Call for Applications: Investigator Awards in Science


Deadline: 16 July 2020 at 17:00


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.

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 must be based at an eligible host organisation in the UK, Republic of Ireland or a low- or middle-income country apart from India or mainland China.

You should have a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract, or the guarantee of one. Your salary must be paid by your host organisation.

If you hold a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract but have to get your salary from external grant funding, you can ask us for this in your application. If this applies to you, you must commit at least 10% of your working hours to this award. In this case, your host organisation must confirm details about your employment contracts or their policy on salary recovery costs

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
  • the time you'll spend on the Investigator Award, and how it fits in with your other academic commitments.

Who can't apply

You can't apply to carry out activities that involve the transfer of grant funds into mainland China.

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 and resources you need have been agreed and will be made available to you from the start date through to the end date of your award
  • the nature of your employment contract and its compliance with our eligibility criteria for an Investigator Award.

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.

Other schemes

Collaborative Awards in Science

Funding teams of researchers, consisting of independent research groups, to work together on the most important scientific problems that can only be solved through collaborative efforts.

Full details of Collaborative Awards in Science

Scheme finder

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.

If you're awarded this grant

If you’re from outside the UK, and your host organisation is in the UK, you're guaranteed an endorsement of a Tier 1 Global Talent visa application.

If you have team member(s) who will spend at least 50% of their working time contributing to the award, they may be eligible to apply for a Tier 1 visa through the endorsed funder route.

What we don’t offer

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

We don't fund overheads unless they're included on this page.

How to apply

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

Start your application(opens in a new tab)

Stages of application

  1. Submit your full application to your host organisation for approval

    Complete your application on Grant Tracker(opens in a new tab). Submit it to the 'authorised organisational approver' at your host organisation for approval. Make sure you leave enough time for the approver to review and submit your application before the deadline. The approver may ask you to make changes to your application.If your proposal involves clinical research using NHS resources, check if you need to upload a SoECAT form with your full application.
  2. Get some tips to help you write a Wellcome grant application.
  3. View the Sample full application form for Investigator Awards in Science [PDF 332KB]
  4. Host organisation reviews your application and submits it to us

    Your application must be submitted by 17:00 (GMT/BST) on the deadline day.
  5. We'll let you know if you're not eligible.
  6. 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.
  7. External written peer review

    We'll seek written comments from other expert reviewers. Unattributed comments will be sent to you before your interview.
  8. Funding decision

    Due to COVID-19, we are not holding interviews. Candidates will be contacted with further details about the decision-making process.

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