The Wolfson Foundation

The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity that awards grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health and disability, education, and the arts and humanities. It has awarded over £900 million in grants since their establishment in 1955, supporting more than 11,000 projects. Find additional information on the Wolfson Foundation's website.

The Foundation is one of the Society’s longest and most generous donors, supporting our work since 1959. In 1959 the Wolfson Research Professorships were established and continue to support Professors in achieving outstanding scientific research.

Current Funding

Royal Society Wolfson Research Professorships

The Royal Society Wolfson Research Professorship is for world-class scientists who would benefit from a period of long-term support to allow them to focus on research and collaboration based at an institution in the UK.

The latest recipient of the Wolfson Research Professorship is: 

Professor Gregory Hannon FRS: recognised for his contributions to small RNA biology, cancer biology, and mammalian genomics. 

Recipients of the Wolfson Research Professorships have made major contributions to scientific advancement, including:

Dr Dorothy Hodgkin OM FRS: won the Nobel Prize for her work on X-ray crystallography and determined the molecular structures of cholesterol, penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin.

Sir Alan Fersht FRS: developed methods for high resolution analysis of protein folding, shedding light on diseases like CJD, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Sir Alec Jeffreys FRS: developed DNA fingerprinting which has forever changed forensic science. For this discovery, he was named Great Briton 2006 in the Morgan Stanley Great Briton Awards.

Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships

The Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships provide long-term flexible funding for senior career researchers recruited or retained to a UK university or research institute in fields identified as a strategic priority for the host department or organisation. The award is administered by the Royal Society and is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.

Professor Jens Zinke from the University of Leicester was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship in 2019. Jens’ research focuses on understanding how the tropical oceans regulate our climate and the extent to which global warming caused by humans has interrupted or modified the natural cycles.

The generous support of the Wolfson Foundation has enabled us to enhance and promote a future of excellence in science and support scientists in the United Kingdom.

Read more about the Royal Society Wolfson Fellowships.

Past Funding

Royal Society Wolfson Laboratory Refurbishment 

Between 1998 to 2017, the Wolfson Foundation provided over £30 million for the Royal Society Wolfson Laboratory Refurbishment programme which aimed to improve the existing physical infrastructure in UK universities to promote high quality scientific research. Over the two decades the Society awarded grants to 196 individuals from 51 universities and institutions in the UK. 

Professor Polly Arnold from the University of Edinburgh was awarded the grant in 2007. She used this funding to refurbish a block which had not been touched in 40 years so it could be used for research into converting CO2 into useful products.