Wellcome Career Development Awards

Wellcome Career Development Awards

Scheme at a glance

Where your host organisation is based:

UK, Republic of Ireland, Low- or middle-income countries (apart from India and mainland China)

Level of funding:

You should ask for your salary (if required) and the resources you need for your research programme – see the 'What we offer' section on this page. You will need to justify this in your application.

Duration of funding:

Usually 8 years, but may be less for some disciplines and may only be longer if held on a part-time basis.

Eligibility and suitability

You can apply for a Wellcome Career Development Award if you are a mid-career researcher and you are ready to lead a substantial and innovative research programme. You must aim to make a key contribution to your field by:

  • Generating significant shifts in understanding

  • developing methodologies, conceptual frameworks, tools or techniques that could benefit health-related research.

    During the award, we expect you to:

  • develop your research capabilities and leadership skills
  • support others to undertake research responsibly and promote a positive and inclusive culture
  • start training the next generation of researchers and develop their research skills and careers.

    Career stage and experience

    To be eligible, you will already be driving your own research.

    You must have:

  • completed one or two substantial periods of research after your initial training

  • made important contributions to your area of research.

    You will probably have experience of working collaboratively. You may have directed, or closely guided, the work of others.

    At the point of application, you may also have been appointed to:

  • your first permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract, or to a tenure track contract. If this applies to you, you cannot ask for your own salary with this award unless you are based in a low- or middle-income country.

  • a fixed term position. If this applies to you, you can ask for your own salary with this award if you have four years or less remaining on your contract at the point of application.
    If you have more than four years left on your contract at the point of application, you cannot ask for your salary with this award and your host organisation must underwrite your salary costs for the duration of the award.

    You must be able to contribute at least 80% of your research time to the award. For permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contracts, you must have been appointed within the last three years unless, during this time, you:

  • spent time away from research due to personal circumstances (for example, for a career break, maternity leave, long-term sick leave or a chronic illness)
  • worked part-time and research was not part of the role, for example, if you have been employed as a healthcare professional
  • changed research discipline, for example, moving from astrophysics to computational neuroscience, or environmental chemistry to social anthropology. There may be some crossover, such as in research sites or techniques, but the shift should still be a significant change.
  • were based in a low- or middle-income country where it is normal to be appointed to a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract early in your research career.

    How to apply

    Before you apply

    Make sure you read everything on this page.

    You may also want to watch a recording of a webinar that took place on Monday 12 April 2021.

    Get some tips to help you write your grant application.

    You do not
    need to contact us before you write and submit your application.

    Submit your application to your host organisation for approval

    Complete your application on Grant Tracker.

    View the Sample full application form for Wellcome Career Development Awards PDF 1.38MB.

    Submit it to the 'authorised organisational approver' at your host organisation for approval. Make sure you leave enough time for the approver to review and submit your application before the deadline. The approver may ask you to make changes to your application.

    Get some guidance on using Grant Tracker.

    Host organisation reviews your application and submits it to us

    Your application must be submitted by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the deadline day.


    We will check your eligibility for the scheme and that your application demonstrates how you will meet the aims of the scheme. If your application is ineligible or does not demonstrate how you will meet the aims of the scheme, we will withdraw your application and contact you to explain why.

    One of the following Discovery Advisory Groups will then review your application, depending on your area of research:

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

    If shortlisted, we will invite you for interview.

    Written expert review

    We'll seek external written expert review on shortlisted applications. Only the proposed research will be reviewed.

    Reviewers will be chosen based on their expertise within the relevant research field and not on their level of seniority.

    Unattributed comments will be sent to you before your interview.


    A committee will interview shortlisted candidates at the Wellcome offices in London. Accessibility requirements will be accommodated. Those who cannot attend in person can participate remotely.

    We will provide information on the structure of the interview, layout of the room, and interview committee membership.

    Shortly before the day of the interview, you will need to provide us with your presentation slides. You will be asked to give a presentation at the start of your interview.

    The focus of the interview will be on questions and answers. The committee will assess across a set of criteria rather than one specific aspect of the proposal.

    Funding decision

    Final funding decisions will be made by the Discovery Research Decision Board.

    You will receive an email notification of the funding decision soon after the decision has been made.


    Written feedback will be provided to all unsuccessful applicants at each decision point, including the reasons for a decision.

    For more information and application details, see; Wellcome Career Development Awards

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