Few careers are straightforward. Lucy took two years' break from academia, changed disciplines to return – and became a new parent just as she started her postdoc.
If you have a PhD or equivalent, or you’re about to finish one, you can apply for our postdoctoral research funding in biomedical science, population health or humanities and social science.
During postdoctoral research
During this stage in your research career, you’ll be guided by more experienced researchers while you:
- consolidate your research skills and experience
- explore new research areas
- experience new research environments
- develop your independence
- expand your network of collaborators
- deliver research contributions, eg publications or policy-related work.
Qualifications, skills and experience you'll need
To get funding for postdoctoral research, you should usually have, or expect to have, a PhD or equivalent.
You may also have some initial postdoctoral experience.
You should have:
- started to make significant contributions to research
- developed your own research ideas
- delivered previous research projects
- established collaborations.
You'll need to be able to describe your long-term research vision beyond this career stage.
Read about the career journeys of some of our researchers.
Albert always knew the type of research he wanted to do. But to find the right research environment he had to move from industry to academia, and to a new country.
Ben has always had a strong sense of what he wants to do. But as a clinician, he had to find ways to balance research with medical training and clinical practice.
Funding early-career researchers from any discipline who are ready to develop their research identity. Through innovative projects, they will deliver shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing. By the end of the award, they will be ready to lead their own independent research programme.
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.
After postdoctoral research
If you want to continue your career in research, you should be ready to lead your own independent research programme. There are a number of possible options, including as a:
- fellow leading a research programme (eg funded by a charity, research council or a university)
- lecturer or other academic post
- core-funded group leader (short-term or tenured)
- researcher in sectors outside of academia, eg industry, policy.
If you decide not to pursue a career in research, there are many options open to you. You’ll have transferable skills that you can use in roles related to research or outside of research, eg in industry or teaching.
Or you can move between research and other professions at different stages in your career.
Find out more about the next stage in a research career: leading a research programme.
- 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.