The scheme provides UK-based universities with an opportunity to invest flexibly in strategic areas of importance across their portfolios. Awards are between £600,000 and £3 million, and each university has agreed to match the Trust's contribution with an equivalent investment.
Funded universities are encouraged to invest in areas of unmet need, such as early careers, collaboration and interdisciplinary initiatives.
Importantly, the ISSF scheme gives universities the freedom to determine how best to deliver on this very broad remit. ISSF funds are consequently being used in a range of different ways. These typically include: early-career fellowships; recruitment and bridging funds; project support for basic, translational and collaborative research; multi-user facilities and equipment; and public engagement activities.
This is the second time that the Wellcome Trust has run the ISSF scheme, and this year five universities will receive ISSF grants for the first time.
Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "Having spent the last year listening to universities across the UK I know that the Institutional Strategic Support Fund is one of our most valued schemes. The scheme is distinctive because it allows universities themselves to identify where money can be most usefully spent in pursuit of their and our strategic objectives, ranging from supporting the early careers of researchers to focusing on resources needed to develop really excellent public engagement or investment in cutting-edge research."
The universities that have been granted ISSF awards are:
The Wellcome Trust is the world's second-highest spending charitable foundation, dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. We support bright minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities, including public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. We are independent of both political and commercial interests.