Flexible research careers

We understand that different people choose different career paths, so we want to provide flexible research career opportunities.

We constantly review the funding and career support we offer our researchers.

Re-entering a research career 

You can apply to any of our funding opportunities if you have spent time away from research (for example, a career break, maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental leave, or long-term sick leave). We will allow for this when we consider your application.  Each scheme has its own eligibility and suitability criteria, and you should review this when applying.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute’s Janet Thornton Fellowships help scientists to return to research after a career break of a year or more. 

UK universities that receive one of our Institutional Strategic Support Fund awards can use part of the award to co-fund Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowships.

Sick leave 

If you need to take sick leave, we'll supplement your grant to cover your salary and contribute towards your research costs.

Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave 

We cover the costs of maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave for our researchers.

Support for researchers with caring responsibilities 

You can also claim costs to cover caring responsibilities if you or any staff employed on your grant attend a conference. This includes childcare and any other caring responsibility you have, provided:

  • Wellcome is paying your salary
  • the conference is directly related to your grant
  • the costs are over and above what you’d normally pay for care
  • the conference organiser and your employing organisation are unable to cover the costs.

You can claim up to £1,000 per person for each conference to cover caring costs.

Flexible and part-time working 

If you’re funded by us, you can request flexible and part-time working. We always try to accommodate requests, as long as they fit in with the needs of employing organisations.

For more information, please contact our Grants Information Desk.

Our policies and activities supporting flexible research careers 

More information 

  • Vitae is a UK organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education organisations and research institutes. 
  • Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships, administered by the Royal Society, are for outstanding UK scientists at an early stage of their research career who need a flexible working pattern because of personal circumstances such as parenting or health issues.
  • The Athena SWAN Charter recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology.
  • AcademiaNet is a database of women researchers across all disciplines in Europe and beyond which aims to make it easier for scientific bodies to find women members for committees and commissions.
  • Stay Connected Bursaries, administered by the Biochemical Society, help people keep up-to-date with the latest scientific developments while on a career break.
  • Women Returners supports women returning to work after an extended career break.