Research Resources Awards in Humanities and Social Science (Closed)

These awards help collection and information professionals develop library and archive material for humanities and social science researchers.

We’re changing our funding schemes

The way we fund research is changing to support our new strategy.

Scheme at a glance 

This scheme is now closed

Administering organisation location:
UK, Republic of Ireland
Funding amount:

Up to £500,000

Funding duration:

Up to 5 years

Key dates

This scheme will close in 2021.

April 2021 round

This is the final round.

  • Full application deadline

    14 April 2021, 17:00 BST

  • Funding decision

    May 2021

Who can apply

You can apply for a Research Resources Award if you're a collection or information professional working in a publicly-accessible library, archive, museum or digital repository.

Your proposed project must have the potential to make a significant difference to health research in the humanities and social sciences.

Your project should do at least one of the following:

  • make relevant material held by libraries and archives more accessible through cataloguing, digitisation, and/or conservation 
  • develop and preserve relevant material not yet held by a library or archive eg material that originated in a digital form (‘born digital’) or new archival material
  • develop new tools for the discovery and analysis of data and digital content.

As the lead applicant, you can apply to work on a project by yourself or with other professionals or academic researchers at one or more organisation.

You and any people working on your project should have the right expertise to develop and deliver your proposal.

The project must take place in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland.


We welcome collaborations between libraries and archives where there is related and complementary material, and where skills, resources and expertise can be shared. Two or more organisations can either work together jointly or one organisation can take the lead.

Your proposal

To be competitive, your proposal must:

  • demonstrate how the proposed resource and activities will contribute to health research in the humanities and social sciences
  • identify the researchers and relevant research communities who want to use the proposed resource
  • provide a detailed overview of the content, formats and physical condition of the proposed material
  • describe how you will manage and provide access to the material and related data beyond the award
  • follow appropriate international standards for cataloguing (eg ISAD[G] and MARC) and the preservation standards outlined by the Institute of Conservation (ICON)
  • follow our Technical guidelines for digitisation projects [PDF 148KB]

Our reviewers will assess:

  • your overall research vision for the resource
  • the research significance of the resource
  • how you'll engage with your research audience while you develop your proposal and after the project 
  • the feasibility and suitability of your activities and approach
  • the sustainability of the resource
  • your environment and organisational support.

Find out more about the research we support in the humanities and social sciences.

What's expected of your host organisation

When we assess your application, we'll look at the environment in which you propose to base your activities, and the support promised by your organisation(s) in a statement of commitment.

Statement of commitment

You must provide a statement of commitment from your organisation with your application. It should come from the most senior authority in the relevant department or division. The statement is an opportunity to show us that the organisation is the ideal place to carry out the proposal. It should be specific to the proposal, and state:

  • how your organisation will support you and your team to make sure that the ambitions of the proposal can be achieved (including financial, technical, administrative or other assistance)
  • how your proposal complements your organisation's strategic aims and priorities
  • that the space and resources you need have been agreed and will be made available to you from the start date through to the end date of your award.

Research Resources Awards offer up to £500,000 and can last up to five years.

Support includes:

  • We will provide funding for staff to work on your project. Staff can include:

    • archivists
    • librarians
    • conservators
    • technical staff
    • project managers
    • project assistants
    • research assistants.

    Staff can work full-time or part-time.

    You can use funds to backfill existing posts so that permanent staff can work on your project or employ fixed-term project staff.

    • Materials and consumables you need to carry out your project, such as archival and conservation materials.

    • 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.

      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 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 use the funds for access charges if:

      • the grant has ended
      • any support for running costs and maintenance contracts has ended.
    • We will pay for:

      • a steering/advisory group, for example travel, subsistence, room hire
      • dissemination activities, such as workshops or hosting a meeting
      • attending a conference or research meeting.

      We will also pay 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 grant
      • the 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 claim up to £1,000 per person for each conference.

      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.

    • We will add an inflation allowance to your award.

      How we calculate your inflation allowance

      Your inflation allowance is based on your total eligible costs and the duration of the award. You'll receive the allowance if the costs in your application are in pounds sterling, euros or US dollars.

      Award duration (in months)Inflation allowance

      These rates are calculated using compound inflation at 2.0% a year from Year 2 onwards.

      If your costs are in any other currency, we will use an inflation allowance that reflects the inflation rate of the country where the host organisation is based.

      What to include in your application

      The costs in your application must be based on current known costs, excluding inflation.

      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.

      Wellcome's studentship stipend scales include an annual increase for inflation.

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

      • 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
      • recruitment, advertising and interviewee travel costs for staff to be employed on the grant
      • 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
      • charge-out costs for major facilities – departmental technical and administrative services, and use of existing equipment
      • 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
      • cleaning, waste and other disposal costs
      • radiation protection costs.
  • transport costs to cover the transfer of collections

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 overheads.

We don't fund the purchase of new acquisitions, eg paintings, manuscripts, archive collections etc.

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

Start your application

Stages of application

  1. Submit your application

    You must submit your application through Grant Tracker.

    View the Sample full application form for Research Resources Awards [PDF 226KB]

    Get some tips to help you write a Wellcome grant application.

  2. Review and shortlisting

    The Research Resources Committee will review your application.

  3. Decision

    There are no interviews. We'll usually give you a decision within two months of the application deadline.

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.


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

April 2021 round

This is the final round.

  • Full application deadline

    14 April 2021, 17:00 BST

  • Funding decision

    May 2021

Grants awarded

Find out about some of the people and projects we've funded for this scheme.

Contact us


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


If you have a question about the research content or scope of your proposal, email