Climate Impacts Awards┋Unlocking urgent climate action by making the health effects of climate change visible


The aim of this scheme is to make the impacts of climate change on physical and mental health visible to drive urgent climate policy action at scale. We will fund transdisciplinary teams to deliver short-term, high-impact projects that maximise policy outcomes by combining evidence generation, policy analysis, engaged research approaches and communication strategies.

Scheme at a glance

  • Lead applicant career stage: Mid-career researcher, Established researcher
  • Administering organisation location: Anywhere in the world (apart from mainland China)
  • Frequency: Annual
  • Funding amount: Up to £2.5 million
  • Funding duration: Up to 3 years
  • Coapplicants: Accepted

Next deadline

Full application deadline: 3 April 2024

View all key dates

About this scheme

In 2023, Wellcome launched the Climate Impacts Awards and funded 11 innovative global projects.

In 2024, we will fund projects that generate context-specific evidence using community knowledge and experiences to deliver actionable policy outcomes that can be scaled to multiple settings. We will prioritise funding for research that involves and serves the needs of communities most impacted by the health effects of climate change, and advances stories and narratives that tend to be absent in the media or underrepresented in public discourse (Perga et al, 2023). This will include generating and/or synthesising relevant data and insights (preferably across multiple sites or countries) on significant health issues arising from climate impacts.

We are looking for proposals with a clear theory of change and strong understanding of policy levers. Policy outcomes should be achievable within the award period, innovative in their design and should support meaningful and sustainable change. Proposals should describe the intended policy outcomes and how new insights and effective communication will influence these outcomes.

Teams must have prior demonstrable success in work that combines science, policy and society (Serrao-Neumann, et al 2021). We use the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) definition of transdisciplinary research. Transdiscipilary research combines knowledge from different scientific disciplines, citizens, public and private sector stakeholders to address complex societal challenges. By engaging key stakeholders from the outset and embedding different expertise in the research design, we expect that teams will use evidence and impactful narratives on the effects of climate change on health to drive urgent policy change that supports collaborative solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

This scheme aims to make the impacts of climate change on health visible. There are many reasons the impacts of climate change could be invisible.

These include but are not limited to:

  • distance: decision makers not being based where the impacts are happening
  • ideology: political polarisation results in missing voices, disinformation or lack of information
  • unseen: some of the climate impacts of environmental drivers of health outcomes (for example, certain chemicals, pollutants or microscopic organisms) may not be visible and therefore may be ignored
  • linkage: the links between climate change and health effects not being explicitly made or understood
  • low priority: climate change's effects on health are not given much focus due to competing priorities, unconvincing analyses and communications challenges.

Motivation for this scheme

This scheme is motivated by recent reports that indicate that the window to take urgent climate action is closing rapidly (IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report). Despite the overwhelming evidence of the negative impacts of climate change, this evidence is not leading to the scale of action required. Few of the important health effects of climate change are being researched and assessed (Berrang-Ford, 2021). Where we do have evidence, it is not being reliably communicated to key stakeholders (Perga et al, 2023).

The health effects of climate change are not evenly distributed, and disproportionately burden vulnerable communities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and high-income countries (HICs). We will prioritise funding for research that serves the expressed needs of at-risk populations with high exposures and vulnerabilities to the health effects of climate change (in this context, vulnerability may result from the intersection of factors such as geography, socio-economic status, demography, gender, race, ability, ethnicity, co-morbidities and occupation).

Research must be designed using an engaged approach that includes the voices of key stakeholders and impacted communities. Narratives of community impacts can help to bridge the gap between global climate discussions and local realities, making the urgency of climate action more palpable. We believe this will both drive greater action on climate change and support collaborative solutions toward climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Proposals that this funding will support

The aim of this scheme is to make the impacts of climate change visible across a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes in order to drive urgent climate policy change at scale. This year’s award will support proposals that:

1. Identify an evidence gap that can be filled within a short time frame (for example, 12-18 months within the project duration) by generating and/or synthesising data and insights on the context-specific environmentally mediated health effects of climate change.

Examples from the first round of awards:

2. Clearly articulate the:

  • demand driving the research
  • pull-factors in the policy opportunity targeted
  • policy implications of the proposed set of activities and how these can be achieved within the timeframe of the award
  • communication strategies and how they will lead to impact.

Example from the first round of awards:

3. Demonstrate a core team with a history of working together and history of delivering projects (this does not have to be reflected across the entire team/partnership). The award will support transdisciplinary teams that work across the science-policy-society interface (Serrao-Neumann, et al 2021).

