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.

The Wellcome Trust provided USD 327 million for development in 2019 in the form of grants. Compared to 2018, this amount represents an increase by 22% in real terms.

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In 2019, the Wellcome Trust provided USD 12 million of its development finance to the multilateral system, accounting for 4% of its total development finance. The main multilateral channels used by the Wellcome Trust included the International Vaccine Institute, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. All of these contributions were earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes.

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

In 2019, the Wellcome Trust channelled its development grants mostly through universities, research institutes and think tanks (74%); and public-private partnerships and networks (18%).

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In 2019, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 13 million of gross disbursements, all of which were channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the provider (earmarked funding). CSOs based in developing countries received 25% of the Wellcome Trust’s allocations channelled to/through CSOs.

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In 2019, USD 181 million (55%) of the Wellcome Trust’s development finance was unallocated by region. Still, USD 77 million was allocated to Asia and USD 62 million to Africa, accounting respectively for 55% and 24% of its development grants.

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Bilateral private development finance by recipient country

In 2019, 28% of gross disbursements went to the Wellcome Trust’s top 10 recipients, most notably India, Malawi and Burkina Faso. The share of 68% was not allocated by country, mainly relating to expenditure for projects and programmes with a regional scope/unrestricted character.

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Least developed countries received USD 33 million (10%) of the Wellcome Trust’s gross disbursements in 2019. The Wellcome Trust allocated the highest share (21%) of its country-allocable development grants to middle-income countries, noting that 68% was unallocated by income group.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country.

In 2019, almost all of the Wellcome Trust’s development finance was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Contributions in this area accounted for 97% of its commitments (USD 317 million), almost exclusively focused on health and reproductive health. Commitments for production sectors (USD 7 million; 2%) mainly related to veterinary services (including zoonoses research) in the agriculture sector.

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In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Wellcome Trust focused almost all of its development finance on health & well-being and partnerships.

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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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