Wellcome Early-Career Awards 2022 ( up to £400,000)

Application for Wellcome Early-Career Awards 2022 is ongoing!

This scheme provides funding for early-career researchers from any discipline who are ready to develop their research identity.

Through innovative projects, they will deliver shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health, and wellbeing. By the end of the award, they will be ready to lead their own independent research program. 

About Wellcome Early-Career Awards

Where your host organization is based:UK, Republic of Ireland, Low- or middle-income countries (apart from India and mainland China)Level of funding:

Your salary and up to £400,000 for research expenses Duration of funding:

Usually 5 years, but maybe less for some disciplines, and longer if held on a part-time basis

Eligibility and suitability

You can apply to this scheme if you are an early-career researcher and you are ready to design, plan and deliver your own innovative research project that aims to:

  • advance understanding in your field


  • develop methodologies, conceptual frameworks, tools or techniques that could benefit health-related research.

During the award, we expect you to:

  • expand your technical skills and/or your experience of different research methodologies or frameworks
  • build a collaborative network with other researchers in your field
  • develop your people management skills
  • advance your understanding of how to complete research responsibly and promote a positive and inclusive culture.

Your research can be in any discipline – including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), experimental medicine, humanities and social science, clinical/allied health sciences, and public health – as long as it has the potential to improve human life, health, and wellbeing, and aligns with our funding remit.

Career stage and experience

At the point you submit your application, you must have completed a substantive period of research training relevant to your discipline.

You must have:

  • completed a PhD (for example, in the life sciences) or an equivalent higher research degree. At the point of application you must have passed your viva examination.


  • if you have not started a PhD or equivalent degree, at least four years’ equivalent research experience (for example, in the humanities and social sciences).

You may also have some postdoctoral experience in your proposed field of study, but generally no more than three years.

When we review how much postdoctoral experience you have, we will allow for part-time work, career breaks, and other significant amounts of time spent outside research, for example, clinical training.

We will also consider whether you have changed your research discipline. For example, moving from astrophysics to computational neuroscience. There may be some crossover, such as in research sites or techniques, but the shift should still be a significant change.

You should be able to demonstrate:

  • a good understanding of research methodology
  • evidence of project delivery and analysis.

You should not need close supervision to complete your proposed research, although you may need training in new techniques and experimental approaches.

If you are a health professional and you want to continue with clinical activities, you must be registered with, and be licensed by, the relevant professional regulator in the country you intend to work in.

By the end of the award

By the end of the award, you should have the research maturity to develop, manage and lead your own creative, independent research program.

If you decide not to pursue a career in research, you’ll have transferable skills that you can use in roles related to research or outside of research, for example in industry or teaching.

Host organisation

You must have sponsorship from an eligible host organization in one of the following:

  • UK
  • Republic of Ireland
  • a low- or middle-income country (apart from India and mainland China).

It can be a:

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

You should choose a research environment that provides you with the appropriate training, resources, and experience to deliver your project and develop your research skills and identity.

We encourage you to move away from your current research environment. This may mean moving from your group or department, but it is not essential to move organizations.

Time spent away from research

You can apply if you’ve spent time away from research (for example a career break, maternity leave, or long-term sick leave). We’ll allow for this when we consider your application.

Depending on your previous career stage and the level of supervision and retraining you need now, you may also want to consider a Career Development Award.


If you are unsuccessful with an application to this scheme, you can submit one more application for the same project. Significant changes are needed for the second application. You do not need to contact us first.

Other Wellcome awards

During an Early-Career Award, you can be a co-applicant on one Discovery Award.;

Assessment criteria

We will review your research proposal, skills and experience, and research environment.

Your research proposal

To be competitive, your research proposal will be:

  • Bold. It aims to deliver a significant shift in understanding and/or it provides a significant advance over existing methodologies, conceptual frameworks, tools or techniques. It has the potential to stimulate new and innovative research.
  • Creative. Your proposed approach is novel – it develops and tests new concepts, methods or technologies, or combines existing ideas and approaches in a new way.
  • High quality. It is well-designed, clear, supported by evidence and the proposed outcomes/outputs are feasible.
Your skills and experience

We will review:

  • your previous research outputs and contributions to the research community
  • your research skills and experience of different methodologies, and how you plan to develop these during the award
  • how you will develop your management skills and capabilities for leading a research programme.

Your research environment

We will review:

  • how your research environment(s) will support you to deliver your research programme and develop as a researcher
  • how your host organisation will help you develop your project and management skills
  • Your contribution to a positive and inclusive research culture.

Who can apply for Wellcome Early-Career Awards

To apply for this award, you

  • must have an existing tenured (salaried) post for the duration of the award
  • you are the lead applicant on another application and you are waiting for a decision (you can only submit one application to Wellcome at a time)
  • you hold, or have held, an equivalent fellowship at this career stage. An equivalent fellowship does not include short-term funding.

Find out what short-term funding we allow

You cannot apply if you intend to carry out activities that involve the transfer of grant funds into mainland China.

What’s expected of your host organisation

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

We expect organizations based in the UK to meet the responsibilities required by the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers for institutions, managers, and researchers.

Any organization with Wellcome funding that is based outside the UK is expected, at a minimum, to follow the principles of the Concordat.

We also expect your host organization to:

  • Give you, and any staff employed on the grant, 10 days a year (pro rata if part-time) to undertake training and continuing professional development (CPD) in line with the Concordat. This should include the responsible conduct of research, research leadership, people management, diversity and inclusion, and the promotion of a healthy research culture.
  • Provide a system of onboarding, embedding and planning for you when you join the organisation and/or start the award.
  • Provide you with the status and benefits of other academic staff of similar seniority.

If your host organization is a core-funded research organization, and Early-Career Award should not replace or lead to a reduction in existing or planned core support.

Your sponsor must hold an established post (or an honorary academic appointment) at the host organization for the duration of the award. They will be expected to:

  • Guarantee the space and resources you’ll need from the start date to the end date of your award.
  • Ensure the research environment will support you to complete your project.
  • Confirm workload expectations with you – you should not spend more than 20% of your time on non-research related activities, for example clinical duties, teaching or administration. If you’re based in a clinical craft specialty, you may spend up to 40% of your time on clinical duties.

If you plan to work for more than three months outside your host organization, you must also have an additional sponsor at that location. They must guarantee the space and resources you’ll need during your visit.


You should also identify a mentor for the period of your award. They should have a track record in training and mentorship, and support and guide you on how to:

  • manage your application
  • develop your research career
  • progress with your personal development
  • manage the processes and regulations at your host organisation (although they do not need to be based at your host organisation).

How to apply for Wellcome Early-Career Awards


Deadline for new applications

The Application deadline for this grant is 15 February 2022, 17:00 GMT

Another prestigious award you can apply to is Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED)

FAQs on Wellcome Early-Career Awards

Early-career researchers

15 February 2022, 17:00 GMT








Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *