Strategy and Funding

The Sanger Institute’s mission is to use information from genome sequences to advance understanding of biology and improve health.


Our science has three main goals:

  • To provide new insights into the biology of humans and other organisms.
  • To better understand the causes and progression of human disease. To provide the scientific basis for improving disease prevention and management.
  • To elucidate the evolutionary tree of life and to advance the scientific knowledge base used to manage the living environment. To further the knowledge base for synthetic genomics.

We have three major experimental approaches:

  • Analysis of DNA sequence differences between individual genomes of the same species. The sequence variation studied will be naturally occurring and engineered, inherited and somatically acquired and include differences between the genomes of individual humans, of individual isolates of disease-causing microbes or their vectors, and of individual cells. These studies will provide insights into the causal roles of genes in healthy and disease traits, into the histories of humans, microbes and cells and into the causes of sequence variation.
  • Analysis of gene expression and epigenomic features of the genome at the single cell level to discover and classify cell types in health and disease and to understand their developmental and functional relationships.
  • Analysis of reference genomes across the tree of life to understand evolution, provide insights into gene function and to generate resources for synthetic biology and monitoring the living environment.

These approaches depend on several core technologies. We substantially invest in these, proactively conducting research and development to be at the leading edge of implementation, and to deliver large-scale science:

  • Nucleic acid sequencing
  • Mutagenesis
  • Cell culture
  • Microscopic and spatial imaging of nucleic acid profiles of cells in tissues
  • Computational data analysis.

Our research is organised into Programmes:

We strongly champion open release of data, including resources, protocols, materials and publications we produce.

Through open engagement and collaboration with the world-wide scientific community, the Sanger Institute empowers genome research across the globe.

Genome Research Limited

The Institute and the wider Wellcome Genome Campus operate under the name of Genome Research Limited (GRL). GRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wellcome. GRL’s mission is to maximise the societal benefit of knowledge obtained from genome sequences. There are three main parts of this mission:

  • Research: Advancing understanding of biology using genome sequences and other types of large-scale biological data.
  • Innovation: Applying genome science for human health and other societal benefits.
  • Learning and Engagement: Fostering knowledge exchange and discussion of the scientific, medical and wider implications of genomes.

Over the coming years, the Wellcome Genome Campus will be developed into the international centre for scientific, business, cultural and educational activities arising from genomes and biological data.

Please view or download the GRL Strategic Overview submission for 2021-2026:


The Sanger Institute is supported by a recurrent quinquennial core grant from the Wellcome.

In addition to the core funding from the Wellcome, the Sanger Institute is supported by a number of external grants from funders including UK Research Councils, charities, the EU and NIH.

Annual Financial Statements

View or download Genome Research Limited’s annual financial reports: