Wellcome Trust

Introduction

The Wellcome Trust is a UK-based independent charitable foundation established in 1936 by the legacy of the American-born pharmacist and medical entrepreneur Sir Henry Wellcome. Guided by the founder’s broad interests and his conviction that health can be improved when research generates, tests and investigates new ideas, the Wellcome Trust takes on big health challenges, campaigns for better science, and helps everyone get involved with science and health research.

Wellcome directly funds research every step of the way from discovery to impact. Its funding schemes offer grants across biomedical science, population health, medical innovation, humanities and social science, and public engagement. The foundation also identifies areas in which Wellcome can lead significant change within five or ten years, aiming to transform the global response to some of today’s biggest health challenges, such as vaccine development, drug-resistant infections, snakebites and mental health.

The Wellcome Trust has been sharing its commitment data with the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate since 2018. For charts and analyses using disbursement data, commitments are used as a proxy for disbursements.

Private development finance

In 2017, the Wellcome Trust provided USD 245.3 million in private development finance through standard grants.

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All of Wellcome Trust’s funding was provided bilaterally. In addition, 0.5% of the total was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions).

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In 2017, USD 0.3 million (0.1%) of the foundation’s financing was channelled to/through civil society organisations (CSOs). However, the majority – USD 232.0 million (91.3%) – was channelled to/through universities, colleges or other teaching institutions, research institutes or think tanks; and USD 15.1 million (6.0%) to/through networks and public-private partnerships. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, the foundation’s activities were mainly focused on Africa, in particular, USD 65.8 million (25.9%) was allocated to south of Sahara Africa.

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In 2017, 9.3% of the Wellcome Trust’s activities were concentrated on its top 10 recipients. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 13.2 million in 2017 (5.2%).

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In 2017, 1.7% of the Wellcome Trust’s financing (USD 4.4 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs). Lower middle-income countries received the highest share of the trust’s funding in 2017 (5.0%), noting that 89.8% was unallocated by income group.

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In 2017, 96.7% of the Wellcome Trust’s funding was allocated to social infrastructure and services (USD 245.8 million), primarily to health, of which 83% was allocated to infectious disease control, including malaria, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS), trachomatis, hepatitis, Ebola, trypanosomiasis, and other neglected infectious diseases and viral infections.

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Additional resources

Wellcome Trust: https://wellcome.ac.uk

Role of philanthropy in financing for development: www.oecd.org/development/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/beyond-oda-foundations.htm

OECD CRS database, Private philanthropy for development: https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=DV_DCD_PPFD

Reporting to the OECD since 2018.

Wellcome Trust