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Burroughs Wellcome Fund


Last Updated: 2016-06-06

At A Glance

Burroughs Wellcome Fund

21 T. W. Alexander Dr., P.O. Box 13901

Research Triangle Park, NC United States 27709-3901

Telephone: (919) 991-5100


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-08-31)

Assets: $783,181,550

Total giving: $28,542,172





Additional Contact Information

Contact info. for Russ Campbell III tel.: (919) 991-5119; fax: (919) 991-5179, e-mail:


Incorporated in 1955 in NY - Silas Burroughs and Henry Wellcome, American pharmacists, recognized that the introduction of "compressed" medicines-pills-in America offered great opportunity for expansion and success abroad. The two men formed their partnership in London in 1880, and their enterprise--known as Burroughs Wellcome and Co.--prospered. After Silas Burroughs died in 1895, Henry Wellcome directed the growth of the company into an international network. He also established the industry's first research laboratories In 1924, Wellcome consolidated all of the company's holdings, both in England and abroad, under a corporate umbrella that he named the Wellcome Foundation Ltd. When he died in 1936, his will called for vesting all of the corporate shares in a new entity--the Wellcome Trust. The trust's charge was to devote all of its income to research in medicine and allied sciences and to the maintenance of research museums and libraries dedicated to these fields In 1955, Sir Henry Dale, one of the trust's original trustees and its chair. for 21 years, and William N. Creasy, president and chair. of Burroughs Wellcome Co.-USA, envisioned a U.S. extension, and so was born the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, which would be supported by the U.S. company. Both men saw the fund as a natural extension of Henry Wellcome's will and its intent, as well as an acknowledgment of his native land and the great success of the American branch of the Wellcome enterprise. In 1993, BWF received from the Wellcome Trust a $400 million gift that altered the fund's very nature. The gift enabled the fund to become a completely independent foundation, with no direct ties to its founding company.

Purpose and Activities

The fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the medical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. Within this broad mission the Fund has two primary goals: 1) To help scientists early in their careers develop as independent investigators and 2) To advance fields in the basic biomedical sciences that are undervalued or in need of particular encouragement. The fund makes grants primarily to degree-granting institutions on behalf of individual researchers, who must be nominated by their institutions.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Career Awards at the Scientific Interface

These awards provide $500,000 over five years to bridge advanced postdoctoral training and the first three years of faculty service. They are intended to foster the early career development of researchers who have transitioned or are transitioning from undergraduate and/or graduate work in the physical/mathematical/computational sciences or engineering into postdoctoral work in the biological sciences, and who are dedicated to pursuing a career in academic research. They are open to U.S. and Canadian citizens or permanent residents as well as to U.S. temporary residents. Proposal deadline: Sept. 1, 2014. See fund web site for application process.

Career Awards for Medical Scientists

The Career Awards for Medical Scientists program provides $700,000 awards over five years for physician-scientists, who are committed to an academic career, to bridge advanced postdoctoral/fellowship training and the early years of faculty service. Proposals must be in the area of basic biomedical, disease-oriented, or translational research. Proposals in health services research or involving large-scale clinical trials are not eligible. Beginning in the 2014 award cycle, BWF will make up to two additional awards to clinically trained psychiatrists who focus on research at the interface between neuroscience and psychiatry. These proposals must clearly demonstrate evidence of integration of neuroscience and psychiatry in project design. Application deadline: Oct. 1, 2014. See fund web site for application process.

Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers

The Career Award for Science and Mathematics teachers (CASM) is a five-year award available to outstanding science or mathematics teachers in the North Carolina public primary and secondary schools. The purpose of this award is to recognize teachers who have demonstrated solid knowledge of science or mathematics content and have outstanding performance records in educating children. This five-year award presents opportunities for professional development and collaboration with other master science or mathematics teachers who will help to ensure their success as teachers and their satisfaction with the field of teaching. Special consideration will be given to teachers working in hard to staff, economically deprived classrooms in North Carolina. The award also offers schools and school districts the opportunity to fully develop teachers as leaders in the field. CASM provides $175,000 over a period of five years ($35,000 per year). BWF will support 12 awards with annual installments for: Teacher Salary: $10,000 stipend will be provided to supplement the teacher's annual salary or for fringe benefits, such as retirement or insurance and $5,000 will be held annually by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to be given to the teacher at the end of the five-year award, if the teaching professional remains in the K-12 classroom in a North Carolina public school; School or School District: $10,000 may be used to purchase needed equipment and supplies for that teacher's classroom or laboratory or be shared with the teacher's school or school district; and Professional Development: $10,000 may will be provided for professional development activities, travel and registration to meetings or conferences, hiring substitutes, networking with colleagues, and capacity building for the teacher or may be designated by the teacher to support a team of teachers. Questions regarding candidate or institutional eligibility should be directed in advance to Melanie Scott, Sr. Program Associate, tel.: (919) 991-5107.

