Two technicians wearing masks and lab coats pipette antibodies at a long desk in a laboratory.

Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Licence: All Rights Reserved

Technicians conduct Covid-19 antibody neutralisation testing in a laboratory at the African Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa.

Research environment: people, culture and openness

Research to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone depends on thriving research environments that are open, engaged, equitable, ethical and efficient.

We believe that excellent research happens in environments where people from all backgrounds are treated with respect, supported and enabled to thrive.  

Solving the planet’s most urgent health challenges requires creative and high-quality ideas, that must be open and accessible to everyone, to achieve the greatest impact and save lives more quickly. It also requires ethically sound research that is engaged with the needs of the communities it is addressing.  

We see these as fundamental and necessary changes to the way that research usually happens and they are at the heart of the positive and inclusive research cultures we want to encourage. Only when these approaches are considered can we say that the research we fund is truly for the health challenges facing everyone.

By taking a holistic view of the environmental factors that impact research outcomes, Wellcome can achieve its ambition to be an inclusive funder of research to improve health for everyone.

Hannah Hope

Open Research Lead


What we're doing 

Our work cuts across Wellcome’s funding teams, supporting them to deliver their programmes of work on discovery research, climate and health, infectious disease and mental health

Our ambition is that the research we fund and the processes by which we do this are open, engaged, ethical and efficient.  

In addition to our internally focused work, we aim to contribute to the wider research ecosystem to ensure that Wellcome researchers have access to the tools and skills to maximise the impact of their work. This includes convening community events, policy work, supporting infrastructure and occasionally, offering funding for relevant activities.

Examples of our work 

How this applies to your research 

As part of our goal to become a more inclusive funder and support research that is inclusive in design and practice, we made commitments to foster positive and inclusive research cultures as part of the application criteria on most of our awards.  

As part of this, our Discovery Award applications feature elements of the Resume for Research and Innovation (R4RI), otherwise known as the Narrative CV. This gives researchers more flexibility in how they demonstrate their diverse skills and contributions to research.  

Wellcome has a number of research policies related to open and ethical research and we recommend that researchers consult these when designing funding applications and delivering successful awards. 

Appropriate engagement with key stakeholders throughout the research lifecycle supports the production of high-quality research that is rooted within the needs of those most affected. Wellcome will consider the costs of delivering engaged research within funding applications.

Our team 

  • Dan O’Connor

    Head of Research Environment

  • Hannah Hope

    Open Research Lead


  • Carleigh Krubiner

    Bioethics Lead


  • Shomari Lewis-Wilson

    Senior Manager, Research Culture and Communities