Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships in Public Health

This scheme offers recently qualified postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to start independent research careers, working in some of the best research environments in the world.

Who can apply

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships are aimed at researchers who want to undertake a guided period of research and will go on to lead their own independent research.

You must either be in the final year of your PhD studies or be an early-career researcher with some initial postdoctoral experience.

You should have started to make important contributions to your area of research, eg publications, patents, software development or an impact on policy.

You must have an eligible sponsoring organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland that will administer the fellowship for the full duration of the award.

You must also:

  • be a UK or European Economic Area national


  • have, or expect to have, a PhD from a UK or Republic of Ireland university.

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. 

What we're looking for

During this fellowship, we expect you to develop your scientific independence and expand your research horizons so that you can become a leader in the field. You could do this by developing new skills and/or by working:

  • across disciplines
  • in new research environments or sectors
  • in more than one research location, either in the UK or another country.

We expect you to think about your long-term vision and the skills and competencies you’ll need.

You should identify an important biomedical or population health research question that is within our scientific remit. We want you to drive the development of your proposal (although you should also get advice from your research sponsors and mentor).

We will review:

  • your research contributions
  • the quality and importance of your research question(s)
  • your knowledge of the scientific area
  • the feasibility of your proposal
  • the suitability of your choice of research sponsors and environments
  • your vision of how this fellowship will contribute to your career development.

At the end of this fellowship, you should be able to show:

  • you have the potential to be an independent leader in your area of research
  • you have the skills and experience to apply for more advanced (intermediate level) funding schemes.

To find out more about this scheme and to see if it’s suitable for your career stage:

  • read guidance on Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • look at our overview diagram of Wellcome schemes that support careers in research
  • find out more about the postdoctoral research career stage.

Who can't apply

You can't usually apply if:

  • you have previously held or are currently completing a nationally competitive fellowship at an equivalent level
  • you're currently applying for another Wellcome fellowship.

You can't apply if you want to combine research with a continuing clinical career in medicine, psychology, dentistry or veterinary practice. Instead, see our clinical fellowship schemes.

If you've already been unsuccessful with a full application for this scheme, please contact us before you apply.

What's expected of your host organisation

You must have an eligible host organisation in the UK or Republic of Ireland that will administer your fellowship. When your host organisation submits your application, they must agree to provide the space and resources you'll need from the start date through to the end date of your award.

You must identify a sponsor and mentor who possess strong track records in research, training and mentorship.


Your sponsor should:

  • be someone you propose to work with at the host organisation – usually the group leader or principal investigator of the group in which you'll do your research (they don’t have to be the head of department)
  • hold an established post at the host organisation for the duration of your fellowship
  • provide scientific guidance during the application process and throughout your fellowship
  • support your development as a researcher during your fellowship.

You should also identify a research sponsor at every additional research environment you propose to work in, including if you work in a different research group at the same organisation. The research sponsor should guarantee you access to space and resources and provide relevant scientific guidance for the required period.


Your mentor should:

  • be an experienced researcher - usually a group leader - who already knows you
  • work outside the group(s) you propose to work in during your fellowship
  • support your career development during your fellowship.

What we offer

The Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship is for four years and can be held on a part-time basis.  An award of £300,000 provides support for:

  • a basic salary (determined by your host institutions)
  • a fellowship supplement of £2,500 a year, for your personal support
  • research expenses related directly to your proposal

We’ll consider requests for additional funding if it’s scientifically justified, eg non-human primate research.

If you’re awarded this fellowship

During your fellowship, you can apply for Research Enrichment funding to increase the impact of your work through activities in public engagement, open research, and diversity and inclusion.

What we don’t offer

  • Major equipment. We only consider modest requests for equipment, so the place you choose to do your research must have the necessary equipment and facilities.
  • Research assistance.

We don't fund overheads.

October 2019 round

  • Preliminary application deadline 8 October 2019, 17:00 BST
  • Full application deadline 17 December 2019, 17:00 GMT
  • Interviews 22–24 April 2020
Application date
4 years
Social sciences : Management and Public administration, Demography, Economy, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, Geography, Law, Pedagogic & Education Research, Political science, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Sociology
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology
Other : Medicine