Wellcome R&D Award

A box with a solar panel on either side within some grass and weeds.
Aidan Moesby's 'Between Stillness and Storm'. Photo by Aidan Moesby.

This year’s Unlimited funding round, which is currently open for applications to Research and Development Awards, also includes an award supported by biomedical research charity Wellcome Trust. Unlimited Project Manager Clara Giraud and Saphia Bishop, Arts Partnership Manager at Wellcome Trust discuss the ins and outs of this new opportunity.

 What exactly is Unlimited’s Wellcome-supported Research and Development award?

The Main Research & Development Awards (R&D) strand is an open award to fund initial research and development for a new creative idea, without a clear production outcome. Established artists can apply for up to £10,000 towards costs of investigating a new idea or area of interest, and explore the potential for these to develop into a finished piece in the future.

Unlimited will be funding several Main R&D awards, one of which is supported by Wellcome, and is specifically for a project that engages with art, health and science research. This award will seek proposals offering innovative and exciting ways health-related science research is explored in the creative process, encouraging inventive and unlikely collaborations that can offer different perspectives to both an artist’s practice and the work of researchers.

Do projects have to include a bio-medical researcher to be considered for the Wellcome-supported award?

 No, you do not have to include a named researcher at this point and you do not specifically have to work with bio-medical researcher. Whilst projects for the Wellcome-supported award should demonstrate the potentials for a partnership in some form with a researcher or clinician (this can be from the health, biomedical or science fields), Wellcome are keen to encourage work that offer new opinions and approaches to research areas. So, these collaborations can be broader in their scope.

Examples that may be relevant for the Wellcome-supported award could be initial conversations, or details of an organisation, researcher, or clinician you are intending to approach, and how these partners will be involved in the development of the idea. Wellcome are particularly interested in proposals that value the input and perspectives of all partners. Where Wellcome feel an idea is strong but needs more input from a health or research partner, Wellcome may be able to help with building relationships with appropriate researchers / clinicians too.

How did this Unlimited & Wellcome partnership come about?

Over the last few years, Unlimited has noticed that a large amount of artists’ project proposals received through our open-call tackle themes of health-related research. These themes being central to the work supported by Wellcome, this sparked a dialogue of how we could work together to support disabled artists better. A key aim of this partnership is to encourage a wider engagement from disabled artists and disability-led arts organisations in science and health. Wellcome and Unlimited hope this unique award will support innovative and exciting ways that medical and science research is explored by disabled artists.

How does one apply to the Wellcome-supported award?

The process for all Main R&D awards is the same, with the same application form. You can read all about how to apply here. If you are an established artist, feel free to apply to the Main R&D Award with your idea, and if it fits the Wellcome criteria as well as the Unlimited criteria detailed in the guidance, then please tick the box in the application form to be considered for the Wellcome-supported Award.

Any questions about the grant and application process, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions, or get in touch at info@weareunlimited.org.uk

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