Faculty of Medical Sciences

Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund


The Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) provides UK-based universities with an allocation of funding that they are required to match and which they are able to use in a variety of ways to invest and promote strategic areas of importance.

We benefit hugely from this flexible funding as it supports our delivery of cutting-edge biomedical and health research.

Our ISSF award for 2016-2021 of £750,000 per year will build on the initiatives ISSF has funded to date and help us to continue to advance our research strategy in the following ways:

Research Fellowship Scheme

Bridging Funding Scheme

Small Grant Scheme

Broadening Our Horizons Scheme

Development and Diversity Programme

Patient and Public Engagement (internal log in required)






Bridging Funding Scheme

The Bridging Funding Scheme supports the salaries of research and technical staff between funding contracts. The scheme has been running since 2003 through Wellcome Trust Value in People Award funding and since 2011 has been funded by the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF). The scheme has successfully retained key members of research staff providing stability in employment and continuity in career progression for the researcher and the retention of essential skills and expertise for the University.

The scheme is open to research and technical staff within the Faculty of Medical Sciences whose employment depends upon external research funding. In exceptional circumstances can be used to support new PhD graduates.

Applying to the Bridging Funding Scheme

The normal arrangement for bridging a salary is that a third of the costs will each be met by the PI, Institute/School and Faculty Bridging Funding Scheme. Bridging will normally be considered for a period of up to 6 months.

Bridging Funding Guidelines

Bridging Fund Application Form

Completed forms together with a CV of the applicant should be sent by e-mail from Directors of Institute or Head of school to Marjorie Holbrough.

You should submit your application at least one month before the requested start date of bridging to allow reasonable time for administration. Decisions can usually be made within 2 weeks of application and the Principal Investigator will be informed of the outcome.

Evaluation of the scheme

Bridging Fund evaluation form

If you have any enquiries about Bridging Funding please email: Marjorie.holbrough@ncl.ac.uk

Broadening Our Horizons

A single call is now open for applications for funds from the Wellcome Trust Broadening our Horizons Scheme and MRC Proximity to Discovery Fund.

Applications will be assessed against the individual scheme guidelines and awarded from the funding scheme that best fits the proposal.

The Wellcome Trust ISSF Broadening our Horizons Scheme crosses all career stages and pathways (researchers, core facilities’ staff and technicians) and allows individuals to raise their research profile and, in so doing, that of Newcastle. The scheme will develop networks, foster the learning of new skills and expertise, and thereby develop research collaborations and multidisciplinary research ideas. 

The scheme will provide funding to cover travel, accommodation costs and meeting expenses (where no external funding schemes exist for this purpose) to allow researchers to:

  • attend specialist training courses and conferences;
  • undertake short placements in other labs and scientific facilities to strengthen existing skills and/or to develop skills and expertise in a new technique or discipline;
  • organise small meetings and sandpit events in order to bring researchers from different research disciplines together; 

and for Early Career Researchers

  • allow them to receive mentorship from a research leader in their field outside Newcastle in order to develop their own career and professional network and to increase links between external leaders and Newcastle.

The MRC Proximity to Discovery Fund is aimed at improving the interface between academia and industry in the translational research space. Applications are invited for:

  • Incoming Placements: To bring senior managers from industry into the University to work alongside academic colleagues. Examples of activity funded are: facilitated observation of specialised clinics, patient-focused meetings, 1 or 2 day workshops or fora considering unmet clinical need and therapeutic opportunities.
  • Outgoing placements to industry: Open to researchers, core facilities’ staff, technicians and PhD students. To undertake short placements in industry to develop collaborations, strengthen existing skills or to develop skills and expertise in a new technique or discipline.

Applications are particularly welcomed for proposals that address challenges raised through the NU Solutions platform.


MRC P2D and Broadening our Horizons application form

Current submission deadline: 16th June 2017 to Marjorie.holbrough@ncl.ac.uk

Small Grants Scheme

The Wellcome Trust ISSF Small Grant Scheme aims to provide seedcorn funding to allow researchers to:

  • test the feasibility of initial ideas and of potential future studies;
  • produce preliminary data;
  • raise the quality of outputs by supporting additional experimentation often required by the higher ranking journals.

The scheme is open to scientific and clinical projects and will specifically encourage inter-disciplinary research across institutes and faculties.

The scheme will be aimed at high-quality individuals who have limited funding, in particular applications from early year researchers are encouraged.

The funding will allow researchers to:

  • test a novel idea with the potential to develop into a bid for external research funding or for accessing our translational MRC-funded Confidence in Concept scheme;
  • support research, following the end of an award, which has the potential to generate significant additional outputs and lead to further substantial funding applications;
  • support key experiments which will directly lead to an improvement in the quality of a research paper, potentially in response to internal or external reviewers’ comments;
  • to allow inter-disciplinary projects to gather preliminary data;
  • access to our state of the art core facilities, via a voucher scheme.

Funds will be made available in May and September 2017.

The May call is an open call for applications with the September call focussing on projects using proteomics.

Small Grant Application Form

Current submission deadline: 16th June 2017 Marjorie.holbrough@ncl.ac.uk