Although the development of our new vision and strategy started before the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's events have only strengthened my resolve to start implementing our strategy now.
This is a critical moment in shaping the future of our world. As an independent foundation, Wellcome must take a clear position, must argue for international cooperation to address these urgent health challenges, must support the role of science in solving them.
To do that fully, both now and in the future, Wellcome must continue to adapt, especially in these rapidly changing times. Our new vision and strategy will guide – and, I hope, help explain to others – the decisions we make.
I’m incredibly proud of the response from everyone at Wellcome to Covid-19. We are not only funding urgently needed research into the disease, but also using Wellcome’s independence and expertise to bring together partners across society in support of science and innovation.
We’ve taken the initiative in multinational, cross-sectoral alliances to raise billions of dollars for research – more than Wellcome alone could ever afford – and coordinate the global search for scientific solutions to the crisis.
This is support for science that goes beyond funding, beyond what Wellcome could achieve in the past. It’s support that challenges and enables science to have real impact in the world.
It’s an approach that has evolved through Wellcome’s work over the past five or six years, as we’ve taken on a more active role in addition to the grant funding we offer. I’m determined to put Wellcome in an even better position to take this approach across all of our work.
We expect our overall charitable spending to continue broadly in line with recent years – how we choose to spend it will evolve with our strategy, our goals and the partnerships we form. Even so, we can’t take on everything.
By focusing our work through our new strategy, we will get the most from Wellcome’s strengths as a charitable foundation, do more of the things that only we can do, and more effectively fulfil our responsibility to society to use our independence for public benefit.
Wellcome can give researchers the freedom to follow their curiosity wherever it takes them, and we can lead activities that allow society to get the best from science in the search for better health. Doing both means each approach can inform and inspire the other, leading to more discoveries, more tools and insights, a richer understanding of the world, and better solutions to the urgent health challenges we all face.