Funding, PhD, Post-doctoral

Wellcome Early-Career Awards

Wellcome Early-Career Awards
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There are some funding schemes out there that can set up early career researchers and provide support for those tricky few years before research independence. The thrice yearly Wellcome Early-Career award is one of them, and therefore should be of significant interest to mental health and addiction ECRs. Even if it might seem a far off dream!

What is on offer

The funding provides:

  • Salary costs
  • up to £400,000 for research expenses
  • Possible overseas allowances and support (for those eligible)

The funding usually runs for 5 years, although some variety exists depending on discipline and whether the researcher is working part time.



The scheme is intended for people who are at an early stage in their career but are ready to deliver a research project which:

  • advances understanding in your field; and/or,
  • develop methodologies, conceptual frameworks, tools or techniques that could benefit health-related research.

The project can be in any discipline but must have the central goal of working towards improving human life, health and wellbeing. It must also align with the Wellcome funding remit.

According to the wording on the Wellcome’s website, you also must:

  • completed a PhD (for example, in the life sciences) or an equivalent higher research degree. At the point of application you must have passed your viva examination.


  • if you have not started a PhD or equivalent degree, at least four years’ equivalent research experience (for example, in the humanities and social sciences).

Generally you must have no more than three years of postdoc work in your proposed field of study. This means it really is for you early career researchers, almost certainly in your first role post submission.


This scheme is offered three times a year. The current round open is the May 2024 round which opened 12 March and closes 21 May at 17.00. A new round opens as soon as this current round closes and runs until October, so given the significance of the application – it might be worth thinking about the October round.


For full details of the scheme, including an example application, check out the Wellcome website at the following link: Early-Career Awards | Grant funding | Wellcome

If you want some more advice about preparing such a major application – check out our Explainers post on the topic: Tips for planning a major application – Mental Health Research

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