Sanger Excellence Fellowship

The Wellcome Sanger Institute, in partnership with Wellcome Connecting Science, offers a three-year Fellowship aimed at people from Black heritage backgrounds.

Please Note: Applications for the 2022 Fellowship are now closed.

Background about the Fellowship

We are keen to enable Black early career researchers to develop their portfolio of research experience and thrive in the field of UK genomics science. The new Fellowship is designed to attract research excellence and we will provide the Fellows with training, mentorship and support to drive their careers forward and to support a more diverse pipeline of future talent.

Our Fellowship has been developed in close collaboration with internal and external experts, including senior Black academics and Black-led community groups, who have helped shape the overall approach.

Mentorship, training and sponsorship is built into the heart for the programme and all candidates, including those who are unsuccessful, will receive feedback and have the opportunity to be mentored and receive career development support.

Advisory Group

This Fellowship has been created by drawing on the knowledge and experience of our Advisory Group and we are grateful for their ongoing support and guidance. Our Advisory Group will help guide the process and further development of our new Fellowship as we seek to continuously learn and improve on our processes and to widen the Fellowship’s impact.


  • Dr David Adams, Senior Faculty, Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • Dr Saher Ahmed, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Wellcome Sanger Institute (Chair)
  • Tomi Akingbade, founder of the Black Women in Science Network
  • Prof Jason Arday, Professor of Sociology, University of Glasgow
  • Dr Maria Augusta Arruda, Head of Researcher Development, University of Nottingham
  • Dr Paula Bailey, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, EPSRC
  • Dr Diego Baptista, Head of Research and Funding Equity, Wellcome Trust
  • Prof Dawn Edge, Professor Mental Health and Inclusivity, University of Manchester
  • Anette Grindsted, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • Dr Esther Mukuka, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, NIHR
  • Prof Rachel Oliver, Professor of Material Science, University of Cambridge and leader of The Inclusion Group for Equity in Research in STEMM (TIGERS in STEMM)
  • Dame Cilla Snowball, GRL Board, Member of Wellcome Board of Governors
  • Prof Nicholas Thomson, Senior Faculty, Wellcome Sanger Institute

The Fellowship sits alongside our broader equality, diversity and inclusion activities that aim to ensure excellence, regardless of background, can be supported and nurtured at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and across the Wellcome Genome Campus.

About the Fellowship


This Fellowship is aimed at early career researchers and the general requirements are an Undergraduate degree and PhD awarded from institutions from within the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (the common travel area). We pride ourselves in offering a first-class and well-resourced exceptional learning environment and our Postdoctoral Fellowship Development Programme provides a comprehensive training experience designed to equip individuals with the knowledge, training and skills they require to be successful in their future careers – whatever they may do.

This particular scheme is open to people who self-identify as being from a Black heritage background, including a mixed race background. For example, Black African; Black Caribbean; Black Other; Mixed background (to include Black African, Black Caribbean or other Black backgrounds).


The Fellows are part of our Postdoctoral Fellowship programme and are paid in line with this pay scale (£33,272 – £41,709 in 2022), dependent on skills and experience. The Sanger Excellence Fellowship also includes research consumables of up to £18,000 per annum, dependent on the nature of the project and a budget of £1,500 per annum for the Fellow to attend conferences and training.

Start date

There is flexibility with the start date, but Fellows should be able to start by end of December 2022. The Fellowship runs for three years and can be worked full-time, part-time or flexibly.


For further information, please contact:

The aim of the Fellowship

Our Race Equity strategy is supported by our holistic People from Black backgrounds are under-represented in Higher Education and in the Biological Sciences, compared to the wider UK population. We recognise that persistent racial inequalities disadvantage people from Black backgrounds in all walks of life, including academia and this is propagated along the academic pipeline. We have extensively examined our staff data and this pattern is reflected within our own demography. Therefore, we have designed this particular programme to support bringing in excellence that may otherwise be lost to science and stimulating and catalysing change along the academic pipeline.

Our Race Equity strategy is supported by our holistic Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy, which aims to ensure that we draw on as wide a pool of talent as possible. Scientific excellence is strengthened by the diversity of skills, knowledge and experience and we are committed to fostering an inclusive culture where all our staff and students are welcomed, feel that they belong and can thrive. Our activities include focussed interventions on all aspects of equity and inclusion.

Meet some of our Postdocs currently working at Wellcome Sanger Institute in the first video clip [right].

In the second video clip [right] Cordell Charles, Junior Software Developer at Sanger Institute, talks to Tobi Ogundipe from Diverse Hires about the benefits of relocating for your next Career opportunity and living in Cambridge.

Application process

Expression of Interest – Now closed

We asked candidates to express their interest via an online form, where we asked for information about:

  • Why this Fellowship was important to the candidate, and how this will help them to achieve their professional aims
  • What area(s) of research interested them, as well as how these interests intersected with Wellcome Sanger Institute’s/Wellcome Connecting Science’s areas of research (up to three from the areas of Science below and/or their interests that may span these research areas). For candidates who were not sure which programme area to apply to, we enabled candidates to indicate this in their expression of interest and we discussed options with them during our call.

We also offered informal discussions about the application process and what support we could provide to help with the next stages of the process. Requests for informal discussions, and the content of the calls, did not affect or influence any subsequent decision-making processes.

Guidance was also available on, but not limited to the following:

  • Relocation
  • Accommodation
  • Family and Dependents
  • The first day at Sanger/Connecting Science

Please see the attached Sanger Excellence Additional Information for further information on the process.

We also regularly updated this Q&A document with answers to questions received from candidates.

28 February 2022 – Application deadline – Now passed

All eligible candidates were sent an application form. The deadline for returning it has now passed (28 February) and we reviewing all submitted applications and will contact shortlisted candidates over March-April 2022 (see below).

March – April 2022 – Shortlisted candidates will be invited to work with Wellcome Sanger Institute or Wellcome Connecting Science research lead on their project proposal

April-May 2022 – Interviews

The shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview with Wellcome Sanger Institute and Wellcome Connecting Science staff. Candidates will be asked to give a presentation and answer questions on their previous research and the developed project proposal (via Zoom). This will be followed by a Q&A-style competency-based interview with the panel.

All candidates, including those unsuccessful at this stage, will receive feedback and will have the opportunity to receive mentorship and support from members of the Advisory or Steering Group. Unsuccessful candidates will also be supported to apply again.

September – December 2022 – Start of Fellowship

Programme areas

Wellcome Sanger Institute research areas

Please have a look at the Institute’s research programmes below to learn more about what we do and how our research activities fit with your area of research interest.


Wellcome Connecting Science – Engagement and Society

Wellcome Connecting Science’s mission is to enable everyone to explore genomic science and its impact on research, health and society. The work across Engagement and Society uses social science research and engagement methods to investigate the impact of genomics on people and communities. Connecting Science research is particularly interested in public attitudes, and areas such as data, gene editing, and equity in research.As part of the Sanger Fellowship scheme, Wellcome Connecting Science invites applications from social science researchers interested in exploring the societal impact of genomics and/or how publics engage with genomics. Find out more about the Society and Ethics research activities here or by downloading an Overview of Outputs: 2016-2022.
Find out more about Wellcome Connecting Science here.

Additional Information

For more information about the process, please download our Sanger Excellence Additional Information_2021 PDF document or watch our video.