The Wellcome Trust was established in 1936 as an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. It has an endowment of around £14.5 billion. Now in its 77th year, the aim of the Trust is to “achieve extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds”, and in addition to funding biomedical research it supports the public understanding of science.
The Trust has been described by the Financial Times as the United Kingdom’s largest provider of non governmental funding for scientific research and one of the largest providers in the world. In the field of medical research, it is the world’s second largest private funder after Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Trust currently funds the following areas:
- Biomedical science – Investigating health and disease in humans and animals.
- Technology transfer – Helping the development of innovative, early-stage projects with potential medical applications.
- International – Supporting research, capacity building and engagement activities in low- and middle-income countries.
- Public engagement – Imaginative and experimental projects that bring biology and medicine to new audiences.
- Medical humanities – Supporting research at the interface of medicine, health-related sciences and the wider humanities.
- Society and ethics – Supporting research that explores the social and ethical aspects of health and biomedical science.
To manage funding requests the Wellcome Trust provides an online grants system that enables applicants to apply for financial support online. Most applicants for grants in Biomedical Science, Medical Humanities and Public Engagement are required to submit their applications via the online Grants system. However, Word forms are still available for preliminary applications for the majority of the Trust’s funding schemes and Technology Transfer grants.