Sir Henry Dale Fellowship

For outstanding post-doctoral scientists wishing to build their own UK-based, independent research career addressing an important biomedical question.

Sir Henry Dale portrait Sir Henry Dale OM GBE FRS was President of the Royal Society from 1940 to 1945 and was a founding Trustee and Chairman of the Wellcome Trust.

The scheme supports research ranging from the molecules and cells vital to life and their role in the global spread of disease, to clinical and public health research seeking to improve the quality of healthcare. It can be based in the laboratory, clinic or field, and may involve experimental or theoretical approaches.

It brings together the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust, two of the world's most prestigious and influential scientific organisations, in their shared commitment to supporting the future leaders of biomedical research.

The scheme seeks to support individuals who would have previously applied for a 'biomedical' Royal Society University Research Fellowship or a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship hosted by a UK academic organisation.

Eligibility requirements


The applicant is expected to have relevant scientific or mathematical qualifications and, at the final decision point (i.e. at interview), be no more than seven years from the date of their PhD viva.

The applicant must be:

  • a UK/EEA national OR
  • a non-EEA national who either has a relevant degree from a UK university, or has worked in the UK for at least a continuous three-year period OR
  • an exceptional biomedical scientist, who does not fall within the categories above, whose recruitment to the host organisation would be advantageous to both the applicant and the organisation.

We will normally expect the applicant to have spent less than two years with their current department if they plan to apply for a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship in the same location. A strong justification must be provided where the applicant has been at the proposed host organisation for longer. Please note that if you hold an established post you are not eligible to apply for a fellowship to be held at your current employing organisation. In exceptional cases, we are willing to consider a preliminary application if you wish to move organisation and are able to make a strong scientific justification for the move.

This scheme is not open to individuals who wish to combine research with a continuing clinical career in medicine, psychology, dentistry or veterinary practice.

Time spent outside the research environment will be taken into consideration (e.g time away due to personal reasons such as maternity, paternity, adoption leave or other caring responsibilities; ill health or working in a non-research environment/role such as industry). Additionally, where applicants have taken formal periods of maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave as the primary carer (either the mother, father, partner or adopter), or extended sick leave, the Society will allow an additional six months for each period of leave when assessing eligibility.

Holders of a Royal Society University Research Fellowship or Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship are not eligible to apply for a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship.

The applicant must have made intellectual contributions to research that have been published in leading journals, and be able to demonstrate their potential to carry out independent research.

Resubmissions are not normally encouraged. If a previous application has been unsuccessful, please contact the Wellcome Trust for advice.

Host organisation

The applicant must have an eligible sponsoring host organisation in the UK with the support of the relevant Head of Department, or equivalent e.g. Centre Director, Head of School, etc., who can guarantee that the applicant will be supported in developing their own independent career and that adequate space and resources will be provided for the duration of the award.

The Head of Department (or equivalent):

  • must have a contract of employment with the host organisation or, in the case of an NHS employee, an honorary academic appointment
  • should give an undertaking that if an award is made, the applicant will be granted the status and prerogatives of other academic staff of similar seniority
  • should not expect the applicant to spend more than six hours per week on activities unrelated to the Fellowship (e.g. teaching duties).

If the applicant proposes to undertake fieldwork or research in a low- or middle-income country, they may be required to identify an appropriate Head of Department, or equivalent (e.g. Director of Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme), in their overseas organisation.

Head of Departments are encouraged to view their support and mentorship of you as part of a longer-term commitment to help the applicant realise their career aspirations in research.

Sponsors are advised to read all the scheme information provided here.

Value and tenure

Fellowships are tenable for five years in the first instance, with the potential to apply for competitive renewal for an additional three years.

Fellowships may be taken up on a part-time employment basis, where appropriate.

