development, and Physiology
  • Immune System in Health and Disease
  • Population and Public Health
  • Brain and Behavioral Sciences
  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Medical Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Data Sciences, Tools, and Technology

 Who Can Apply for the Wellcome Career Development Award?

Researchers with bold, creative ideas that aim to:

  • Generate significant shifts in understanding
  • Develop methodologies, conceptual frameworks, tools, or techniques beneficial to health-related research

Applicants must:

  • Promote a diverse, inclusive, and supportive research environment
  • Conduct research in any discipline that has the potential to improve human life, health, and wellbeing

The award can be held by established researchers or teams led by an established researcher.

Lead Applicant Requirements

  • International standing as a research leader
  • Experience in leading innovative research
  • Track record of managing and training others
  • Ability to lead a substantial collaborative research program
  • Dedicate at least 20% of research time to the program
  • Based at an eligible host organization (UK, Republic of Ireland, low- or middle-income country, excluding India and mainland China)
  • Permanent, open-ended, or long-term contract not conditional on receiving the award
  • The host organization must pay the salary for the duration of the award, with exceptions for low- or middle-income countries.


  • Can be at any career stage and based anywhere in the world except mainland China
  • Must contribute at least 20% of research time to the program
  • Based at an eligible organization (not-for-profit or commercial)
  • May request salary if they meet specific conditions related to contract type and time commitment

Host Organisation Requirements

  • Must sign up to grant conditions
  • Types of eligible organizations include higher education institutions, research institutes, non-academic healthcare organizations, charities, or social enterprises.

Team Composition

  • Teams usually range from two to eight applicants, including the lead applicant
  • Teams should be diverse and demonstrate added value through a collaborative approach

Award Exceptions

During the Award, they expect you to:

  • Improve your research and leadership abilities.
  • Encourage others to conduct responsible research and promote a positive and inclusive culture.
  • Begin training the next generation of researchers and helping them advance their research skills and careers.

Host Organization Requirements

The applicants’ host organization should fulfill the following criteria:

  • Applicants should have sponsorship from an eligible host organization or Higher education institution
  • The institution must be in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, and a low- or middle-income country
  • Be a research institute
  • Higher education university or institution
  • Non-academic healthcare organization
  • Not-for-profit organization.

Assessment Criteria of the Award

The selection committee will evaluate applicants’  and co-applicants’ study or research projects, abilities and expertise, and research settings. To be competitive, your study proposal must include the following elements:

  • Bold: It aspires to bring about a considerable shift in perception or to be a significant improvement over existing approaches, conceptual frameworks, tools, or procedures. It has the potential to spark new and exciting research.
  • Creative: Your approach is original in developing and testing new concepts, methodologies, or technologies or cleverly integrating existing ideas and practices.
  • High Quality: It is well-designed, clear, and evidence-based, with attainable objectives and results.
  • The committee also evaluates the applicants’ research experience, educational background, and research environment.

Who Can’t Apply?

  • You cannot apply as a lead applicant if you are already the lead applicant on two other pending Discovery Award applications.
  • Applications involving the transfer of grant funds to mainland China are not allowed.

Expectations of the Host Organization?

Applicants should be at an eligible organization that can sign up for their grant conditions. Applicants’ host organization should:

  • Be based at a qualified organization
  • Guarantee agreement and availability of the space and resources needed throughout the research project
  • Explain how the research best fits with the strategic aims of the organization.
  • Provide you with the same status and perks as other senior academic personnel.
  • When you join the organization and begin the Award, we provide an onboarding, embedding, and planning system.
  • Allow you and any grant-funded employees ten days per year (pro rata if part-time) to participate in Concordat-compliant training and ongoing professional development (CPD).

How to Apply for the Wellcome Career Development Awards?

To apply for this opportunity, make sure to read every single guide on the website. Applicants may follow the below-listed instructional steps:

  • Submit your application for approval to your host organization by completing the online form on the Welcome Application portal.


Apply Now


  • Wait until the host organization reviews and submits the applications to the Wellcome Team.
  • View the sample complete application form for the Wellcome Discovery Awards.
  • Host organization reviews your application and submits it to them.
  • Shortlisting: The Wellcome ensures you’re eligible for the program, and your application illustrates how you’ll achieve its goals.
  • Written expert review: The organization seeks external written expert review on shortlisted applications
  • Interviews: Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by a committee at the Wellcome headquarters in London. Accessibility requirements accommodations will be available. Those applicants who cannot attend in person can participate remotely.
  • Funding Decision: The Discovery Research Decision Board will make the final funding choices. You will be notified of the financing decision through email shortly after the decision.
  • Feedback: All unsuccessful applicants will receive written feedback at each decision point, including the reasons for the decision.

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