Wellcome announces new strategy focused on global health challenges

Wellcome announces new strategy focused on global health challenges

London-based Wellcome has announced a new vision and strategy focused on supporting science over the next two decades as it works "to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone."

To advance that vision, the foundation will fund discovery research that explores life, health, and well-being across a range of disciplines and will support equitable solutions to health challenges in three broad areas: mental health, global heating, and infectious diseases. Among other things, the foundation will work with people who have lived experience of mental health issues to improve research, understanding, and treatment; partner with communities most impacted by climate change to study its harmful effects and fund research to develop new ways of protecting people's health; and engage communities affected by infectious diseases to bring those diseases under control.

"Discovery research — defined broadly, including physical and social sciences and the humanities — will underpin the best solutions to these challenges, though science alone is not enough," said the foundation in a statement on its website. "It needs support from many areas of research and innovation, and advocacy for approaches built on scientific evidence. And because the effects of these challenges will not be felt evenly across the world's population, this must be done in partnership with the people whose health is most at risk."

In support of its new focus areas, Wellcome will update its funding program to give researchers in any discipline — including science, technology, clinical research and experimental medicine, the humanities, and social science — "more freedom, time, and resources to pursue their ideas and build a better research culture." More specifically, grants will support early-career researchers seeking to develop their research capabilities (from project design to delivery), advance innovative research and understanding in their field, and build connections with other researchers; mid-career researchers looking to develop their independence and leadership skills, run their own research program or project, and make key contributions to their field; and established researchers and teams pursuing bold and innovative research, tools, or technology development. 

"Principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion underpin all parts of our new strategy, as does Wellcome's responsibility to help build a better research culture," wrote Wellcome director Jeremy Farrar in a blog post announcing the new vision and strategy. "We want the broadest possible range of people to contribute to — and benefit from — science's potential to change the world."

(Photo credit: Thomas S.G. Farnetti/Wellcome)

Jeremy Farrar. "Wellcome's bold ambitions to improve health through our new strategy." Wellcome blog post 10/20/2020. "Wellcome's Vision and Strategy." Wellcome webpage 10/20/2020. "How our funding schemes are changing." Wellcome webpage 10/20/2020.