Wellcome Trust offers International Research Fellowships Programme

The Wellcome Trust offers International Research Fellowships Programme – a prestigious fellowship program for early-career researchers from low- and middle-income countries to gain research experience and training at leading research institutions globally.

This guide will provide everything you need to know about the Wellcome Trust International Fellowships, including eligibility, benefits, application process, tips for success, alumni experiences and frequently asked questions.

Overview of the International Research Fellowships Programme: Wellcome Trust

The International Fellowships programme enables promising researchers to gain scientific skills and experience at leading research institutions worldwide. It is open to postdoctoral or early-career scientists wishing to gain scientific research training and experience.

The fellowship awards:

  • A stipend for subsistence, accommodation and travel
  • Research project running costs
  • A personal removal allowance
  • Value added tax and import duty costs for research equipment bought for the Fellowship
  • Economy class airfares for the Fellow, spouse and children for relocating at the start and end of the Fellowship

Fellowships are awarded for up to 5 years. You must hold a PhD, MD, DPhil or equivalent doctoral degree and demonstrate that you have sufficient research experience to make the most of this opportunity.

The program aims to develop scientific leadership and strengthen research capacity in low- and middle-income countries. Upon completion, fellows are expected to return to their home country to continue their research careers.

Benefits of the Wellcome Trust International Fellowship

The Wellcome Trust International Fellowship offers a wide range of benefits:

  • Training at leading institutions worldwide – Fellows can choose to conduct research at universities, hospitals, non-profit research institutions and more across the globe. This enables access to expert supervision, resources and collaborations.
  • Generous stipend and allowances – The stipend is calculated based on World Bank country income levels and covers living expenses. Additional allowances cover travel, relocation, project costs and expenses.
  • Career development – Fellows can develop skills in research methods, scientific writing, presentation, networking, mentorship and leadership.
  • Reintegration grant – Up to £30,000 is provided to help fellows establish their independent research careers upon returning home.
  • Prestigious affiliation – Being a Wellcome Trust Fellow is an internationally recognised achievement in itself.
  • Networking opportunities – Fellows join an influential global network of researchers and become part of the Wellcome Trust community.
  • Family support – Partners and children can accompany fellows and receive allowances for their relocation, healthcare and education.

Overall, the International Fellowship empowers fellows to become pioneering researchers and future leaders in health research globally.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Wellcome Trust International Fellowship, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a PhD, MD, DPhil or equivalent doctoral degree.
  • Have no more than 7 years of active full-time postdoctoral research experience.
  • Be from a low- or middle-income country, based on your citizenship and country of residence.
  • Not hold UK citizenship or permanent residency.
  • Provide a full research proposal, including the institution where you intend to conduct the fellowship.
  • Obtain endorsement from your proposed hosting institution.
  • Demonstrate a strong track record of research achievements and outputs relative to your career stage.
  • Exhibit strong communication skills and potential to become a research leader.
  • Be able to take up the fellowship within 12 months of being awarded.

The Wellcome Trust aims to enable diversity in research. Women, disabled people and those from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Application Process

Applying for the Wellcome Trust International Fellowship is a thorough process with strict deadlines. Here is an overview of what’s involved:

  • Step 1 – Check eligibility – Review the eligibility criteria carefully to ensure you qualify.
  • Step 2 – Identify host institution – Decide where you want to conduct your research. Reach out to establish affiliations.
  • Step 3 – Prepare application – The key parts are your CV, research proposal, supporting statement and references.
  • Step 4 – Submit online – Applications open in August and the deadline is October. All submissions are through the Wellcome Trust’s online portal.
  • Step 5 – Host approval – Your chosen host must approve your application after submission.
  • Step 6 – Interview – Shortlisted candidates are invited for an interview, usually held in London.
  • Step 7 – Notification – Final decisions are provided by email 4 months after the application deadline.

Start preparing your application well in advance of the deadline. Be strategic in pitching your research project and building institutional affiliations. Submit a polished application showcasing your achievements, vision and leadership potential.

