Set up in the United Kingdom in 1936, the Wellcome Trust has grown into a global charitable foundation. It supports research that addresses fundamental health challenges of our time, across discovery science, medical innovation, and the humanities and social sciences. Currently the funding supports over 14,000 people in more than 70 countries. Grant funding is usually channeled through universities or similar institutions which take responsibility for grant administration for individual academic researchers with only a limited number of small-scale awards being made directly to individuals.
The organization also funds work on the Wellcome Genome Campus where its own research centre, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, is based, channeling support through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Genome Research Limited.
The scale of Wellcome’s charitable activities has grown over recent years. In September 2017, the value of its endowment was 23.2 billion British pounds (26.3 billion Euro). In 2016/17 charitable expenditure of the Wellcome Trust was 1.134 billion British pounds (1.287 billion Euro). The plan is to spend up to 5 billion British pounds in the next five years.
The Wellcome Trust develops leaders, advocates policy change and helps to engage the public with research. In March 2017, the Wellcome Trust published five broad goals for its engagement with policymakers in the UK and around the world: champion and support research through changing times , ensure the world is prepared for the next epidemic, advance the global response to drug-resistant infections, harness the creativity of innovators to deliver health impact, push research and development for health up the global political agenda.