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Investigator Awards in Science

Investigator Awards enable independent researchers with a compelling research vision to tackle the most important questions in science.

Scheme at a Glance:

Career stage:Intermediate, Senior
Where your host organisation is based:UK, Republic of Ireland, Low- and middle-income countries
Type of researcher:Basic, Clinical, Public health
Level of funding:Flexible funding, up to around £3 million. Salary isn’t provided.
Duration of funding:Flexible duration, up to 7 years

Eligibility & Sustainability:

Who can Apply?

You can apply for an Investigator Award if you’re an independent researcher with a compelling research vision who wants to tackle the most important questions in your field.

These awards are also open to joint applications from two researchers whose complementary expertise is essential to deliver their shared vision.

Career stage and experience

We consider applications from researchers throughout their independent careers. For example, you may be a newly appointed lecturer, a mid-career researcher or a senior researcher.

If you’re in the early stages of your independent research career, you should be able to show that you can drive advances in your field of study and that you have considerable promise for the future. You should have a strong track record relative to your career stage of:

  • leading innovative and creative programmes of research
  • making important contributions to research, eg publications, patents and impacts on policy
  • securing research grant funding.

You should also be able to show that you’re developing an international reputation for excellence in your field.

If you’re a more established researcher, you should have achieved more in terms of the originality and impact of your research. You should have a track record of:

  • making significant contributions to research, eg publications, patents and impacts on policy
  • securing sustained research support from major funding bodies
  • developing and mentoring less experienced researchers.
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You should have an international reputation as a research leader in your field.

If you’ve been away from research (eg for a career break, maternity leave, or long-term sick leave), we’ll allow for this when we consider your application.

Current situation

You should have:


  • a written guarantee of an established academic post at a host organisation, which you will take up by the start of the award.

Your research proposal

Your research proposal must:

  • describe an innovative and ambitious programme of work that could transform your field
  • explain the approaches you will use to deliver that programme of work
  • be distinct from, and not replace, activities already supported by other awards
  • be within our scientific remit.

We will review:

  • your track record as an independent researcher, relative to your career stage
  • the importance of your research question(s) to your field
  • the feasibility of your proposal
  • the suitability of your research environment.

What’s expected of your host organisation

When we assess your application, we’ll look at the environment in which you propose to do your research and the support promised by your host organisation.

You must provide a statement of commitment with your application. The statement should come from the most senior person in the relevant faculty, school or division at your host organisation. This should state:

  • why the host organisation thinks you merit an Investigator Award
  • how your research proposal complements and addresses the host organisation’s strategic aims and priorities
  • how the host organisation will support you to ensure that the ambitions of your research proposal can be achieved (including financial, technical, administrative or other assistance)
  • that the space you need will be made available to you from the start of the award
  • the nature of your employment contract and its compliance with our eligibility criteria for an Investigator Award.
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If you’re employed at an eligible core funded-research organisation, an Investigator Award should not replace or lead to a reduction in existing or planned core support.

What we Offer

Investigator Awards provide flexible funding of up to around £3 million. Awards can last up to 7 years.

You should ask for a level and duration of funding that’s justifiable for your proposed research.

You can hold an award on a part-time basis.

The support includes:

  • research expenses

You can also apply for public engagement funds to involve the public in your research and inspire learning.

If you’re awarded this grant

If you’re from outside the European Economic Area, you’re guaranteed an endorsement of a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa application.

What we don’t offer

The award does not include your salary costs. These must be provided by your host organisation.

We don’t provide funds for directly allocated or indirect costs unless they’re included on this page.
Key dates:

We consider applications three times a year.

We consider applications three times a year. You must submit your application by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the deadline day. We don’t accept late applications.

November 2017 round
The application form will be available on Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker in early August 2017.

Full application deadline : 27 November 2017
Shortlisting : January 2018
Interviews : 10–12 April 2018

July 2017 round
Full application deadline : 27 July 2017
Shortlisting : September 2017
Interviews : 28–30 November 2017

March 2017 round
Full application deadline : 7 March 2017
Shortlisting : April 2017
Interviews : 11–13 July 2017

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How to Apply for this grant

Log in to our online grants system (Grant Tracker). You can save your application and return to it any time.

You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT).

Start your Application

  1. Submit your full application

    You must submit your application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker(opens in a new tab).

    View the  Sample full application form for Investigator Awards in Science [PDF 2.3MB].

    We’ll let you know if you’re not eligible.

  2. Scientific review and shortlisting

    One of the following expert review groups will review your application, depending on your area of research:

    If you are recommended for interview, we’ll contact you with the interview dates.

  3. External written peer review

    We’ll seek written comments from other expert reviewers. Unattributed comments will be sent to you before your interview.

  4. Interview

    If you’re invited for interview, you’ll be asked to make a short ten-minute presentation to the Science Interview Panel. This will be followed by questions from the panel.

    Interviews take place at the Wellcome offices in London. Please make sure you are available for all the interview dates.

Contact us

Contact our information officers if you have a question about funding.

Or call

+44 (0)20 7611 5757

Full application deadline : 27 July 2017

View Original Notification

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