Wellcome trust call for Applications: Early-Career Awards 2024

Scheme at a Glance

Lead Applicant Career Stage: Early-career researcher
Administering Organisation Location: UK, Republic of Ireland, Low- or middle-income countries (excluding India and mainland China)
Strategic Programme: Discovery Research, Climate & Health, Infectious Disease, Mental Health
Frequency: Three times a year - Upcoming deadlines in May and October 2024
Funding Amount: Salary plus up to £400,000 for research expenses. Additional funding for overseas allowances, overheads, and adjustment support may also be available.
Funding Duration: Typically 5 years, potentially shorter for some disciplines, and longer if part-time
Coapplicants: Not accepted
Application Deadline: 21 May 2024, 17:00 GMT

Countries with Low- and Middle-Income Economies

Below is a list of countries categorized as having low-income or middle-income economies. This information is compiled and updated every three years by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China (People's Republic of), Colombia, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, North Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Important Dates for Application Submission

Applications must be submitted by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the specified deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.

February 2024 Round

  • Applications Open: 06 October 2023
  • Application Deadline: 15 February 2024, 17:00 GMT
  • Shortlisting: April 2024
  • Interviews: 09-11 July 2024

May 2024 Round

  • Applications Open: 12 March 2024
  • Application Deadline: 21 May 2024, 17:00 GMT
  • Shortlisting: July 2024
  • Interviews: 15-17 October 2024

October 2024 Round

  • Applications Open: 22 May 2024
  • Application Deadline: 01 October 2024, 17:00 BST
  • Shortlisting: December 2024
  • Interviews: 11-13 March 2025

Eligibility and Suitability

Who Can Apply:

  • Early-career researchers ready to design, plan, and execute innovative research projects aiming to:
    • Advance understanding in their field
    • Develop methodologies, conceptual frameworks, tools, or techniques beneficial to health-related research

Expectations During the Award:

  • Expand technical skills and/or experience in various research methodologies or frameworks
  • Build a collaborative network with fellow researchers
  • Develop people management skills
  • Advance understanding of responsible research and promote a positive and inclusive culture

Research Discipline:
Open to all disciplines, including STEM, experimental medicine, humanities, social sciences, clinical/allied health sciences, and public health, as long as the research has the potential to improve human life, health, and wellbeing and aligns with our funding remit.

Career Stage and Experience:

  • Completed a PhD or equivalent higher research degree (must have passed the viva examination)
    • OR -
  • At least four years' equivalent research experience (for example, in humanities and social sciences)

Additional Criteria:

  • Permanent, open-ended, or long-term rolling contract based in a low- or middle-income country
  • Postdoctoral experience in proposed field (up to three years) unless special circumstances can be demonstrated
  • Good understanding of research methodology and evidence of project delivery and analysis

Time Allocation:

  • Must contribute at least 80% of research time to the proposed project
  • No more than 20% of time on non-research related activities, such as clinical duties, teaching, or administration. Up to 40% for clinical craft specialties.

By the End of the Award:

  • Research maturity to develop, manage, and lead an independent research programme
  • Transferable skills applicable to research-related roles or outside of research (e.g., industry or teaching)

Host Organisation:

  • Sponsorship required from an eligible host organisation in the UK, Republic of Ireland, or a low- or middle-income country (excluding India and mainland China)
  • Organisation types: higher education institution, research institute, non-academic healthcare organisation, not-for-profit organisation
  • Encouraged to choose a research environment providing appropriate training, resources, and experience

Time Spent Away from Research:

  • Career breaks, maternity leave, or long-term sick leave are considered in the application review
  • Consideration for a Career Development Award may also be applicable


  • One resubmission allowed for the same project with significant changes

Other Wellcome Awards:

  • Can be a coapplicant on one other Wellcome award during an Early-Career Award

Assessment Criteria

Research Proposal:

  • Bold, creative, and of high quality

Skills and Experience:

  • Previous research outputs and contributions
  • Research skills, experience of methodologies, and planned development during the award
  • Management skills and capabilities for leading a research programme

Research Environment:

  • Support from the research environment to deliver the research programme and develop as a researcher
  • Host organisation's support for project and management skills development
  • Contribution to a positive and inclusive research culture

Who Can't Apply

  • Existing tenured (salaried) post for the duration of the award (unless based in a low- or middle-income country)
  • Currently awaiting a decision on a previous application to this scheme
  • Held an equivalent award at this career stage

Additional Restrictions:

  • Activities involving the transfer of grant funds into mainland China are not permitted

What's Expected of Your Host Organisation


  • Meet Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers requirements (UK-based organisations)
  • Follow Concordat principles (non-UK organisations)
  • Provide 10 days/year (pro rata if part-time) for training and professional development
  • Provide onboarding, embedding, and planning
  • Provide status and benefits similar to other academic staff of similar seniority
  • Early-Career Award should not replace or reduce existing or planned core support


  • Must hold an established post at the host organisation for the award duration
  • Responsibilities include guaranteeing space and resources, ensuring research environment support, and confirming workload expectations


  • Identify a mentor with a track record in training and mentorship
  • Mentor will support application management, research career development, personal development, and host organisation processes and regulations

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