Wellcome Trust: Career Re-entry Fellowships

    This scheme is for postdoctoral scientists who have recently decided to recommence a scientific research career after a continuous break of at least two years.

    It gives such scientists the opportunity to return to high-quality research, with the potential to undertake refresher or further training.

    The fellowship is particularly suitable for applicants wishing to return to research after a break for family commitments.


    The awards are open to individuals with a relevant connection to the European Economic Area (EEA).

    You should be a research scientist with at least two years' postdoctoral experience and intend to be based in a UK or Republic of Ireland organisation.

    You must have had a continuous career break of at least two years and should have either a strong research track record (if applying for up to four years' support) or demonstrated the potential for a strong research career prior to your break (if applying for two years' support). A two-year fellowship should provide sufficient training support to consolidate your potential.

    The proposed research should fall within the Wellcome Trust's normal funding remit.

    Resubmissions are not normally encouraged. If your application has been unsuccessful, please contact the Office for advice.

    Our Returners’ guide to research: Getting back into research after a career break [PDF 1.04MB] offers advice to anyone considering taking a break from research, or planning to return to a career in scientific research.

    Sponsorship and supervision

    You must have an eligible sponsoring laboratory in the UK or Republic of Ireland that will administer the fellowship for the duration of the award.

    You must have a sponsor who holds an established post and has tenure beyond the duration of the proposed fellowship. He/she must have a contract of employment with the host institution or, in the case of an NHS employee, an honorary academic appointment. He/she must be in a position to guarantee you space and facilities for the full period of the grant.

    In addition to a sponsor, we would expect you to receive laboratory-based supervision and that an individual supervisor is identified for this purpose.

    You must also have a mentor who will provide you with independent support and advice for the duration of the award.

    A sponsor may be nominated as a supervisor on an application. However, we would not expect a single individual to be proposed for all three roles.

    Appropriate individuals will possess strong track records in research and mentorship. We hope that all mentors will provide guidance during the application process, as well as support throughout the Career Re-entry Fellowship.

    Sponsors, supervisors and mentors are advised to read all the scheme information provided here.

    More information about these roles can be found on the Glossary page.


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    The fellowship is tenable for two to four years, depending on seniority before career break, and may be taken up on a full or part-time basis.

    It provides support that includes:

    • the fellow's salary, as determined by the host institution with an additional Trust enhancement

    • research expenses (materials and consumables, animals, travel to attend scientific meetings, fieldwork and data collection)

    • provision for public engagement costs.

    In exceptional circumstances, research assistance may be requested at the postgraduate or technical level.

    Modest requests for equipment, where fully justified in the context of the proposed research, will be considered, but we expect that a laboratory or unit appropriate to the research proposed be selected, and that the majority of the necessary equipment and facilities required for the proposed research be available to the candidate.

    Funding may be provided for re-training, e.g. tuition fees at the UK student rate for an appropriate MSc course.

    Time permitted for non-research activity during the Career Re-entry Fellowship is normally restricted to a maximum of eight hours each week.

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