Wellcome Trust: Investigator Awards

    The Trust has combined its New Investigator and Senior Investigator Award schemes to create a single type of Investigator Award, providing all who hold established posts in eligible organisations with the same opportunity to obtain funding.
    Investigator Awards provide flexible support at a level and length appropriate to enable researchers to address the most important questions of relevance to human and animal health and disease. Awards may be small or large, but you should set out a compelling case for your research, while ensuring that your proposal and requested funding are appropriate to your experience to date and distinct from other research income that you may already hold.
    Because a research career develops over time, your application will be judged relative to your career stage.
    If you are in the early stages of your independent career, you should be able to show that you can innovate and drive advances in your field of study and demonstrate considerable promise for the future. Your research, funding and training track records should be strong relative to your career stage.
    If you have more experience, you are expected to have achieved more in terms of the originality and impact of your research, your track record of attracting research grant support, and your success in training and mentoring others. If you are a senior researcher, you should be internationally recognised as a leader in your field.
    You are strongly encouraged to contact the Trust if you wish to discuss your proposal or your suitability for this scheme before applying.


    To be eligible for an Investigator Award you must be based at an eligible higher education or research institution in the UK, Republic of Ireland or a low- or middle-income country. You should be employed in an established academic post: a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract, salaried by your host institution.
    You are also eligible if you have a written guarantee of an established academic post at your host institution, which you will take up by the start of the award.
    Please contact us if you are unsure whether you are eligible (see 'Contacts').
    If you are based in a low- or middle-income country in sub-Saharan Africa, South-east Asia or South Asia (with the exception of India - see below), you are eligible to apply if you fulfil the above eligibility criteria and are working within the Trust's broad science funding remit.
    If you are based in a low- or middle-income country outside the areas mentioned above, you are eligible to apply only if you are carrying out research in the fields of public health and tropical medicine. Research projects should be aimed at understanding and controlling diseases (either animal or human) of relevance to local, national or global health. This can include laboratory-based molecular analysis of field or clinical samples, but projects focused solely on studies in vitro or using animal models will not normally be considered.
    Investigator Awards are not available to researchers in India. Instead, please see the funding schemes offered by the Wellcome Trust/Department of Biotechnology India Alliance.
    Other eligibility information
    • If you are employed at an eligible core-funded research institute the research you propose for an Investigator Award should be distinct from, and not replace, activities already supported in that institute.
    • We encourage applications from researchers who have worked in industry or other non-academic research environments, or who have taken career breaks. Time spent outside a research environment (full- or part-time) will be taken into account when assessing your application.
    • Royal Society and RCUK researchers may be eligible to apply and are advised to contact us.
    • Unsuccessful applicants will normally be expected to wait 12 months before resubmitting an application, and must first discuss their resubmission with us.
    • You may hold only one Investigator Award at any one time.
    Joint applications
    Joint applications are welcome from two researchers with complementary expertise working closely together on a shared proposal. Please contact us for advice before completing your application form.


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    An Investigator Award provides a flexible package of funding that is driven by the requirements of the proposed research.
    Awards may be small or large, typically up to £3 million, and lasting up to seven years. The duration and costs you request should be clearly justified by your proposed research. Also, you should ensure that the scope of your proposal and the associated resources are appropriate for your career stage and research experience.
    If you already hold considerable research support, you will need to demonstrate that the Investigator Award will cover important and complementary studies that are distinct from the work that is already funded.
    The award covers the direct costs of carrying out the research, such as:
    • research expenses; this may include research assistance, animals, equipment, fieldwork costs and funding for collaborative activity
    • travel and subsistence for scientifically justified visits
    • overseas allowances where appropriate.
    The award does not include your salary costs. These must be provided by your host institution.
    If you are employed at an eligible core-funded research institute, the research you propose for an Investigator Award should not replace activities already supported in that institute.
    If you are successful, the exact costs to be awarded will be finalised with you after the funding decision is made and will depend on the recommendations of the Interview Panel. The final award will not exceed the total amount requested.
    Please note that the Trust does not fund on a proportion of full economic costs (fEC) basis.
    Specific funding is available to enable institutions to recruit exceptional scientists to the UK from overseas. The International Recruitment Supplement (IRS) is designed to be part of the Investigator Award, providing a competitive start-up package and covering some of the costs associated with an individual’s recruitment. If you want to make an application that includes IRS, you must speak to your proposed host institution and to us before submitting.
    Successful applicants from outside the European Economic Area are encouraged to apply for entry to the UK via the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent and Exceptional Promise visa routes. In order to streamline the application process for these visas, the Trust is taking part in a pilot scheme for accelerated endorsement, in collaboration with the Designated Competent Bodies - the British Academy, the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. For more information please contact tierone@wellcome.ac.uk.
    Investigator Award holders may also have the opportunity to apply for future Enhancement funding.

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