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The Oxford-Wellcome ISSF Individual Career Support funding stream will support early career researchers, mid-career researchers and discipline hoping 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.

Small award requests will be invited each term while main award requests are invited in Michaelmas and Trinity terms only. Small award applications must not exceed £10,000. Main award applications should not exceed £75,000.

The funding for the Wellcome ISSF block grant will end on 30 September 2022; all projects must end and be fully spent by this date. No extensions beyond 30 Sep 2022 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.


Support for researchers including clinicians who have held a post that includes responsibility for developing their own research agenda for less than eight years (including periods at other institutions and excluding career breaks) is available. Funding from the ISSF is intended to accelerate establishment of early career researchers’ research and scholarship and help early career researchers work toward e.g. Wellcome Fellowships, Investigator or Seed awards.


This OUCAGS initiative is intended to support post-doctoral clinical lecturers and assist their career progression by providing funds to support their career and professional development. This could include:

  • Research assistant/research nurse support, or other administrative support, to generate preliminary data to underpin external grant applications (up to 1 year full-time)
  • Secondments or short-term research assignments (e.g. to an external laboratory)
  • Attendance at conferences, if no other source of funding is available
  • Training of any kind that will support research career development (e.g. King’s Fund programmes)

These are illustrative examples and the list is not exhaustive. Any reasonable applications will be considered provided the link to career development in clinical/scientific research can be demonstrated.


Support for excellent researchers who hold an independent post who have a reduced research portfolio due to for example, a period of increased teaching or administrative load, or reduced hours for sickness or caring reasons. Funding from the ISSF is intended to reinvigorate the research careers of these mid-career researchers. Funding is intended to be awarded as part of a package of support outlined by the relevant Head of Department/Faculty in the application to ensure that such researchers will have the time and resource required to be strong candidates for further funding e.g. WT Seed awards.


Funding will be awarded to independent researchers of any career stage who currently work outside the Wellcome remit in order that they can apply their expertise to the Wellcome goals of understanding health and disease, and improving health.

Applicants must normally be employed by the University, hold a contract extending to at least the end date of their proposed project (or an underwrite from their department), and fit into at least one of the categories described above. DPhil students are not eligible to apply. Postdoctoral Researchers and Clinical Research Fellows are only eligible to apply when a clear case is made for how an ISSF award will establish their independent career.

Please submit your application online via the Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS)

Guidance in the form of quick reference guide documents for applicants, departmental approvers and administrators can be found on Research Support pages.

Note that some departments may have set an earlier internal deadline so please check with your local admin team and prepare your application well in advance of the date advertised above. Applications must be reviewed online by departmental approvers and, where approved, submitted for review by the Committee before the deadline. 

Applications, scores and reviewer comments may be shared with other internal University panels to ensure maximum value for money.

For upcoming deadlines please see the main ISSF deadlines page.