As a world-renowned scientist, Liz had to navigate plenty of obstacles throughout her career – from getting support for early-stage research ideas to influencing international policy.
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.
Read about the career journeys of some of our researchers.
For Stephen, setting up a lab meant dealing with some predictable challenges, like building a team, but also some unpredictable ones.
Patricia wants younger researchers to have better support than she had around challenges like setbacks with research and balancing career and parenthood.
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.
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.
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.
- Find out about the funding we offer at other key career stages.
- Besides our funding schemes, we work in many ways to support careers in research.
- A career in research [PDF 913KB] has useful resources about everything from negotiating a start-up package to building an international reputation.
- View and compare biomedical research funding schemes offered by Wellcome and seven other UK funders on the Medical Research Council website.