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Birkbeck Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF)

Birkbeck has been awarded £1.8m in ISSF funding from the Wellcome Trust, matched by a further £1.8m from College funds. The award was initially to cover a five-year period from 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2021, however, this has been extended to 31 March 2023 to enable us to manage activities that have been delayed due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please note that the ISSF project finishes on 31 March 2023 and all activities must complete by this date.

The award is to continue to develop activities relating to public engagement, early career researchers, career development of academic staff, translational support and inter-institutional and interdisciplinary activities. All activities must fall within the scientific or medical humanities remit of the Wellcome Trust. See below for details on the funding available.

BAME Summer Student Internships

We are pleased to announce that we are inviting applications for four summer internships funded by the Wellcome Trust/Birkbeck Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF). 

The aim of this initiative is to give BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) undergraduate students in biomedicine or medical humanities financial support for a summer placement in an academic research environment. Increasingly this kind of experience is looked for to obtain funded PhD places. The aim of this scheme is to remove blocks to under-represented groups moving into an academic career.

Award details

  • The awards are for up to six weeks with a salary of £386.75 a week (London Living Wage) and up to £250 for lab expenses to the host lab. 
  • These awards can be made to Birkbeck undergraduates to be held at any institution or for students at another institution to come to Birkbeck. 
  • Up to four awards will be made for summer 2022 only. 

Eligibility criteria

  • The following ethnic groups are considered eligible:
  • Asian or Asian British
    • Indian
    • Pakistani
    • Bangladeshi
    • Chinese
    • Any other Asian background
  • Black, Black British, Caribbean or African
    • Caribbean
    • African
    • Any other Black, Black British or Caribbean background
  • Mixed or multiple ethic groups
    • White and Black Caribbean
    • White and Black African
    • White and Asian
    • Any other mixed or multiple ethnic background
  • Other ethnic group
    • Arab
    • Gypsy or Irish traveller
    • Any other Black or Minority Ethnic Group

How to apply

deadlines for 2021-22 applications 

  • The allocation of ISSF funds is overseen by a steering group, chaired by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and including the five Executive Deans of our schools, the Head of Research Strategy Support and the Head of the Research Office.
  • The ISSF panel meets termly to consider applications for funding:
    • Submission deadline of 9 November 2021, for consideration at the ISSF panel on 23 November 2021.
    • Submission deadline of 15 February 2022, for consideration at the ISSF panel on 1 March 2022.
    • Submission deadline of 14 June 2022, for consideration at the ISSF panel on 28 June 2022.
  • Please note that applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome of their application within two weeks of the panel meeting date.

Completion reports

  • At the end of awards all applicants are required to submit a two-page report to include the following information:
    • name(s) of applicant
    • type of ISSF award
    • title of award
    • period of award: start and end dates
    • summary of work/event and results, if applicable
    • outputs achieved during award period
    • further outputs/activities planned.
  • This report should be submitted by email to , Head of the Research Office.

Public engagement activities led by Birkbeck

  • Awards of up to £2500 are available for staging public engagement activities in the biomedical sciences or medical humanities.
  • How to apply:
  • You will have to complete a report on how the funding was spent at the end of the activities. 

Opportunities for PhD students at Birkbeck

  • PhD researchers completing their thesis: You can apply for funding to enable you to complete publications or develop public engagement or dissemination activities. The funding covers salary costs up to six months beyond the end of your formal period of study (on the starting point of the Researcher 1 pay scale).
  • Please note that unsuccessful applicants to this scheme may apply only one further time. In a resubmitted application, you are required to state that the application is a resubmission, show how you have responded to feedback (if any) from the ISSF panel on your original application, and explain how the project has been amended.
  • Note that if you are applying as an overseas student, you can only work up to the limit on your visa and will be paid pro-rata accordingly.
  • How to apply
  • You will have to complete a report on how the funding was spent at the end of the activities. 

Fellowships for early-career researchers 

  • We have filled the three ISSF Early Career three-year Fellowships for this award.
  • There are also opportunities for people with fellowship applications well advanced for support for up to a year. Contact your Head of Department, who should then contact Professor Nicholas Keep. These applications will be considered at any meeting of the panel, but must come through the sponsoring Head of Department.

Career Development Awards

  • Academic staff can apply for funding to support career development activities or training. Examples could include attendance on practical or public engagement courses, or training related to your academic field (either a course or a visit to another institution to learn a new technique or develop a new collaboration).
  • Funding: applications are invited termly for awards for up to £2000 and once a year in the Spring term for applications up to £20,000.
  • How to apply:
  • You will have to complete a report on how the funding was spent at the end of the activities. 

funding for early-career researchers and academics returning from a career break 

  • Early-career researchers and academics returning from a career break can apply for start-up funding of up to £40,000 for research projects in biomedicine or medical humanities. 
  • Early-career researcher: you must be within five years of your first academic appointment (at the date of your application), which includes academic employment at another institution(s). 
  • Academics returning from a career break: this include leave for maternity, extended paternity, adoption or other caring responsibilities.
  • How to apply:
  • You will have to complete a report on how the funding was spent at the end of the activities. 

Conference and symposia funding 

funding to 'Translate' your research 

  • Awards of up to £5000 are available for translational activities in the medical humanities and biomedical sciences - that is, translating research findings into meaningful outcomes. Examples of this type of activity include hiring a consultant to advise on commercialising a piece of research, or directed work with clinicians or patients.
  • Projects, where partial funding has been obtained elsewhere, will be favoured. 
  • How to apply
  • You will have to complete a report on how the funding was spent at the end of the activities.