We hope to see new and innovative partnerships that must combine researchers from different scientific disciplines, policymakers, community stakeholder representatives, and/or engagement experts. In addition to strong health expertise, we are particularly interested in teams that can demonstrate strong climate expertise. Proposals must demonstrate why the chosen team and partnerships have the correct and relevant expertise to tackle the problem articulated. 

4. Meaningfully engage relevant stakeholders and communities from the outset. This should be reflected in the composition of the team as well as the design of the research proposal and communication strategy. Wellcome supports the use of an engaged research approach. This approach asks researchers to include engagement in the design of their project, while being inclusive of a range of stakeholders.

For this award, relevant stakeholders and communities could include:

  • local or national governments
  • civil society and community-based organisations
  • international or multilateral organisations
  • private sector partners.

A wide range of approaches are acceptable if these achieve the objectives of the award. We expect coapplicants with a diversity of expertise to be included in the application.

Examples from the first round of awards

While not a requirement, we are particularly interested in receiving proposals that:

  • include economic analysis within the programme of work
  • foster collaborations with private sector partners
  • advance understanding of the limits of adaptation to climate change
  • advance narratives that support climate change mitigation
  • come from communities underrepresented in climate and health research such as Small Island Developing States and Indigenous populations.

Eligibility and suitability

Who can apply, who can’t apply, what’s expected of your organisation

About you

You can apply for this award if you are a team leader who wants to advance transdisciplinary research on the impacts of climate change on health.

As the lead applicant, you will be expected to:

  • have experience leading transdisciplinary teams and working in the science-policy-society interface
  • have prior experience of research engaging with policy partners
  • have knowledge brokering skills such as the ability to bring together research teams and impacted communities
  • actively promote a diverse, inclusive and supportive environment within your team and across your organisation.

Your team can include researchers from any discipline (natural, physical and social sciences as well as technology) but must be transdisciplinary (using the OECD definition) and include expertise in policy, public engagement and communications. In addition to strong health expertise, we are particularly interested in teams that can demonstrate strong climate expertise.

During your award we expect you to:

  • fill an important evidence gap where the data and insights generation and/or synthesis could help drive urgent action
  • work across a transdisciplinary team involving researchers, policymakers, communicators, and other key stakeholders including impacted communities
  • co-develop and co-produce evidence to fill the identified gap with the involvement of impacted populations and communities (Vargas et al, 2022)
  • deliver a public engagement and communications strategy that embeds key stakeholders within the design and maximises the intended policy outcomes
  • provide evidence that can help support collaborative solutions to drive urgent climate action.

The award will be held by a lead applicant from an eligible administering institution, on behalf of a team of coapplicants.

At the time of submission the lead applicant:

  • must be able to demonstrate that they have a permanent, open-ended, or long-term rolling contract for the duration of the award
  • must be able to contribute at least 20% of their time to this award
  • must be based at an eligible administering organisation that can sign up to Wellcome’s grant conditions
  • can only be a lead applicant on one application to this scheme. Lead applicants can be included as a coapplicant on one other application, but they must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient capacity for both projects if funded.

Wellcome cannot make awards to teams with co-lead applicants.


  • Can be based anywhere in the world (apart from mainland China).
  • Must be able to contribute at least 20% of their time to this project.
  • Must be essential for delivery of the proposed project and provide added value to the team. For example designing the research, writing the application, providing training, knowledge brokering or managing the programme.
  • Must have a guarantee of workspace from their organisation for the duration of the award.
  • Must be based at an eligible organisation that can sign up to Wellcome’s grant conditions.
  • Must include in-country policy actors and/or practitioners, civil servants, private sector, civil society actors.
  • Do not need to have a permanent, open-ended, or long-term rolling contract at their organisation.
  • Can be at any career stage (please clearly outline the career stage of all coapplicants in the application). We would encourage research teams to consist of at least 1 early-career stage researcher.
  • Coapplicants can be listed on a maximum of two applications only. 

Your application can have a maximum of 7 coapplicants. Lead applicants should ensure that each coapplicant provides added value to the team in terms of the expertise and experience outlined in the criteria.

The team

Team members (coapplicants, staff, consultants) must combine researchers from different disciplines, policymakers, community stakeholder representatives and/or engagement experts. We are looking for transdisciplinary teams that can demonstrate strong health as well as climate expertise (particularly climate and meteorological science).

