Epidemic Preparedness: Preventing and Controlling Cholera (Closed)

This scheme supports researchers who want to help affected countries and international decision makers to better prevent and control the spread of cholera. 

The scheme is a joint initiative between the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and Wellcome. 

Scheme at a glance 

This scheme is now closed

Lead applicant career stage:
Administering organisation location:
Low- or middle-income countries, Republic of Ireland, Rest of the world, UK
Funding amount:
Small awards: up to £350,000. Large awards: between £350,000 and £2 million.
Funding duration:
Up to 2 years

Who can apply

This scheme is open to researchers who want to understand the impact of, or develop ways to improve, interventions to prevent and control cholera. 

If you’re successful, the results of your research will be used by the Global Taskforce for Cholera Control to develop, implement or improve national cholera control plans in affected countries. You’ll take part in relevant taskforce meetings to disseminate your results.

These awards are open to individuals or teams of up to ten members from anywhere in the world. 

You can apply if you’re based at:

  • an academic research organisation
  • a not-for-profit or government body
  • a private sector organisation.

You must be able to accept our standard grant conditions.

Teams may be based in the same or in different organisations.

We encourage applications from lead applicants based in low- and middle-income countries, where the risks of cholera are highest. 

Your proposal

To be eligible, you must propose to do one or more of the following:

  • analyse aspects of past or ongoing interventions to improve their implementation in future eg the use of oral cholera vaccines (OCV) or water sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) strategies
  • develop tools, metrics and other resources to support decisions about controlling cholera.

Examples of areas we’ll consider include (but are not limited to):

  • How best to implement oral cholera vaccines (OCV) eg delivery methods, duration of protection. Analysis could include retrospective or prospective additions to ongoing or completed trials among other approaches.   
  • The impact of water sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) strategies in different contexts eg hand washing behaviour change, chlorinating water, building new toilet blocks. 
  • How best to combine OCV and WaSH or other interventions to prevent and control cholera outbreaks. 
  • Developing tools, data sources and other resources to advance research and improve future interventions eg genomic surveillance, biological or environmental studies, predictive models or diagnostic tools. These could help us better understand the transmission and population dynamics of cholera. Resources must be made openly available at the end of the funding. 
  • Developing methodologies, standards and metrics eg to understand whether an intervention has been successful, or to improve the way cholera outbreaks and hotspots are predicted, monitored and evaluated. 

We will review: 

  • the vision and scope of your proposal, including the aims, methods and impact your research is likely to have on preventing and controlling cholera outbreaks
  • the track records of all team members, relative to their career stage
  • the importance of your research to informing countries’ cholera control plans, and how it aligns to the priorities set out in the Global Taskforce for Cholera Control research agenda [PDF 544KB] 
  • the suitability of the environments in which you and your team members do the research
  • the extent to which your research and the dissemination of data involves genuine participation of national researchers and other national stakeholders
  • the plans for sharing your research outputs (and samples if relevant).

We particularly welcome proposals that focus on:

  • genomic or molecular techniques to carry out the research eg to share samples on global open databases 
  • strengthening research in the country in which the research is taking place eg collaborations with local research institutes and public health bodies and/or embedding new techniques and tools
  • how to engage policy makers and decision makers with the research eg to make sure the outputs are implemented 
  • analysing two or more interventions eg the combined impact of OCV and WaSH interventions.

There are two levels of funding you can apply for:

  • small awards up to £350,000 
  • large awards between £350,000 and £2 million. 

We'll fund a number of smaller awards and one or two large awards. 

Awards are expected to last for up to two years.

Your costs should be justifiable and appropriate for your proposed activities.

You can request support for: 

    • We will cover the salary costs of all staff, full or part time, who will work on your project. Staff members may include research assistants, technicians, fieldworkers or clinical staff employed on your grant.

      We don’t usually provide a salary for any applicants for this scheme. But if you, or any applicants, hold a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract and have to get your salary from external grant funding, you can ask us for this in your application. See the ‘Eligibility and suitability’ section above for more information.

      We don't provide studentship stipends.

      • Staff salaries should be appropriate to skills, responsibilities and expertise. You should ask your host organisation to use their salary scales to calculate these costs, which should include:

        • basic salary
        • employer’s contributions, including any statutory obligations (eg National Insurance contributions if you’re based in the UK) and pension scheme costs
        • Apprentice Levy charges for UK-based salaries
        • any incremental progression up the salary scale
        • locally recognised allowances such as London allowance.

        You should allow for salary pay awards during Year 1. These should be based on pay awards already agreed: if you don’t know what the pay award is yet then use our inflation rate.

        From Year 2 onwards, you should use your organisation’s current pay rates. We’ll provide a separate inflation allowance for salary inflation costs.

        Find out more about people working on a Wellcome grant.

        We may make a contribution towards the salary of departmental technicians funded by Research England and its equivalents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You will need to provide a full audit record of their time on your project.

