Wellcome Trust Innovator Awards

Important update: The Welcome Trust foundation is changing their funding schemes. Therefore the current Innovator Awards will close to applicants soon. On this page we gather the latest updates on Wellcome Trust.


New funding strategy Wellcome Trust:

There is a focus on three major global health challenges:

  1. Mental health: Engaging people who have experienced mental health issues, as a means of enhancing research, understanding and treatments for mental health.
  2. Global heating: Working with those communities most affected by climate change to explore the harmful effects of global heating on health, and to use research to develop new ways of protecting people’s health.
  3. Infectious diseases: Working with communities affected by escalating infectious diseases to bring those diseases under control and stop epidemics.

Three new discovery research schemes are set up to enable researchers to generate new health-related insights, tools and technologies. The new schemes will be designed to give research more freedom, time and resources to pursue their ideas and build a better research culture. They will support:

    • Early-career researchers who want to develop their research capabilities (from project design to delivery), carry out innovative research, advance understanding in their field, and build links with other researchers
    • Mid-career researchers who want to develop their independence and leadership skills, run their own research programme or project, and make a key contribution to their field
    • Established researchers and teams who want to pursue bold and innovative research, tool or technology development.

They will be open to:

    • Applications from any discipline – including science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), clinical research and experimental medicine, and humanities and social science – as long as the research is related to health
    • Applicants based in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and low- and middle-income countries, and applicants from the rest of the world if applying as part of a team.

Wellcome Trust UK will publish more details on these schemes in early 2021. The new schemes will open for applications in summer 2021.

Wellcome Trust Innovator Award

The Innovator Award May 2021 round is only open to not-for-profit organisations. Commercial organisations cannot apply to this round

    • Full application deadline: 24 May 2021
    • Shortlisting: August 2021
    • Funding decision: September 2021
    • Consortium: Researchers (individuals and teams) from not-for-profit and commercial organizations can apply. Organizations can be of any size, based anywhere in the world. Can be single applicant or with partners. There are no limits to this call in terms of group size. Wellcome encourages proposals that are:
      • Multidisciplinary collaborators from the same or different organizations and/or;
      • Partnerships between not-for-profit and commercial organizations.
    • Scope: These awards support researchers who are transforming great ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health. You can work in any scientific discipline, including a discipline outside life sciences. You can work on any type of technology. The work that you propose must be essential for developing your healthcare innovation. Examples of technologies include:
      • Therapeutics (small molecules or biologics)
      • Vaccines
      • Devices
      • Diagnostics
      • Digital technology
      • Regenerative medicine.
    • Additional information: Organizations that are successful in obtaining an Innovator Award must sign up to the grant conditions outlined in the template award letters before they can receive it. Wellcome Trust UK reserves the right to ask for an alternative or amended contract. Wellcome Trust UK requires a proportional share of any financial benefits arising from any commercial exploitation of a Wellcome-funded project, as outlined in the Innovator Awards template revenue sharing agreement. For companies this will most probably take the form of a convertible loan agreement.


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About Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is an independent foundation, founded by, Sir Henry Wellcome, a medical entrepreneur. Up to now, Wellcome Trust has invested £26.8 billion and plans to invest £5 billion in the next 5 years helping people across the world explore great ideas.

The Wellcome Trust funds research through many different grants, including funding for individuals, teams, resources, seed ideas, places and major initiatives in multiple research areas:

    • Biomedical science
    • Population health
    • Product development and applied research
    • Humanities and social science
    • Public engagement and creative industries.



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