How to prepare for a Wellcome funding interview
The competition for these awards is very strong. You will be expected to answer detailed questions on your research proposal, your skills and experience, and your research environment. These are the three main components the Interview Panel will be assessing.
The Interview Panel will be a generalist panel comprising experts from a broad range of disciplines and expertise. The membership of our respective Interview Panels can be seen here:
- Early-Career Award Interview Panel
- Career Development Award Interview Panel
- Discovery Award Interview Panel
Members will have read your proposal in detail as well as the comments from external experts.
Preparing your presentation
When invited to interview, you will be asked to prepare a ten-minute presentation. Whilst there are no restrictions on the number of slides to use, you will be kept strictly to time.
When choosing your slide template, please consider your choice of font, and the size, colour and contrasts used in both the text and in any figures, ensuring that all text and figures will be clearly readable to all members. We recommend using a widescreen aspect ratio (16:9).
We do not allow movies/animations and/or transitions and they should not be included.
The presentation content should be accessible for all panel members as they will come from different research backgrounds.
The content of your presentation is up to you, but the Panel may find it useful to hear about your research vision, its importance to the field and the approaches you will take in the context of your achievements to date, the research environment you have chosen and your approach and contributions to research culture.
You may wish to update the panel on any developments since you submitted your proposal, if appropriate, for example, highlighting relevant new preliminary data and/or outputs.
You will be asked to submit your slides to Wellcome in advance of your interview.
Prepare what you will say at the interview
You should have an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of your proposal.
You should be prepared to:
- tell us why your skills and experience make you an appropriate applicant/team
- show ownership of the project
- tell us why your project is important and how it has the potential to transform the field
- justify your plan, for example why you have chosen to use specific methods or work with certain collaborators
- explain the risks of the project and what your back-up plans and mitigations are
- talk about your project in the context of the latest advances in your field(s) of research
- discuss how you have shaped, or will help create, a positive and inclusive research environment.
You will be expected to answer detailed questions not only on the research proposal, but also on your skills and experience, and your research environment.
Practise in front of colleagues
We encourage you to arrange mock interviews with colleagues from inside and outside your field.
This gives you the opportunity to:
- practise giving your presentation and keeping to time
- refine your answers to possible questions from the panel – they will be rigorous but fair in their questioning and you should be able to justify all aspects of your proposal.
Expert reviewers' comments
Before your interview, we'll ask external experts to provide written expert review on your proposal.
We'll send you these comments one week before your interview.
You can respond to any important points in your interview. The Panel may ask questions raised by the expert reviewers, but they will not be restricted to only those questions and will also ask their own.
Dos and don'ts during your interview
✔ Arrive no earlier than 15 mins before your interview – your Funding Manager will meet you in reception. They will explain the room layout and answer any questions you may have.
✔ Keep calm - the interview panel are all researchers who have been an interviewee themselves. They're enthusiastic about the proposals and the people who are behind them.
✔ Ask the panel to repeat the question if you don't understand it.
✔ Keep your answers succinct and focused – there's limited time for the Panel to ask you questions.
✘ Bring your own computer – your presentation will be pre-loaded in the meeting room. Additional props or handouts are also not permitted.
Duration of your interview
Your interview will last for approximately 30 minutes; it will begin with your 10-minute presentation, followed up a 20-minute Q&A with the interview panel.
Make any practical arrangements
Interviews will be held at the Wellcome offices in central London. If you are invited for an interview and need additional help with travel and accommodation, please let your funding manager know and they will pass your query on to the relevant team.
If you are disabled or have a long-term health condition, find out how we can support you.
When to expect a decision
At Wellcome, our Interview Panels are advisory, and funding decisions are made by our Discovery Research Decision Board. We aim to give you a decision within three weeks of your interview, however in some instances, this may be longer. We release all decisions, both successful and not successful, at the same time.
Please contact your Funding Manager if you have any questions after your interview.