    • Visa and work permit costs

      If you have named people on your grant whose salaries will be funded by Wellcome, you can ask for visa or work permit costs to help them take up their posts at the host organisation. You can also ask for:

      • visa costs for the person's partner and dependent children
      • essential associated costs, such as travel to attend appointments at a visa application centre or embassy if you can justify these
      • Immigration Health Surcharge costs for the person, their partner and dependent children if they will be in the UK for six months or more.
  • We will pay for the materials and consumables you need to carry out your proposed research, including:

    • laboratory chemicals and materials (eg reagents, isotopes, peptides, enzymes, antibodies, gases, proteins, cell/tissue/bacterial culture, plasticware and glassware)
    • associated charges for shipping, delivery and freight
    • project-specific personal protective equipment (PPE) that is above the standard expected for the setting.
  • Equipment purchase

    You can ask for smaller items of equipment that are essential to your proposed project. Costs may include purchase, delivery, installation, maintenance and training, where necessary.

    If you want to request larger items, please contact us before applying.

    We will cover VAT and import duties if:

    • the usual UK exemptions on equipment used for medical research don’t apply
    • you’re applying from a non-UK organisation, and you can show these costs can’t be recovered.

    Equipment maintenance

    We will cover maintenance costs for equipment if:

    • you are requesting it in your application
    • it is existing equipment that is:
      • funded by us or another source
      • essential to the proposed research project
      • more than five years old
      • cost effective to keep maintaining it.

    We won’t cover maintenance costs for equipment if there is a mechanism in place to recoup these costs through access charges.

    Computer equipment

    We will cover the cost of one personal computer or laptop per person up to £1,500.

    We won't pay for:

    • more expensive items, unless you can justify them
    • installation or training costs.
  • You can ask for the cost of access to shared equipment or facilities if they’re essential to your research project. These may include materials and consumables, plus a proportion of:

    • maintenance and service contracts
    • staff time costs for dedicated technical staff employed to operate the equipment or facility.

    We don’t cover the costs of:

    • estates and utilities
    • depreciation or insurance
    • other staff eg contributions towards departmental technical, administrative and management staff time.

    If the facilities or equipment were paid for by a Wellcome grant, you can only ask for access charges if:

    • the grant has ended
    • any support for running costs and maintenance contracts has ended.
  • We've changed our overheads policy for grant applications submitted from 1 October 2019. Read our updated policy and the 'How to ask for these costs' section below.

    How to ask for these costs

    This process applies if you’re now eligible to ask for overhead costs.

    In your application you must:

    • give a full breakdown of costs (you can't ask for a percentage of the research costs)
    • explain why these costs are necessary for your research
    • include a letter from the finance director of your host organisation, confirming that the breakdown is a true representation of the costs incurred.

    Our previous policy

    This information applies to grant applications submitted up to 30 September 2019.

    We cover research management and support costs if:

    • your host organisation is in a low- or middle-income country and your grant will be directly awarded to that organisation,


    • part of your grant will be sub-contracted to an organisation in a low- or middle-income country.

    We don't cover these costs if your host organisation will include the sub-contracted funding in its annual report to the UK Charity Research Support Fund.

    They can include:

    • training costs, eg transferable skills and personal development training for you and any other people employed on your grant
    • costs for short-term professional training for administrative, technical and support staff
    • administration, eg grant management, technical and administrative services
    • other costs which are necessary for your research, eg computing and internet access costs, access to electronic resources, facility and running costs such as utilities, furniture, waste disposal and incineration, and building maintenance.

    The total research management and support costs should not be more than 20% of the direct research costs you're requesting.

    See a list of low- and middle-income countries.

    • Travel costs

      Collaborative travel

      You can ask for travel and subsistence costs for collaborative visits for you and any research staff employed on your grant. You’ll need to justify each visit and its duration.

      Conference attendance

      You can ask for a contribution towards the costs of attending scientific and academic meetings and conferences, including registration fees and the costs to offset the carbon emissions of your travel. The limits are:

      • All applicants named on your grant – £2,000 a year
      • Staff employed on your grant – £1,000 each a year.

      You’ll need to specify the amount you’re requesting for each person.

      You can also ask for costs to cover caring responsibilities if you or any staff employed on your grant attend a conference. This includes childcare and any other caring responsibility you have, provided:

      • Wellcome is paying your salary
      • the conference is directly related to your research
      • the caring costs are over and above what you'd normally pay for care
      • the conference organiser and your employing organisation are unable to cover the costs.

      You can ask for up to £1,000 per person for each conference.

      Other travel

      We will pay for other essential visits, for example to facilities, for sample collection and for fieldwork. You can include subsistence costs.

      Carbon offset costs

      This is a new policy. It applies to all types of travel costs Wellcome provides.

