Eligibility information for applicants for schemes closing in 2021

You must be eligible to apply for a Wellcome grant. Read our eligibility criteria for grant applicants.

This advice applies to funding schemes that are closing in 2021. If you are applying for our Early-Career Awards, Career Development Awards or Discovery Awards schemes, read our guidance on eligibility.

General criteria 

If you’re applying for funding you should be:

  • from an eligible organisation (see below for more information)
  • able to sign up to our grant conditions.

Read the funding scheme pages for additional eligibility criteria.


Applicants (unless they are applying for a fellowship or studentship) should usually:

  • hold an academic or research post
  • have a salary, or the guarantee of a salary, for the duration of the award period.

If you hold an academic or research post but have to get your salary from external grant funding, you can ask us for this in your application. If this applies to you, or any other applicants on your grant, you must commit at least 10% of your working hours to the grant. Your administering organisation must confirm that either: 

  • the employment contracts of any applicants this applies to stipulate that their salaries must come from external grant funding, and the administering organisation will not guarantee these salaries if applicants are not successful in getting it from external sources


  • it is their policy that salary recovery costs must be included in all grant applications for staff who hold a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract.

You can check the specific funding scheme you're interested in to see if we pay salary recovery costs.

If you're retired, you may be able to apply for some schemes as an applicant. You will need support from a sponsor. Please contact us for advice.

Research assistants seeking applicant (coapplicant) status 

You are eligible for applicant status if you:

  • are a postdoctoral research assistant
  • will be making a significant contribution to the research proposal.

This is regardless of whether you’re:

  • seeking a salary from the grant
  • funded on another Wellcome grant
  • funded by another agency.

If you don’t need a salary from the grant you should have:

  • a salary for the duration of the award period (if you don’t have a salary, your employing organisation must guarantee salary support for the duration of the award)
  • written confirmation from the agency funding your salary that you can act as an applicant and that the amount of time you plan to spend on the project is acceptable.

Please contact us to discuss this before you apply.

You should also contact us before you submit an application if:

  • you’re a research assistant already funded on a Wellcome grant
  • you’re named as an applicant in a new application.


The eligibility criteria for sponsors are the same as for lead applicants. Please see above for details.

As a sponsor, you must guarantee that the administering organisation will provide the fellow with:

  • support to lead their own independent research
  • the status and benefits of other academic staff of similar seniority.


Organisations in the UK or Republic of Ireland

Eligible administering organisations should be:

If you’re based in a non-university organisation in the UK/Republic of Ireland, we may need to have a reciprocal arrangement in place to allow staff at the Wellcome Sanger Institute to apply to your organisation for funding.

We currently have arrangements in place with:

  • the Medical Research Council
  • the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Cancer Research UK
  • the Natural Environment Research Council.

If you’re based at one of these organisations, you’re eligible to apply for Wellcome funding. Your application must include a statement from the director of your unit or organisation, confirming that your proposal:

  • isn't part of any core-funded programme
  • hasn't been refused for funding as part of that core programme
  • won't lead to a reduction in your core support.

You will be assessed under the same criteria as all other applicants.

Your organisation may be asked for additional information if they:

  • haven’t received Wellcome funding before
  • haven't recently received Wellcome funding.

We don’t make awards to other charities whose sole intention is to redistribute funds.

Organisations outside the UK or Republic of lreland

Eligible organisations should:

  • be not-for-profit research organisations
  • be able to sign up to our Grant Conditions
  • have a mission statement that’s broadly in line with Wellcome’s.

Your organisation may be asked for additional information if they:

  • haven’t received Wellcome funding before
  • haven't recently received Wellcome funding.

Additional information 

We won’t fund you if you’re:

  • employed by a commercial organisation
  • applying for, holding, or employed on a research grant from the tobacco industry.

Please see our statement on researchers funded by the tobacco industry.

We may not be able to fund you if you, anyone associated with your grants, or your grant activities, are:

  • the target of international sanctions
  • located in a country that is the target of international sanctions.

Please see our statement on international sanctions.

If you are concerned about international sanctions affecting your award, please contact us.

Contact us 

Contact our Funding Information Advisers if you have a question about funding.

Related content