Additional expertise could span across:

  • specific sectors (for example, housing or agriculture)
  • economics
  • political science
  • private sector
  • public engagement
  • media or communications.

Your team should be able to demonstrate:

  • a history of collaborating together and successfully delivering projects among members of the team
  • a strong record of working in climate change and health research
  • a strong record of working with communities most affected by climate change
  • a strong record of working in collaboration with policymakers or decision makers involved in delivering climate solutions
  • experience designing and planning research projects with major policy implications
  • experience designing and delivering communications and/or public engagement activities, co-produced with impacted communities and key stakeholders with clear policy impact.

We will be looking across the team (including lead applicant and coapplicants) for the criteria identified on this page.

Administering organisations

The lead applicant must be based at an eligible administering organisation that can sign up to Wellcome’s grant conditions (can be based in any country apart from mainland China). The project must have a lead applicant or team member based in all countries where the research activities are taking place.

Eligible administering organisations for the proposal can be:

  • higher education institutions
  • research institutes
  • non-academic healthcare organisations
  • not-for-profit or non-governmental organisations

One organisation can submit multiple different applications. 

What’s expected of the administering organisation:

We also expect your administering organisation to:

  • give you, and any staff employed on the grant, at least 10 days a year (pro rata if part-time) to undertake training and continuing professional development (CPD) in line with the Concordat. This should include the responsible conduct of research, research leadership, people management, diversity and inclusion, and the promotion of a healthy research culture
  • provide a system of onboarding, embedding and planning for you when you start the award
  • provide you with the status and benefits of other staff of similar seniority
  • if your administering organisation is a core-funded research organisation, this award should not replace or lead to a reduction in existing or planned core support.

Time spent away from research and part-time working

You can apply if you've been away from research (for example, a career break, maternity leave or long-term sick leave). We'll allow for this when we consider your application. Lead and coapplicants can be part-time. There is no formal minimum, but part-time working needs to be compatible with delivering the proposal successfully.

Inclusive research design

The proposed research should be equitable, diverse and inclusive in a way that is appropriate to the place in which the research is conducted and the aims of the research or other activities.

This should focus on:

  • Who defines and does the research: we expect our partners to demonstrate to us that their research community has substantive input from, and engagement with, the primary end users or subjects of their research, be they patients, participants or policymakers.
  • How the research is done: we expect our partners to demonstrate to us that their research agenda and the design and conduct of their research substantively engages with the needs and values of the people and communities who are participating in, or are the subject of, their research.
  • Who benefits from the research: Wellcome already has a commitment to focusing on those most affected by our health challenges. Accordingly, we expect our research partners to be able to demonstrate within their research and activity plans that their outputs will be made meaningfully accessible and used by those who most need it and, if appropriate, those who participated in the research.

Who can’t apply

You cannot apply if you intend to carry out activities that involve the transfer of grant funds into mainland China.

Other Wellcome awards

  • An early-career researcher can be a lead applicant on one Wellcome award and a coapplicant on one other Wellcome award, or a coapplicant on two Wellcome awards.
  • A mid-career researcher can be a lead applicant on one Wellcome award and a coapplicant on two other Wellcome awards, or a coapplicant on three Wellcome awards.
  • An established researcher can be:
    • a lead applicant on two Wellcome awards, one as the sole applicant and one as lead applicant for a team, or both as the lead applicant for a team. They can also be a coapplicant on two other Wellcome awards; or
    • a lead applicant on one Wellcome award, as the sole applicant or lead for a team, and a co-applicant on three other Wellcome awards; or
    • a coapplicant on four Wellcome awards.  

The awards should be for different research projects, with no overlap in work packages.


For teams that were shortlisted in the 2023 Climate Impacts Awards, we will only accept resubmissions if there are significant amendments to the application based on the feedback provided.

About your proposal

What is in scope and full application assessment criteria

Wellcome's Climate & Health team will continue to modify the award each year, guided by learnings and insights from the past year and broader trends in the climate and health space. What is in/out of scope this year may not be the same in subsequent years, as well as the remit and criteria. 

In scope

  • Proposals where the primary focus is on the current or future direct and environmentally mediated physical or mental health outcomes attributable to climate change (Haines & Ebi 2019 for definitions), making the health effects of climate change visible.
  • Proposals that include the four key elements of:
    1. an evidence gap that can be filled in the short time available
    2. a clear policy pathway
    3. engaged research approach with key stakeholders identified
    4. a communications strategy that can drive change.

