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The Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund is now closed to applications. The last round of applications funded from the current block grant from Wellcome was in Michaelmas Term 2020 (deadline 14 October 2020). Future rounds will be dependent on the receipt of further funding from Wellcome. 

The Oxford-Wellcome ISSF Individual Career Support funding stream supported early career researchers, mid-career researchers and discipline hopping to pump prime activity and facilitate successful applications to external funding schemes.

The fund will support researchers to pump prime projects so that a competitive application can then be made to Wellcome and other external funders e.g. by providing funding to generate initial proof of concept data.

Applications were accepted for small awards (no more than £10,000) and main awards applications (>£10,000 and usually not more than £75,000).

Wellcome ISSF Small Awards from applicants in the Medical Sciences Division are reviewed by the same panel as MSIF Pump Priming Awards. If an applicant applied to both streams for the same deadline, only one of the awards would be made. Small award applicants from MSD should only apply for an MSIF Pump Priming Award.

The funding for the Wellcome ISSF block grant will end on 31 March 2023; all projects must end and be fully spent by this date. No extensions beyond 31 March 2023 will be permitted.

Applications will be accepted in Wellcome research areas across the following categories: early career researchers, early career clinical academics, career transformation and discipline hopping.

A letter of support from the Head of Department is required for all main award applications. Letters should cover the department's support for the proposal and

  • Where an applicant does not hold a contract extending to at least the end date of their proposed project and the department has agreed to underwrite their post then this should be confirmed in the letter
  • Where funding for buy-out has been requested the letter of support should explicitly confirm that both the department and/or the college have approved the buy-out plan for the project
  • For the career transformation scheme the letter should also outline the package of support that will be provided by the host department/faculty to ensure that the applicant will have the time and resource required to be a strong candidate for future funding


The ISSF is only able to support projects in Wellcome research areas. Any direct cost of research is eligible. This includes but is not limited to staff costs (excluding PI salary), consumables, equipment, access fees, animal costs, payments to research participants and teaching buy out. Please note that any buy out plans must be approved in advance by both the department and/or the college. No indirect or directly allocated costs will be supported. Any queries about eligible costs should be addressed to your ISSF Divisional Point of Contact

For main award bids to ISSF, applicants should work with their departments to cost proposals accurately.


Match funding is not required for small awards (<£10k) or for the Early Career Clinical Academic funding stream.

It is expected that funding requests to the ISSF for awards over £10k will have a minimum 20% match component at the point of application. This match funding can be cash or in-kind (e.g. equipment). Match funding can come from external sources (excluding Wellcome), or departmental funds. Queries about match funding should be directed to your ISSF Divisional Point of Contact in the first instance.