Wellcome Trust Innovator Awards

Announcement "open"
expires in less than 30 days
Wellcome Trust
FSJd end:
Up to £750.000


Founded in 1936, the Wellcome Trust is an independent foundation that seeks to improve health by supporting researchers, addressing big health challenges, campaigning for better science and encouraging everyone to get involved with science and health research.

Call objectives and options

The Trust's Innovator Awards support researchers transforming good ideas into healthcare innovations that could have a significant impact on human health. Applicants can work in any scientific discipline, including a discipline outside life sciences, and on any type of technology, including:

  • Therapeutics (small molecules or biologics).
  • Vaccines.
  • Diagnostics.
  • Devices.
  • Digital technology.
  • Regenerative medicine.

The proposal should describe the:

  • Global burden of the disease or condition that the applicant wants to address.
  • Unmet healthcare need.
  • Intended patient population and the impact that the healthcare innovation could have on their health.
  • Reasons the healthcare innovation will be significantly better than anything that is already available or being developed.
  • Evidence supporting the proof of concept.
  • Aspects that the funding will be used for (eg key experiments and project deliverables) to move the project on to the next stage of development.
  • Team's expertise and the resources available.
  • Long-term aims beyond the award.

Work proposed must be essential for developing the healthcare innovation.


Awards provide up to £500,000 and usually last up to two years. For multidisciplinary collaborations, awards are up to £750,000 and have a duration of up to three years. Support includes:

  • Staff
  • Materials and consumables
  • Animals
  • Access charges
  • Research management and support costs
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Overseas allowances
  • Contract research organisations
  • Inflation allowance
  • Open access charges
  • Project management costs
  • Clinical research costs
  • Other costs, such as fieldwork costs and consultancy fees

The following cannot be funded:

  • Incremental improvements in healthcare.
  • 'Blue skies' or curiosity-driven research.
  • Back-up or me-too drugs.
  • Research about the distribution and uptake of healthcare innovations.
  • Delivering health services.
  • Public health interventions.
  • One-off costs that do not include key experiments, eg manufacturing a drug substance.
  • Phase III or IV clinical trials for therapeutics or vaccines.
  • Salary recovery costs for staff funded full-time by the employing organisation.
  • Working capital costs of commercial organisations.
  • Fees for academic courses such as Master's degrees/PhDs and other tuition fees.
  • Costs for large equipment.
  • Costs for capital build or refurbishment.

General overheads cannot be funded. (Some overhead costs can be covered in certain circumstances if they meet specific criteria.)



Awards are open to researchers who are developing healthcare innovations that could have a major and measurable impact on human health. Individuals and teams from not-for-profit and commercial organisations can apply. Organisations can be of any size and based anywhere in the world (excluding mainland China).

Proposals are encouraged from multidisciplinary collaborations within or between organisations. These collaborations do not need to include life sciences researchers. Proposals must:

  • Include researchers from at least two different scientific disciplines.
  • Include at least one researcher from a discipline outside those that are standard in collaborations within biomedical and life sciences, such as (but not limited to) engineering, physical science or data science.
  • Describe the added value of the collaboration and describe what is achievable through this approach.

The Trust encourages partnerships between not-for-profit and commercial organisations.




Applicants must submit their application through the Wellcome Trust Grant Tracker (WTGT) system. Deadline:

  • 24 May 2021 (17:00 BST) - open to not-for-profit organisations only; commercial organisations cannot apply to this round.

In case of interest, please contact lnorton(ELIMINAR)@fsjd.org