How to prepare for a Wellcome funding interview

If you apply for a Wellcome grant, you may be invited for an interview to help us reach a decision. This advice is to help you prepare for your interview and it applies to researchers in biomedical science, population health and humanities and social science.

Prepare what you will say at the interview

If you're invited to an interview, you’ll receive an email from us telling you what to prepare. 

You should have an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of what you're proposing and a general understanding of the work that any collaborators are doing.

Be prepared to:

  • give a short summary of your project
  • outline your research career to date
  • show ownership of the project
  • tell us why your project is important and how it will make a difference to the issue or topic you want to research  
  • justify your plan, for example why you’ve chosen to work with certain collaborators
  • explain the risks of the project and what your back-up plan is 
  • talk about the latest advances in your field of research.

Preparing a formal presentation

If you've been asked to do a presentation about your research proposal, check the invitation email to see how long it should last, the number of slides and the deadline for emailing it to us.

The content of the presentation is up to you but bear in mind that the interviewers would like to hear about your research vision and approach, and your relevant experience. Pitch your talk at a diverse audience as they won’t all be experts in your field.

We don't allow animations or films in interview presentations.

Watch our animation to get more interview tips.

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:

  • refine your answers to possible questions from the panel - you should be able to defend your project when challenged
  • practise giving a presentation, if relevant.

Read the peer reviewers' comments

Before your interview, we'll ask external experts to give us written peer 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.

Find out who’s on the interview panel

Different schemes have different interview panels. Panel members are chosen for their specific expertise and broader research experience.

They will have read your proposal and the comments from external experts.

They'll be rigorous, but also fair and considerate in their questioning. 

The 'How to apply' sections of our scheme pages usually include details of the relevant interview panel.

Make any practical arrangements

Most interviews are at our Wellcome headquarters in London. If you're invited for an interview, tell us if you need help with travel and accommodation.

If you are disabled or have a chronic health condition, find out how we can support you.

Dos and don'ts during your interview

Timetable of a typical grant interview at Wellcome

  1. Introductions by the chairperson
  2. Candidate's presentation, if previously agreed 
  3. Questions from lead members of the interview panel 
  4. Additional questions from the rest of the interview panel
  5. Questions from the candidate 

When to expect a decision

We aim to give you a decision within two to three weeks of your interview. 

More information