Out of scope

  • Proposals where the primary focus is on:
    • Socially mediated health effects (such as migration and livelihoods) - we are aware that all health outcomes have a social context but are looking for research where environmentally driven aspects of climate change are the primary driver(s) of a given health outcome.
    • Current or future health effects attributable to the consequences of climate change action (mitigation or adaptation). Wellcome is not looking to fund research on these unintended consequences of maladaptation through this award. We may consider funding opportunities on those topics in the future.
    • Current or future health effects attributable to the drivers of climate change (for example, fossil fuel emissions).
  • Proposals where the goal of the project is general advocacy for a specific issue, rather than specific policy opportunities that can be achieved in a realistic timeframe through targeted and co-produced evidence and communications activities.
  • Proposals where the four key elements are not articulated.
  • Proposals submitted in the first round of the scheme that were not shortlisted.
  • Proposals that were shortlisted in the first round that have not undergone major revision.

How applications will be assessed

Applications will be triaged internally at Wellcome with expert methods advisors. Shortlisted applications will be submitted for review by the Funding Advisory Committee which will make funding recommendations to Wellcome’s Climate & Health team. The team will use these as a basis for final funding decisions. The total number of projects we fund through this award will depend on several factors, such as the number and quality of applications received.

Wellcome has a preference for proposals focused on policy outcomes informed by communities most impacted by climate change in both HICs and LMICs. Wellcome does not have a preference for single or multi-country studies but does have a preference for proposals that aim to demonstrate the scale of the problem and the potential for climate action at scale.

There is no preference for proposals that generate new data versus synthesise available data. Data should be managed/collected following the FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship.

The Funding Advisory Committee will assess applications based on the following criteria:

Theory of change (25%):

  • Problem articulation: ability to articulate the problem and identify the evidence gap. For example, if your proposal outlines a solution/s, guided by policy analysis and insight. Clarity about the policy opportunity and implications of the proposed activities.
  • Potential to have policy impact in the timeframe of the award. For example, is this work scalable or transferable?
  • Evidence of demand for this research.
  • Relevance of the proposed work in driving context-specific climate action.

Approach and methods (50%):

  • The quality, innovation and mix of methodologies proposed. For example, is the presented theoretical and conceptual framework informed by different perspectives (such as natural sciences, social sciences, epidemiological analysis, economic analysis, political analysis and climate sciences).
    • Justification for the chosen methods, including qualitative and quantitative work packages.
  • Relevance and innovation of the proposed communication strategy. For example, the ability to communicate the policy opportunity, implications of the proposed activities and engagement with key stakeholders.
  • The approach to engaged research:
    • Clear identification and justification of key stakeholders and impacted communities' involvement (for example, local, or national governments, civil society, community-based organisations, international or multilateral organisations, private sector, local or national government).
    • Evidence of stakeholders and impacted communities contributing to the research design and research questions and their involvement is clearly shown throughout the lifespan of the proposed activities. For example, if the project responds to the needs, interests and capacities of the stakeholders and impacted communities.
    • The engagement methods and framework that will be used and how these are integrated and beneficial to the wider ambitions of the project.
  • Monitoring and evaluation to track and assess the results of planned activities throughout the lifetime of the project.

Team, skill and experience (25%):

  • Transdisciplinary teams: the team composition includes an appropriate combination of individuals and organisations with the capacity, skills and experience to deliver the project and its intended outcomes. Outline how your team will work across the science-policy-society interface and has expertise in climate and health.
  • Successful partnerships: evidence of a history of working together and using a transdisciplinary approach.
  • Evidence that the team has the relevant expertise to deliver the approach and methods outlined. For example, triallists, policy analysis, policy practice, engagement practices and communication strategies.
  • Evidence of a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. For example, your approach to recruiting a diverse team and how you will promote inclusion of members in the research and outputs produced.
  • Clear articulation of what a positive research culture is and how teams will foster this through their future work.

The maximum word count for the programme of work description is 3,000 words.

Applicants do not need to submit ethics approval to the administering organisation by the deadline but should give some consideration to potential ethical issues that may arise through the proposed work in the application.

Please provide any relevant links including publications, websites, social media and videos. We advise you to use links strategically, and be sure to include all of the crucial information in the text of the application as the reviewers are not required to go through each link. Any links must be written out in full URL format.


Date de candidature
Up to 3 years
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie, Histoire, Numérique, Big Data, Philosophie, théologie et religion
Sciences sociales
Sciences participatives
Autres : Biologie, Médecine