Career Guidance for Trainees

The program provides up to $250,000 over a one-year period to support demonstration projects that will model affordable approaches to improving trainees’ readiness for stable, fulfilling careers, whether by clarifying and improving their basic “Ph.D.-level” skills, by helping them identify how they can best use their skills and interests to serve the needs of potential employers, by providing them approaches to thinking through their career options, or by other strategies. It is anticipated that the average project budget will be $30,000, not to exceed $50,000 per award. See fund web site for application process.

Collaborative Research Travel Grants

The Collaborative Research Travel Grant (CRTG) program provides up to $15,000 in support for researchers from degree-granting institutions to travel either domestically or internationally to a laboratory to acquire a new research technique or to facilitate a collaboration. This program provides travel grants that can be used both internationally and domestically to acquire new research techniques, and to promote collaborations. Postdoctoral fellows or faculty at degree-granting institutions in the U.S. or Canada are eligible to apply. Applicants must hold a Ph.D. in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, statistics, or engineering at the time of application and must submit proposals in the biomedical sciences. See fund web site for application process.

Innovation in Regulatory Science

These awards provide up to $500,000 over five years to academic investigators developing new methodologies or innovative approaches in regulatory science that will ultimately inform the regulatory decisions the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and others make. These awards are open to U.S. and Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have a faculty or adjunct faculty appointment at a North American degree-granting institution. Awards are made to degree-granting institutions in the U.S. or Canada on behalf of the awardee. The application process consists of two phases: a preproposal followed by a full proposal invitation.Preproposals selected by the Advisory Committee deemed to meet the goals of this initiative will be invited to submit full proposals. See fund web site for application process.

Institutional Program Unifying Population and Laboratory Based Services

These awards will provide $500,000 to bridge the gap between the population and computational sciences and the laboratory-based biological sciences. The award supports the training of researchers between existing concentrations of research strength in population approaches to human health and in basic biomedical sciences.The goal is to establish training programs by partnering researchers working in schools of medicine and schools (or academic divisions) of public health.The programs supported by these awards will develop young researchers who will be equally at home with the ideas, approaches, and insights generated at the molecular scale and at the population scale. Applicants will submit a preproposal and from those the advisory committee will select those invited to submit full proposals.

Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases

This award provides $500,000 over a period of five years to support accomplished investigators at the assistant professor level to study pathogenesis, with a focus on the interplay between human and microbial biology, shedding light on how human and microbial systems are affected by their encounters. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for accomplished investigators still early in their careers to study what happens at the points where human and microbial systems connect. Applicants are encouraged to contact the program officer directly about their planned proposal, their competitiveness for the award, or other questions. Program Off.: Victoria McGovern, Ph.D., e-mail:, tel.: (919) 991-5112. Application deadline: Nov. 3, 2014. See fund web site for application process.

Postdoctoral Enrichment Program

The Postdoctoral Enrichment Program (PDEP) provides a total of $50,000 over three years to support the career development activities for underrepresented minority postdoctoral fellows in a degree-granting institution (or its affiliated graduate and medical schools, hospitals and research institutions) in the United States or Canada whose training and professional development are guided by mentors committed to helping them advance to stellar careers in biomedical or medical research. See fund web site for application process.

Preterm Birth Initiative

The Preterm Birth Initiative was created to increase the understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying parturition and spontaneous preterm birth and will provide up to $600,000 over a four-year period ($150,000 per year). The initiative is designed to bring together a diverse interdisciplinary group with expertise in genetics/genomics, immunology, microbiology and proteomics along with the more traditional areas of parturition research such as maternal fetal medicine, obstetrics, and pediatrics to address scientific issues related to preterm birth. See fund web site for application process.

Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics

The fund supports teaching professionals in their efforts to provide quality hands-on, inquiry-based activities for their students. This award provides up to $3,000 for one year to cover the cost of equipment, materials, and supplies. An additional $1,500 may be requested for professional development related to the implementation of new equipment or use of materials in the classroom. Awards are made to teaching professionals that hold a professional educator's license to teach in a North Carolina K-12 public school. See fund web site for application process.

Student Science Enrichment Program

The Student Science Enrichment Program (SSEP) supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate increative, hands-on scientific activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in BWF's home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three (3) years.The awards support career-oriented and practical programs intended to provide creative science enrichment activities for students in K-12 education who have shown exceptional skills and interest in science and mathematics, as well as those perceived to have high potential. See fund web site for application process.

Fields of Interest

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedicine
  • Diseases and conditions
  • Education
  • Genetic research
  • Health
  • Medical specialties
  • Molecular biology
International Interests
  • Canada
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-08-31

Assets: $783,181,550 (market value)

Expenditures: $38,305,371

Total giving: $28,542,172

Qualifying distributions: $33,730,641

Giving activities include:

$28,542,172 for 699 grants (high: $402,000; low: $1,000)