Wellcome Accelerator Awards

This scheme will support researchers of Black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage in the UK to undertake activities that put them in a stronger position to reach their next career stage. The funding can be used for research or research-adjacent activities, such as training, secondments, and networking.

Scheme at a glance 

Lead applicant career stage:
Administering organisation location:
Annual - Until 2028
Funding amount:

Your salary (if required) and up to £200,000 for project expenses

Funding duration:

Up to 2 years

Not accepted

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Who can apply 

Your background and experience

The lead applicant must: 

  • Self-identify as being from a: 
    • Black heritage background, including a mixed heritage background. For example, Black African; Black Caribbean; Black Other; Mixed background (must include Black African, Black Caribbean or other Black backgrounds). 
    • Bangladeshi heritage background, including a mixed heritage background. For example, Bangladeshi Other; Mixed background (must include Bangladeshi backgrounds). 
    • Pakistani heritage background, including a mixed heritage background. For example, Pakistani Other; Mixed background (must include Pakistani backgrounds). 
  • Currently be working in or ordinarily resident in the UK. 
  • Have completed a substantive period of research training relevant to their discipline; you must have a PhD or equivalent higher research degree. If you have studied for a PhD then you must have completed your viva. You should be able to demonstrate a good understanding of research methodology and evidence of project delivery and analysis.

Read about the different applicant roles at Wellcome.

Where you're based

You must be currently working in or ordinarily resident in the UK.

Your administering organisation must be in the UK.

Your nationality

Any nationality is eligible, as long as you meet the conditions outlined above for the lead applicant.

Other Wellcome awards 

You cannot apply for this scheme if you are an early-career researcher or mid-career researcher who already holds another Wellcome award as a lead applicant. 

If you already hold other active awards with Wellcome from previous funding opportunities, please refer to our information on applying for and holding multiple Wellcome awards at one time.

Submission of projects that were previously rejected from other Wellcome funding schemes is allowed.  

If you've spent time away from research

Career breaks, parental leave, sick leave 

You can apply for this award if you have spent time away from research (for example, for a career break, parental leave or long-term sick leave). We will take this into consideration during the review of your application. 

Working part-time

Lead applicants can be part-time. There is no formal time contribution, but your part-time work should be compatible with delivering the project successfully.

Who can't apply 

You should not apply for this scheme if: 

  • you do not self-identify as belonging to one of the heritage backgrounds outlined in the ‘Who can apply’ section above
  • you are not currently working in or ordinarily resident in the UK
  • you have already reached the level of Professorship

Is your organisation right for this scheme? 

Type of organisation 

You must be based at an eligible host organisation that can sign up to our grant conditions. 

It can be a: 

  • higher education institution 
  • research institute 
  • non-academic healthcare organisation
  • not-for-profit organisation 

Where your administering organisation is based 

Your administering organisation must be in the UK.

What your administering organisation must do

 Your administering organisation must: 

  • Meet the responsibilities required by the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers for institutions, managers and researchers.
  • Commit to supporting you to complete the funded activities (for example, adjust administrative or teaching requirements, or provide space and resources for a research project). 
  • Give you ten days a year (pro rata if part-time) to undertake training and continuing professional development (CPD) in line with the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. This should include the responsible conduct of research, research leadership, people management, diversity and inclusion, and promoting a healthy research culture. 
  • Provide a system of onboarding, embedding and planning for you when you join the organisation and/or start the award.

If your host organisation is a core-funded research organisation, a Wellcome Accelerator Award should not replace or lead to a reduction in existing or planned core support.

Is your project in scope for this scheme? 

What your plan can include

The funding is flexible and can be used for research activities or activities adjacent to research. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • developing a novel research idea, pilot, proof-of-concept, or scoping study and gathering related preliminary data
  • taking up research skills training opportunities or other appropriate courses
  • writing and (co-)authoring papers, books, articles, or funding applications
  • research time at another research institution in the UK or abroad
  • secondment opportunities for areas allied to research, for example the pharmaceutical industry or NGOs
  • planning meetings of collaborative networks or conferences

This is not an exhaustive list of eligible activities. Applicants are encouraged to propose activities they believe will best enable them to reach their next career stage.  

If your plan includes research activities, research in any discipline is permitted but must align with Wellcome’s Discovery Research remit

If your plan includes research-adjacent activities, they must either:

  • be related to human life, health and/or wellbeing, for example writing a book or research article about human health, or doing a secondment at a pharmaceutical company, or 
  • be supporting you to pursue a research career related to human life, health and/or wellbeing, for example attending relevant training that will build the skills you need or make your profile more competitive in this field.

This award is designed to support successful career progression. Please refer to the assessment criteria below for further information on how applications will be assessed.

Research costs we'll cover 

How to apply 

Where to apply

You need to apply for this scheme on the Wellcome Funding Platform. Get some tips to help you write your grant application

Download application questions [PDF 435KB].

Information you need to provide

You need to answer questions about: 

  • your career to date, including your research contributions
  • your proposed activity
  • the requested costs for your proposal

How long it takes to apply 

You must leave enough time for: 

  • you to complete the application and submit it to your organisation
  • your organisation to review and submit the application

Getting support with your application

We offer disability-related support for applicants. Read the disability-related support guidance if you: 

  • are disabled or have a long-term health condition and you need help applying for funding 
  • need to defer your application
  • need help completing your project, for example costs for assistive technology

If you need help with anything else, contact fundingsupport@wellcome.org.

How applications are assessed 

Essential criteria and weighting

Project plan and career ambitions (70%) 

  • Career vision: You have carefully considered and described your short-medium term (three to five year) career ambitions.
  • Project plan: You have proposed a clear and compelling plan for using the funding that is detailed and feasible within the time and budget requested to support your career vision.
  • Career ambitions: You have provided a convincing justification for how your project will help you reach your next career stage and realise your short-medium term career ambitions.

Applicant’s Track Record (30%) 

  • Your contributions to the generation, dissemination, or translation of knowledge within your field and your impact within (and out) your field of research. 
  • Your contributions to the wider research community, including teaching, engagement, mentorship, leadership, training, and other service forms.


Watch the recording of our funding webinar below to hear more about the Accelerator Awards, who's eligible and how to apply, as well as a questions and answers session.

Application process timeline 

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

  1. 8 May 2024

    Information webinar

  2. 18 June 2024

    Full application deadline

  3. September 2024

    Final funding decisions

More information about this scheme 

Researchers of Black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage in the UK are currently underrepresented in research funding and experience higher rates of career attrition. The Accelerator Awards provide flexible funding for research or research-adjacent activities such as training, secondments, and networking. Awarded researchers will undertake activities that help them build a stronger profile to make successful career transitions. 

At the end of their Accelerator Award, researchers should be better positioned to advance their career to the next stage by attracting research funding (from Wellcome or elsewhere), gaining promotion, positions, and recognition, and developing their professional profile.

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