Leading a research programme

If you have a PhD (or equivalent) and significant postdoctoral research experience then you may be ready to lead, or already be leading, your own independent research programme. 

During this career stage 

In this career stage, you’ll:

  • develop your research ideas and vision
  • train and develop less experienced researchers
  • build collaborations eg with other researchers, in industry or with policy makers
  • develop and maintain an international reputation for your research.

Qualifications, skills and experience you'll need 

To be eligible for our funding at this level, you must have a PhD or equivalent, and significant postdoctoral research experience. 

You must have a compelling research vision that is original and has impact.

In the early stages of your independent research career, you should have made important contributions to your research area eg publications, patents, software development or an impact on policy.

To apply for more senior funding, you’ll already be leading your own independent research programme. In addition:

  • you should have led internationally recognised contributions to your research area eg publications, patents, software development or an impact on policy
  • you should have a track record of sustained research support from major funding bodies
  • you will have established an international reputation as a research leader in your field, eg through awards, invitations to present your work, membership of professional bodies, advisory or editorial boards
  • you will have experience of developing and mentoring less experienced researchers.

Researcher stories 

Read about the career journeys of some of our researchers.

Our funding 

Springboard Awards

Providing small grants to support basic biomedical scientists as they develop their independent research careers. The scheme is a collaboration between the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) and the Wellcome Trust.

Wellcome Career Development Awards

Providing funding for mid-career researchers from any discipline who have the potential to be international research leaders. They will develop their research capabilities, drive innovative programmes of work and deliver significant shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing.

Wellcome Discovery Awards

Providing funding for established researchers and teams from any discipline who want to pursue bold and creative research ideas to deliver significant shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing.

After you’ve led a research programme 

Established independent researchers can apply for more funding at this level or consider careers related to research or outside of research.

More information 

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