Tips for a Successful Application

To give yourself the best shot at securing the Wellcome Trust International Fellowship, here are some top tips:

  • Plan ahead – Connect with potential hosts early and give yourself ample time for preparations. Start at least 6 months before the application deadline.
  • Build a strong portfolio – Showcase your skills and achievements through publications, presentations, awards, media coverage and more. Quantify your outputs and impacts.
  • Craft an exceptional proposal – Write a compelling and coherent research plan demonstrating knowledge, critical thinking and methodology.
  • Secure strong endorsements – Get support letters from referees who can attest to your capabilities and vouch for your potential.
  • Highlight leadership abilities – Provide evidence of your communication, mentoring, project management and collaboration skills.
  • Practice for interviews – Expect questions testing your subject expertise, problem solving and thought leadership. Rehearse articulate responses.
  • Follow all instructions – Strictly adhere to requirements for formatting, length, attachments and deadlines. Carefully check eligibility.
  • Convey your passion – Communicate genuine enthusiasm for your research and a commitment to leadership in your home country.

With diligent preparation and a robust application, you can show Wellcome Trust that you are ready to maximise this fellowship opportunity.

Experiences of International Fellows

Here are some first-hand experiences of researchers who have undertaken the Wellcome Trust International Fellowship, to give you insights into the program:

“The Wellcome International Fellowship provided me with the protected time and wonderful resources to grow my own research ideas. I gained exposure to new techniques and built an international network of collaborators. The support I received allowed me to transition to independence in Nigeria.” – Dr Adekemi Oluwasanmi, Nigeria


“My Wellcome fellowship enabled me to learn cutting-edge molecular biology techniques at a top UK university and apply them to malaria research. I returned to Kenya with enhanced expertise, peer-reviewed publications and have since secured local funding to run my own lab.” – Dr Peter Kariuki, Kenya


“The freedom, flexibility and training I experienced through my International Fellowship was unparalleled. I expanded my skills, published high-impact research and cemented collaborations. I am now leading an interdisciplinary infectious disease program in Thailand.” – Dr Pimjai Niparuck, Thailand


The fellows agree that the program provides invaluable experience, resources and opportunities that transform research careers. They recommend being strategic when choosing the host institution and collaborators to maximise gains. The reintegration grant also enables fellows to hit the ground running upon returning home.

Top Questions About the International Research Fellowships Programme: Wellcome Trust Answered

Here are answers to some common questions about the Wellcome Trust International Fellowship program:

Can I choose where to conduct my fellowship research?

Yes, you can select your preferred host institution anywhere in the world when applying. Your chosen institute must approve supporting your fellowship proposal.

What costs does the fellowship stipend cover?

It provides for basic living expenses, accommodation, travel within the host country and other personal needs. The stipend is calculated based on World Bank country income levels.

Can I bring family members with me?

Yes, partners and dependent children under 18 can accompany you. Financial support is provided for their relocation, healthcare and education.

Do I need to return to my home country after the fellowship?

Yes, fellows must return home for at least one year after completing their fellowship to assist your country through research leadership.

Can I apply again if my first application was unsuccessful?

Yes, you can reapply in subsequent years. However, you need to demonstrate substantial differences in your experience and proposal.

How are applications assessed?

Applications undergo rigorous assessment by subject experts based on your research potential, leadership capabilities, proposal and institutional fit.

Can I take up other work along with the fellowship?

No, fellows are expected to devote themselves full time to the fellowship program and approved research project.

When should I start planning my application?

It is recommended to start preparing at least 6 months in advance of the application deadline to find a host institute and refine your proposal.


The prestigious Wellcome Trust International Fellowship provides transformative training, collaboration and leadership development opportunities for underrepresented researchers globally. If you are committed to advancing health and science in your home country, this program can equip you with the capabilities to make significant impacts. With thorough preparation and a competitive application, you have an excellent chance of embarking on an elevating research journey as an International Fellow.

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