Unless stated otherwise, the following costs may be requested:

  • a basic salary for the Fellow, as determined by the host organisation; an additional Wellcome Trust enhancement of £7,500 per annum will also be provided
  • research expenses, including research assistance if required (normally a graduate research assistant or technician; requests for additional research staff may be considered where fieldwork or clinical studies in a low- or middle-income country are proposed)
  • travel and subsistence for collaborative travel or scientifically justified overseas visits of normally up to one year
  • overseas allowances, where appropriate, for applicants working in low- or middle-income countries for 12 months or more

In addition the funders will provide:

  • an inflation allowance
  • a Flexible Funding Allowance
  • a contribution towards indirect and estate costs funded by the Royal Society (currently set at £11,000 per annum per Fellowship).

Please note that only the funds provided by the Royal Society may be used towards indirect and estate costs.

The Wellcome Trust’s position on full economic costs is to pay the directly incurred costs of the research it funds, and other costs where these will further the Trust’s charitable mission. The Trust does not fund on a proportion of full economic costs (fEC) basis.

Application process

Preliminary application stage

A preliminary application form must be completed and submitted by the published deadline. It should be sent electronically (as a Word document), with the requested accompanying information, to

Completed forms will normally be assessed within four weeks of the preliminary deadline.

Full application stage

If eligible and assessed as competitive, the applicant will be advised to submit a full application via the Wellcome Trust's eGrants online application system. Guidance notes to accompany the full application form can be found here (PDF).

It is important that both the applicant and their Head of Department read this document when completing the full application form.

Sir Henry Dale Fellows are expected to conduct research in line with the agreed policies and position statements (PDF) of the funders.

Once the full application has been submitted it will be subject to external peer review prior to consideration by the scientifically relevant Expert Review Group.

The Expert Review Group will shortlist applicants for interview by the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship Interview Committee.

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted at least two weeks before the interview date and interviews will take place in London.

Awards will be conditional upon a satisfactory performance at interview.

Application advice

Reviewers and decision-making bodies typically assess:

  • the calibre of the candidate
  • the scientific merit of the proposed project
  • the significance of the research
  • the suitability of the host environment for the applicant's development as an independent researcher.

The applicant is expected to write your own application for support of an independent project, which should normally be hypothesis-driven.

The applicant may not apply for more than one of the funders' fellowship schemes at any one time.

Successful applicants may have the opportunity to apply for Wellcome Trust Enhancement funding.

Those appointed are expected to be strong candidates for a more senior fellowship or a permanent position within a UK research organisation at the end of their Sir Henry Dale Fellowship.


Enquiries may be directed to, or by telephone to the Wellcome Trust's Grants Service Desk: +44 (0)20 7611 2020.

Applying for this scheme

Applications for this scheme are now considered three times a year. Details of the upcoming rounds:

Preliminary application deadline: 17 April 2015 (5pm)
Invited full application deadline: 19 June 2015 (5pm)
Shortlisted candidate interviews: 21-23 October 2015

Next preliminary application deadline: 17 July 2015 (5pm)
Invited full application deadline: 9 October 2015 (5pm)
Shortlisted candidate interviews: 24-26 February 2016

Schedule for preliminary applications submitted to 21 November 2014 deadline:

Invited full application deadline: 30 January 2015 (5pm)
Shortlisted candidate interviews: 27-29 May 2015 

The following documents are available:

Contact us

Please email enquiries to or telephone the Wellcome Trust's Grants Service Desk: +44 (0)20 7611 2020

Sir Henry Dale Fellowship 

The Sir Henry Dale Fellowship is a partnership between the Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust (the Funders).

Award holders

Details of awarded fellows can be found on the Wellcome Trust's website here.

Early career schemes

University Research Fellowship
For outstanding scientists in the UK at an early to mid-stage of their research career who have the potential to become leaders in their field.

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship
For outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.

Sir Henry Dale Fellowship
For outstanding post-doctoral scientists wishing to build their own UK-based, independent research career addressing an important biomedical question.

Newton International Fellowship
For non-UK scientists who are at an early stage of their research career and wish to conduct research in the UK.

We also provide the Education Research Fellowship for early-career academics in the UK researching physics and mathematics education and the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for early-career scientists in the UK who want to conduct research in Japan.

See all the grant schemes.

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