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PhD Programmes for Health Professionals

This scheme funds PhD programmes that offer health professionals outstanding research training in supportive and inclusive research environments.

Scheme at a glance

Where your host organisation is based:

  • UK,
  • Republic of Ireland

Level of funding:

Fellows' salaries, fees and other costs

Duration of funding:

Five annual intakes of fellows, starting in autumn 2022

Who can apply

You can apply for this award if you're the proposed director of a PhD programme for health professionals.

The programme you propose must aim to provide outstanding research training in supportive and inclusive research environments.

Director and co-directors

The programme must have one director who is the lead applicant. It can also include additional co-directors. 

The director and any co-directors must:

  • hold a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract, or the guarantee of one, at an eligible host organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland – contracts can be academic or clinical
  • have strong track records in training and supporting early career researchers. 

Organisations

The programme must be administered by an eligible host organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland. 

Programmes can:

  • involve partnerships with eligible organisations based anywhere in the world
  • include partnerships with industry
  • be hosted across multiple organisations.

Programmes

You can apply either for a new programme or to renew an existing Wellcome PhD Programme for Clinicians.

The programme must provide training in research within our new vision and strategy. This includes discovery research as well as research within our health challenges.

Programmes can focus on any discipline – including science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), clinical research and experimental medicine, and humanities and social science – as long as the research is related to health. 

Programmes can be broad or focused on a specific research theme (for example, data science) or clinical specialty (for example, primary care).

The programme must be open to all registered health professionals unless specifically designed around the needs of a particular group.

Building a better research culture must be central to your programme.

    Programmes must have:

    • an outstanding research environment
    • a compelling vision and need
    • high-quality, innovative training that supports the personal and professional development of fellows during their PhDs
    • a diverse team of potential supervisors
    • clear diversity and inclusion goals, including a detailed and appropriate plan for encouraging and monitoring applications from diverse applicants
    • a well-articulated approach to supporting a positive research culture
    • plans to integrate fellows as a cohort, manage fellows between any partner organisations, and monitor fellows' progress and the success of the programme.

    In addition, for programmes to be competitive they should have:

    • a strong commitment and additional support for the programme, and fellows on the programme, from the host organisation(s)
    • a robust management structure
    • a plan for mentoring fellows 
    • support for fellows to maintain clinical skills during the fellowship
    • support for fellows to transition between clinical and research career paths
    • links with broader doctoral training networks at the host organisation(s), and additional networking opportunities.

    Organisations applying for more than one programme

    If your organisation is applying to host more than one PhD programme: 

    • the programmes must be distinct from each other
    • only one programme can be hosted solely at your organisation – if different groups of applicants want to apply for a single-centre programme, the organisation must prioritise potential applications and decide which one to submit to us
    • multiple programmes can be hosted at your organisation if they are structured across a number of partner organisations as consortia
    • it must be possible to deliver all the programmes if they are awarded funding by us.

    Your organisation can also be part of multiple applications in which they are not the host organisation. 

    You must submit a separate application form for each programme.

    Renewals of existing Wellcome programmes

    If you are applying to renew an existing Wellcome-funded PhD programme, your application will be considered in competition with all the other applications.

    Who can't apply

    You can't apply for this award if you're looking for funding to do your own PhD – see our PhD Training Fellowships for Clinicians instead.

    What's expected of your host organisation

    You must provide evidence of institutional commitment to deliver and sustain the programme and to promote a positive research culture. We expect organisations to:

    • confirm how the programme complements and addresses the host organisation's strategic aims and priorities
    • provide administrative support for the programme
    • cover the difference in fees for fellows who are not eligible for the home (UK or Republic of Ireland) rate 
    • give directors the time they need to oversee the programme's activities and recognise their contributions 
    • train and facilitate new independent group leaders to supervise fellows
    • protect and support fellows’ mental health 
    • enhance and promote a diverse and inclusive research environment
    • comply with all our policies, including good research practice, research misconduct and bullying and harassment
    • sign up to, endorse and be able to provide evidence for how they implement the principles and obligations which set out the support required for clinical academic careers – for more information, read  UK clinical academic training in medicine and dentistry: principles and obligations [PDF 802KB].

    If different groups of applicants want to apply for a single-centre programme at the same organisation, the organisation must prioritise potential applications and decide which one to submit to us.

    We'll provide funding for five annual intakes of fellows for each PhD programme.

    Each intake should have three to five fellows.

    Each PhD fellowship is for three years, which should include dedicated time for maintaining clinical skills.

    We expect successful programmes to plan their recruitment so that the first fellows start their training in autumn 2022.

    We will make a single award for each programme, based on the number of fellows in each intake. For each fellow, we will provide support for:

    • a salary on the relevant pay scale as determined by the host organisation 
    • PhD registration fees at the UK or Republic of Ireland student rate
    • college fees (where required).

    We'll also make a fixed contribution towards:

    What we don’t offer

    We don't fund overheads.

    We don’t provide administrative costs.

    We don't fund Master's courses. 

    You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).

    Start your application

    Stages of application

    1. Before you apply

    2. Submit your application to your host organisation for approval

      Complete the application form on Grant Tracker and submit it to the 'authorised organisational approver' at your host organisation for approval. Make sure you leave enough time for the approver to review and submit your application before the deadline. The approver may ask you to make changes to your application.

      You can view a PDF version of the online form here: Sample full application form for PhD Programmes for Health Professionals [PDF 176KB]

      The lead applicant on the form must be the proposed director.

      On the application form, you must provide an ORCID ID for each proposed supervisor. Supervisors must make sure that any relevant information is up to date and visible to everyone. At a minimum, we need to be able to see current positions and publication records. In addition, you must upload CV information for ten of the proposed supervisors. Please use our  Supervisor CV template for PhD Programmes for Health Professionals [DOCX 28KB]. CVs must be uploaded as a single PDF document.

      You must also upload a letter of institutional support from the vice chancellor(s) or equivalent on behalf of the host organisation(s).

    3. Host organisation reviews your application and submits it to us

      Your application must be submitted by 17:00 (GMT) on the deadline day.

    4. Assessment of your application

      Wellcome staff will assess your application. If your proposal is eligible and suitable, you will be invited to an interview.

    5. Interview

      The PhD Programmes for Health Professionals Committee will interview invited applicants. Details will be available nearer the time.  

      We'll give you a decision by the end of August 2021. 
       

    Disabled applicants

    If you are disabled or have a chronic health condition, we can support you with the application process.

    Coronavirus (Covid-19)

    What you need to know if you're a grant applicant or grantholder.

    Dates

    You must submit your application by 17:00 GMT on the deadline day. We don't accept late applications.

    • Webinar

      14 January 2021 (see 'How to apply' on this page for a recording)

    • Application deadline

      4 March 2021, 17:00 GMT

    • Interview

      June 2021

    • Decision

      August 2021

    More information

    Read Wellcome's review of PhD training in biomedical research.

    Key dates

    • Webinar

      14 January 2021 (see 'How to apply' on this page for a recording)

    • Application deadline

      4 March 2021, 17:00 GMT

    • Interview

      June 2021

    • Decision

      August 2021

    Contact us

    If you have a general question about this scheme, contact our information officers:

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

    clinicalphd@wellcome.org

    If you have a question that you'd like us to answer during our webinar on Thursday 14 January at 16:00 GMT, please send it to us now on Slido.