      You can ask for:

      • the cost of low carbon travel where practical, even if it's more expensive (for example travelling by train instead of flying)
      • project-related resources or activities that provide an alternative to travel, such as video conferencing, communication and file-sharing software
      • costs to offset the carbon emissions of the journeys you make.

      We won't pay for the core infrastructure that your host organisation should provide, unless you're eligible to ask for these costs under our overheads policy. Examples of these costs include:

      • organisation-wide video conferencing packages
      • high-speed broadband
      • HD screens.

      See our carbon offset policy for travel for information on what you and your organisation need to do.

      Subsistence costs

      If you’re away for up to one month you can ask for subsistence costs. These include accommodation, meals and incidentals such as refreshments or newspapers.

      If your administering organisation has a subsistence policy, use their rates.

      If your administering organisation doesn’t have a subsistence policy, please use the HMRC rates.

      If you’re away for more than one month and up to 12 months, we will pay reasonable rental costs only, including aparthotels. You should discuss appropriate rates with your administering and host organisations, or Wellcome, as appropriate. We expect you to choose the most economical options, booked in advance where possible.

      If you’re from a low- or middle- income country and will be working in a high-income country for more than one month and up to 12 months, you can also ask for up to £10 a day to cover extra costs, such as transport and incidentals.

      If you’re away for more than 12 months, we will pay the costs of your housing. You should discuss your needs with your administering and host organisations.

      The allowance we provide will be based on family and business need. We will set the maximum allowance we pay for each location. This will be based on current market data or, where data is unavailable, in consultation with your administering organisation, using equivalent market rates. Please contact us if you need help calculating the costs.

      We will cover the direct expenses you have to pay to find and rent a home. We will not cover the cost of utilities or any refurbishment.

      Overseas research

      If you or any research staff employed on your grant will be doing research away from your home laboratory, we'll help with the additional costs of working on the project overseas. Please see the 'Overseas allowances' section for details.

  • We cover fieldwork costs if they’re essential and you can justify them. Costs can include:

    • survey and data collection, including communication and data collection services and any associated costs such as essential field materials, travel costs and language translation services
    • the purchase, hire and running costs of vehicles dedicated to your project
    • expenses for subjects and volunteers, including the recruitment of participants, their participatory fees and travel costs
    • statistical analysis.

    You can ask for other fieldwork costs that aren’t listed here, but you’ll need to justify them.

  • If your organisation receives block funding, you can ask them to cover your open access article processing charges.

    If you're at an organisation that doesn't receive block grant funding, we’ll supplement your grant when your paper has been accepted for publication.

    You can't ask for these charges in your grant application.

  • Costs you may ask for (you will have to justify these costs in your application):

    • specialist publications that are relevant to the research and not available in institutional libraries
    • consultancy fees
    • expenses for subjects and volunteers – includes recruitment of participants, their participatory fees and travel, as well as interviewee expenses
    • reasonable research-associated costs related to the feedback of health-related findings but not any healthcare-associated costs
    • costs associated with developing an outputs management plan
    • questionnaires, recruitment material, newsletters etc for clinical, epidemiological and qualitative research studies
    • public engagement materials where dissemination (including printing and publishing) is a key activity of the project
    • recruitment, advertising and interviewee travel costs for staff to be employed on the grant
    • formal transferable skills and personal development training, including the International Funders Award
    • purchase, hire and running costs of project-dedicated vehicles.

    Costs we won’t pay:

    • estates costs – such as building and premises costs, basic services and utilities. This also includes phone, postage, photocopying and stationery, unless you can justify these within a clinical or epidemiological study.*
    • page charges and the cost of colour prints
    • research, technical and administrative staff whose time is shared across several projects and isn’t supported by an audit record*
    • PhD stipends
    • charge-out costs for major facilities* – departmental technical and administrative services, and use of existing equipment
    • cleaning, waste and other disposal costs*

    *We will fund these costs in the case of animal-related research.

    • indirect costs – this includes general administration costs such as personnel, finance, library, room hire and some departmental services
    • office furniture, such as chairs, desks, filing cabinets, etc.
    • clothing such as lab coats, shoes, protective clothing
    • non-research related activities, eg catering, room and venue hire for staff parties, team-building events and social activities
    • indemnity insurance (insurance cover against claims made by subjects or patients associated with a research programme)
    • ethics reviews, unless you are in a low- or middle-income country
    • radiation protection costs.

    Costs grantholders can claim on biomedical science research grants.

You can also apply for Research Enrichment funding to increase the impact of your work through activities in public engagement and diversity and inclusion.

What we don’t offer

We don't fund:

  • salary costs for any applicants or staff who are already funded by their organisation
  • costs for capital build or refurbishment.

We don't fund overheads unless they're included on this page.

This scheme is now closed.


This is a one-off scheme.

  • Full application deadline

    Monday 26 November 2018, 17:00 GMT

  • Decision

    February 2019

Contact us

Contact our information officers if you have a question about funding.

If you have a question about the scope and content of your proposal, contact