Press release

Wellcome releases annual results for 2022/23

Wellcome’s annual charitable spend in 2022/23 rises to £1.7bn supporting science to improve health and save lives globally 

Wellcome begins 2024 with the arrival our new CEO, John-Arne Røttingen, who will lead the organisation on our mission to support science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. 

Last year (2022-23) was the first financial year of a decade in which Wellcome plans to spend £16 billion supporting discovery research and science to solve the three key global health challenges of mental health, infectious disease and climate and health.  

The latest annual report, published today, shows Wellcome’s charitable spend rose to £1.7 billion, from £1.4 billion in the previous financial year. This spend includes: 

  • £955 million to support Discovery Research projects, aimed at transforming our understanding of life, health and wellbeing across a range of perspectives and contexts; 
  • £108 million for research projects in Mental Health with the potential to drive a step-change in early interventions for anxiety, depression and psychosis; 
  • £127 million to advance evidence of the links between Climate and Health, and ensuring this intersection is at the heart of climate action; 
  • £239 million for research to reduce the risks and impacts of Infectious Disease
  • £111 million for Wellcome Leap, which aims to accelerate discovery and innovation for the benefit of human health. 

Julia Gillard, Chair of Wellcome said: “We start 2024 with our new CEO John-Arne Røttingen joining to lead our mission to support science. We do so knowing last year (2022/23), the first year of the decade in which Wellcome plans to spend £16 billion on our mission, Wellcome’s charitable spend grew to £1.7 billion, and our global relationships with researchers and partners continued to flourish.   

“We’ve been able to provide support at scale for trials of what could be the first new TB vaccine in a century. We’ve seen our long-term commitment to discovery play a part in two incredible global child health success stories – against malaria and mitochondrial disease.   

“While the economic and financial market backdrop has been volatile and difficult in the past couple of years, our investment team’s strategy means the portfolio has held up well. Thanks to the exceptional long-term performance of the investment portfolio, the Board remains confident in our plan. We look ahead with great expectation at what will be achieved through the power of science to transform understanding of life, health, and wellbeing and address the urgent health challenges we face.”  

Wellcome’s charitable expenditure is made possible by the returns generated by our investment portfolio.  After charitable spend, the value of our investment portfolio fell slightly to £36.8 billion (as at 30 September 2023) and in the last financial year delivered a total return of 0.9 per cent. Over the past 10 years, the portfolio has delivered a real return of 220 per cent after inflation. 

Major funding announcements in 2023 included the commitment of up to $150 million (£126 million) for a large-scale trial, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for what could be the first new tuberculosis vaccine in over a decade – due to begin in early 2024. 

Wellcome also has a long legacy of commitment to Discovery Research. Last year this long-term support saw two key developments for child health – in malaria and mitochondrial disease.  

We have supported studies and trials of the RTS,S vaccine as well as the R21 vaccine, which was recently approved by the World Health Organization for the prevention of malaria in children. We have also funded early research into mitochondria, the science behind treating mitochondrial disease, and advocacy for changes in UK law, all of which contributed to the first babies being born using mitochondrial donation treatment, which was announced in 2023.  

Wellcome’s work last financial year also included:  

  • Growing engagement with researchers around the world; 
  • Funding schemes on understanding connections between sleep and mental health, the biology of how extreme heat affects our bodies, and using cutting edge methods to solve big questions about life, health and wellbeing; 
  • Renewing core funding for the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in South Africa, and the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kenya; 
  • Launching a new cohort of 8 Discovery Research platforms in the UK; 
  • Campaigning for global collaboration – the bedrock of research – and UK participation in Horizon Europe, the world’s largest multilateral research funding scheme; 
  • Advising the European Commission and European Parliament on a new strategy for mental health; 
  • Advocating for health research to be at the heart of climate change actions at COP27 in 2022, and COP28 in 2023 – including working with partners on the first dedicated COP Health Day; 
  • Announcing the first phase of a 315-acre campus expansion site in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire; 
  • Continuing to make progress on equity, diversity and inclusion as a central part of achieving our mission, including appointing Dr Jimmy Volmink in the newly formed role of Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, advancing the anti-racism plan adopted in 2021 and launching our first anti-ableism strategy; 
  • Wellcome Collection, our free museum and library, receiving over 380,000 visitors and opening five major exhibitions; 
  • Our ‘Milk’ exhibition recorded our highest footfall since the extended closure in 2020, with over 93,000 visits; 
  • Our ‘In Plain Sight’ exhibition, developed in consultation with blind and partially sighted people, demonstrated how access, diversity and inclusion is not just about reaching people who may have been excluded in the past, but working with people and learning from their experience and expertise to improve our offer for everyone; 
  • Continuing to make progress towards our ambition to reach net zero by 2030 for emissions generated by Wellcome’s direct charitable activity and operations, and by research we support; 
  • Proceeding with our strategy to reach net zero for the emissions relating to our £38 billion investment portfolio by 2050 at the latest. 

Wellcome’s culture and approach is now also strengthened by a clearer articulation of the beliefs and values which underpin our work and are integral to achieving the greatest potential impact of the science we support.