Wellcome Trust

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.

The Wellcome Trust 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.

Official website: www.wellcome.org

The Wellcome Trust provided USD 531.7 million for development in 2020 through its grantmaking activities. Compared to 2019, this amount represents an increase of 53% in real terms.

In 2020, the Wellcome Trust provided USD 42.8 million of its total contributions for the COVID-19 response, representing 8% of its total gross bilateral development finance, all of which was provided as health expenditure within the COVID-19 response. Moreover, the Wellcome Trust played a leading role in the international response to the pandemic.

In 2020, the Wellcome Trust provided USD 8.9 million to the multilateral system, or 2% of its development finance, all of which was earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes. These multilateral channels mainly included WHO of the United Nations (UN) system and the International Vaccine Institute.

See the section on Geographic and thematic focus for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system.

In 2020, the Wellcome Trust channelled its grants mostly through universities, research institutes and think tanks as well as public-private partnerships and the (for-profit) private sector.

In 2020, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 9 million of the Wellcome Trust’s gross bilateral finance. Of this, 30% was allocated to CSOs as core support and 70% was earmarked for projects initiated by the provider.

In 2020, the Wellcome Trust’s development finance was primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 118.8 million was allocated to Africa and USD 58.8 million to Asia, accounting respectively for 22% and 11% of gross bilateral contributions. Sixty-six per cent of gross development finance was unspecified by region in 2020, mainly including multi-regional programmes and medical research grants.

In 2020, 30% of gross development finance went to the Wellcome Trust’s top 10 recipients, which includes Kenya, Thailand and South Africa.

Least developed countries received USD 4.8 million (1%) of the Wellcome Trust’s gross disbursements in 2020 with 29% allocated to middle-income countries. Seventy per cent was unallocated by income group.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 84.5 million in 2020, representing 16% of the Wellcome Trust’s development finance.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2020, 99% of the Wellcome Trust’s contributions were allocated to social infrastructure and services, primarily focusing on health and population policies.

In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Wellcome Trust committed most of its contributions to SDG 3 (good health and well-being) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals) of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Moreover, USD 78.1 million (15%) was committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment (SDG 5).

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, the SDG focus of private development finance, channels of delivery, unspecified/unallocated allocations, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

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