Strategy and funding

Our objective is to produce research findings and resources that will transform discovery in biomedicine.

We seek to be the world-leading centre for the analysis of genomes through large-scale sequencing and biology, in order to determine gene function in health and disease. Our Strategic Plan, published in 2006, is supported by funding primarily from the Wellcome Trust and was comprehensively peer reviewed.


How is Institute research funded?

The Sanger Institute, formerly the Sanger Centre, was established using funds provided by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. Today, the Institute is funded primarily by the Wellcome Trust, which contributes around 85 per cent of our funding. Individual research projects often receive research grants from third-party funding agencies.

We contribute to several major programmes that have been awarded third-party funding. Examples include ENCODE (the ENcyclopaedia Of DNA Elements) and KOMP (the Knock Out Mouse Project), which receive funding from the US National Institutes of Health and the European Union-funded EUCOMM (the European Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis Program).

Funding from the Wellcome Trust is reviewed every five years. In 2006, the Wellcome Trust awarded £334 million to the Institute. We receive approximately £68 million in funding from the Wellcome Trust each year.

What is the Wellcome Trust?

The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK, and the largest biomedical research charity in Europe. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending more than £600 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing.


Scientific Strategy

As one of the world’s premier research institutes, our scientific strategy identifies genetics as the area in which we can make the greatest – and a unique – contribution. We concentrate on global studies of natural genetic variation in humans and pathogens, and experimental variation of genome sequence in the model organisms, mouse and zebrafish, as well as in pathogens.

How is our research reviewed?

The Institute has a demanding cycle of review for its Faculty members and for the major resource areas. The work of each Faculty member is reviewed annually as part of an internal process and our overarching areas of research are reviewed every two or three years.

The Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board examines reports on research outcomes and strategy at their annual meetings. In addition, Genome Research Limited, the Institute’s governing body, receives reports on Institute research from the Director at their quarterly meetings.

The Wellcome Trust provides 85% of our funding. The Wellcome Trust dedicates over £600 million a year to scientific research.

The Wellcome Trust awards the Sanger Institute a grant for up to a five-year period. As part of the review process for each application, the Institute’s research proposals are examined by a broad international committee of expert reviewers. The review includes site visits. The Institute’s proposals and the reviewers’ comments are assessed by the Wellcome Trust.

The Sanger Institute makes a presentation to the Governors of the Wellcome Trust highlighting a different aspect of the Sanger science each year.

Several of our larger programmes of science have their own scientific advisory boards. These boards provide an external perspective and expert advice to the strategy and direction of these programmes.

Corporate strategy

A dynamic strategy for Corporate Services is essential to ensure that the appropriate support is provided to enable our research to flourish. Our corporate strategy has developed over the years as we have grown, as our scientific portfolio has changed, and to anticipate future demands. It is reviewed at regular intervals.

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