Biomedical Science Funding at the Wellcome TrustDr Kathryn AdcockSenior Portfolio DeveloperNeuroscience and Mental Health / Clinical Activities
The Wellcome Trust • an independent research-funding charity. • established 1936. • funded from private endowment. • interests range from science to history of medicine to public engagement. • Grant spend 2008/09: c£550m
Our new vision and mission Our vision is to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health Our mission is to support the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities Our breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health
Three focus areas… • Supporting outstanding researchers supporting the best researchers at all stages of their careers; creating the best research environments; influencing the policy landscape • Accelerating the application of research stimulating Technology Transfer, clinical research and uptake to policy & practice • Exploring medicine in historical and cultural contexts fostering medical humanities, education & public engagement
Five major challenges… • Maximising the health benefits of genetics and genomics • Understanding the brain • Combating infectious diseases • Investigating development, ageing & chronic disease • Connecting environment, nutrition and health
Implementing the Strategic Plan: Funding for Biomedical Science Investigator Awards replacing project, programme, equipment, resources, technology development, flexible travel awards Fellowships • Clinical, Basic & ‘Tropical’ • Training, Intermediate & Senior Strategic Awards • Strategic Awards • Themed Initiatives
Investigator awards and Fellowships Senior Investigator awards New Investigator awards
Why apply for a fellowship ? • Allows protected research time • All of our current Senior Clinical Fellows have previously held competitive fellowships from a major funder during their research career
The future for academic trainees(in England) • integrated academic foundation programmes • dedicated academic training programmes, consisting of two phases: • academic clinical fellowship phase • clinical lectureship phase • senior lectureship posts
Personal support schemes for clinicians Senior Principal Research Fellowships Senior Clinical Fellowships Intermediate Intermediate Clinical Fellowships Postdoctoral Training Fellowships for MB/PhD Graduates Training Research Training Fellowships Interdisciplinary Training Programmes for Clinicians in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics PhD Programmes
PhD programmes for clinicians • Complement Research Training Fellowships • Tailored to the unique needs of clinician-scientists • Programmes provide: • a structured, well-mentored environments • access to high-quality research environments • 170 training slots over five years - 30-35 training slots available annually • University of Oxford • University of Cambridge • Imperial College London • University of Edinburgh • University of Dundee • University of Liverpool • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Joint Basic and Clinical PhD Programmes • scheme to support the most promising basic or medically qualified clinicians who wish to undertake both rigorous basic and clinical science research training • Two Programmes have been established based in centres of excellence • University of Birmingham • Institute of Cancer Research
Interdisciplinary Training Programmes for Clinicians in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics • high-quality integrated research training programmes for clinicians • will provide clinicians with the expertise to design and conduct studies that aim to develop and evaluate novel therapies in humans • partnerships: from a single academic institution and industrial partner • programmes provide a range of training opportunities tailored to a clinician's needs at several levels • Imperial • Edinburgh • Cambridge • Newcastle
Research Training Fellowships • For medical, dental and veterinary graduates who have little or no research training but who wish to develop a career in academic medicine • Applications from individuals who wish to undertake a high-quality research training leading to a PhD • high-quality research project that balances provision of training with the opportunity to advance knowledge in a given area • Research Training Fellowship – 3-year award (Clinical salary and research expenses) Considered three times a year with interviews in December, April and June/July - no preliminary application. Next deadlines for full applications: 21 January 2011
Issues to think about when considering a training fellowship • Pull of a purely clinical career • clinical training to do • Quality of research environment • Mentorship • Supervisor • Training • The project should be about you – you’re not just a pair of hands!
Intermediate Clinical Fellowships • For outstanding individuals to continue to develop their research career through a period of post doctoral research training • Will hold a PhD/MD and have published papers in good quality journals • Four year award (fellowship salary and research expenses) for applicants who have completed, or are about to complete, their clinical training • ‘Clinician Scientist’ five year award (fellowship salary and research expenses) allows applicant to complete clinical training Considered twice a year with interviews in December and June/July. Next preliminary application deadlines: early 2011
Issues to think about when considering an intermediate fellowship • Pull of a purely clinical career • Still have clinical training to do • Research momentum • Want to/need to move • Want to go abroad • Quality of PhD • Competition
Senior Research Fellowships for Clinicians • For outstanding individuals of exceptional ability to continue their independent programmes of research • 4–~6 years’ postdoctoral research experience • 5-year award funded in full (fellowship salary and research expenses) by the Trust • Renewable for five-year periods with 50% fellowship salary funded by the host institution Annual competition Next preliminary application deadline will be summer 2011
Issues to think about when considering a senior fellowship • Senior Fellowship or Tenure Track position e.g. NIHR/HEFC Senior Clinical Lectureship • Research momentum • Can you visualise your research question over a 5 year funding envelope • Competition – Intense • Am I being realistic ?
Assessment Criteria Person • the candidate's track record • the candidate's vision of how the Fellowship will contribute to their career development • the candidate's longer term aspirations. Project • the importance of the research question • relevant background information • the feasibility of the approach • resources requested – are they appropriate? Place • the candidate's choice of appropriate research sponsors • Quality of research environment Comparison with other applications of the same type – It is a competition.
Application process for personal support schemes Pick the best scheme for you and check details • Preliminary application • Assess eligibility and suitability of person (and project) in relation to the scheme • Decision on whether to invite full application • Full application • Detailed external peer review of person, project and place • Application and referees’ reports assessed by appropriate Wellcome Trust Funding Committee • Decision on whether to invite candidate for interview • Interview • Decision on whether to make an award
A ‘Good’ Application • A strong and original central hypothesis • Evident knowledge of the area • Consider what’s already known, address conflicting opinions, use appropriate citations and references. • Clear research plan • Is the technical approach feasible? Is the timescale realistic? What are the potential pitfalls and your fall-back plans? Are the requested resources appropriate? • Convincing preliminary data • Not over- or under- ambitious • Appropriate expertise • Sponsors, co-applicants, collaborators and • research team.
A ‘Good’ Application • Easy to understand and read • Consider all readers, avoid jargon and abbreviations, check grammar and spelling • All staff, equipment and materials & consumables should be fully justified • Animal use should be carefully justified and power calculations provided, where appropriate • Should offer the very best value for money
Before starting your application…. • Read the application form and guidance notes carefully and think about the answers to all the questions • Check deadlines to avoid rushed applications and accept what the word “deadline” means e.g. it’s not necessarily ready to submit when you have finished with it as it must have been through your admin office too • Queries? Concerns? Contact the Trust for advice
Peer Review Assessment • Fellowships: person, project, place: • Standing of the candidate, e.g. track record • Candidate’s suitability for the type of fellowship - e.g. vision of how the award will enhance their career development and their longer term aspirations • Importance of the research question • Relevance of background information • Strengths and weaknesses of application;quality of science, feasibility. • Resources requested; are they appropriate? • Candidate’s choice of appropriate sponsor& what that location offers • Comparison with other applications of the same type – it’s a competition
Before the Interview Practice, practice, practice! There is no substitute for mock interviews Know your application backwards – own the project! Know recent data in the field Be prepared to give a concise summary of your proposed project and your research career to date
Final issues to consider • Have I built a competitive CV? • Do I have the right sponsor, supervisor and mentor? • Is this the ‘right’ project for me? • When is the best time in my career to do research? • Am I being realistic? • Will I enjoy it?
For more information and contact details visit our website: www.wellcome.ac.uk firstname.lastname@example.org