Wellcome Early-Career Awards

This scheme provides funding for early-career researchers from any discipline (including humanities and social science) who are ready to develop their research identity. Through innovative projects, they will deliver shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing. By the end of the award, they will be ready to lead their own independent research programme. To be competitive your research proposal will be:

  • Bold. It aims to deliver a significant shift in understanding and/or it provides a significant advance over existing methodologies, conceptual frameworks, tools or techniques. It has the potential to stimulate new and innovative research.
  • Creative. Your proposed approach is novel – it develops and tests new concepts, methods or technologies, or combines existing ideas and approaches in a new way.
  • High quality. It is well-designed, clear, supported by evidence and the proposed outcomes/outputs are feasible.

Level of funding

Your salary and up to £400,000 for research expenses. If eligible, you may also request additional funding for overseas allowances and overheads. 

Duration of funding

Usually 5 years, but may be less for some disciplines, and may only be longer if held on a part-time basis.

Wellcome Application deadline

There are three deadlines each year - in February, May, and October. Please refer to the funding page to see the most up-to-date deadlines. 


You can apply to this scheme if you are an early-career researcher and you are ready to design, plan and deliver your own innovative research project that aims to:

  •  advance understanding in your field


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

During the award, we expect you to:

  •  expand your technical skills and/or your experience of different research methodologies or frameworks
  •  build a collaborative network with other researchers in your field
  •  develop your people management skills
  •  advance your understanding of how to complete research responsibly and promote a positive and inclusive culture.

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 wellbeing, and aligns with Wellcome's funding remit.

Career stage and experience

At the point you submit your application, you must have completed a substantive period of research training relevant to your discipline.

You must have:

  • completed a PhD (for example, in the life sciences) or an equivalent higher research degree. At the point of application you must have passed your viva examination.


  • if you have not started a PhD or equivalent degree, at least four years' equivalent research experience (for example, in the humanities and social sciences).

You may also have some postdoctoral experience in your proposed field of study, but no more than three years unless you can demonstrate how other factors have impacted on your research career. See Wellcome website for more details. Wellcome consider postdoctoral experience as any periods spent in research after you passed your PhD/higher research degree viva.

You should be able to demonstrate:

  • a good understanding of research methodology
  • evidence of project delivery and analysis.

You should not need close supervision to complete your proposed research, although you may need training in new techniques and experimental approaches.

For further information on the award, eligibility and assessment criteria please visit the Wellcome Early-Career Awards information page

How to apply to the Wellcome Early-Career Award at University of Bristol

You should identify a mentor at Bristol that you would like to work with. You and your mentor should inform the School Research Director and the Research Development Associate for Challenges at rd-fellowships@bristol.ac.uk that you intend to submit an application. There isn’t an internal selection process but applications do have to go through the Faculty of Arts’ internal review process called GRP which requires a draft application to be submitted for review at least six weeks before submission.  The aim of this review process is to increase the quality of applications and ensure your application has the best chance of success. See below for an application timeline:

  • DREI can review at a Draft if needed prior to GRP, please send to rd-fellowships@bristol.ac.uk
  • REAP Deadline – minimum of 6 weeks before the Wellcome deadline.
  • Final Worktribe financial costing submitted to Finance one week in advance of the external deadline at the latest (you will need to have worked on a costing with your Costing Specialist before your GRP submission).
  • Wellcome Deadline - you will need to submit several days prior to this in order to leave time for institutional approval from the University of Bristol – please confirm with your Costing Specialist
  • Please see webpage for shortlisting and interview dates

Applications to all Wellcome schemes are submitted via the Grant Management System.

Click here for further information

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