Overheads policy

We fund the direct costs of research. Depending on the nature of the organisation, we may also fund overheads.

Our policy 

Researchers can ask for overheads if their grant will be based at a:

  • university outside the UK or Republic of Ireland
  • research organisation that does not receive core funding for overheads
  • charitable or not-for-profit organisation
  • small or medium-sized commercial organisation.

Researchers can also ask for overheads on any part of the grant that is sub-contracted to any of the organisations listed above. Researchers who are based at a UK university cannot ask for overheads for sub-contracted activity if their university will include the sub-contracted funding in its annual report to the UK Charity Research Support Fund.

Overheads can include:

  • estates, for example building and premises
  • non-project dedicated administrative and support staff
  • administration, for example finance, library, and room hire.

The total cost for overheads should not be more than:

  • 20% of the direct research costs if you’re based in a low- or middle-income country
  • 15% of the direct research costs if you’re based anywhere else.

These costs must directly support the activity funded by the grant.

See more information in the 'Overheads' section under 'What we offer' on our scheme pages.

How charitable research is funded in the UK university sector 

Wellcome, together with other UK medical research charities, will only pay the direct costs of research at UK universities.

The UK higher education funding bodies provide funding for directly allocated and indirect costs associated with charity-funded research.

In England, this funding is called the Charity Research Support Fund. Similar funding is provided by the Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Northern Ireland government.


This policy was updated in October 2019.

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