Succeeding in research through Failure…

We are committed to employing unique, interdisciplinary and risky methods to the study of peer review. Our flagship project in partnership with the Wellcome Trust aims to increase the support given to Early Career Researchers through the feedback process of Wellcome grant applications.

Some words from Wellcome…

Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We support researchers, we take on big health challenges, we campaign for better science, and we help everyone get involved with science and health research.

To do all this we have to help build a better research culture – one that is creative, inclusive and honest. Current practices prioritise outputs at almost any cost. This is damaging people’s wellbeing and undermining the quality of research. As one of the largest funders of biomedical research we need to play our part to improve prevailing research culture. Achieving a successful research culture needs collective responsibility and change at all levels. We need everyone in the research system – individuals, institutions and funders – working in step to foster a positive working culture.

Understanding the impact of how we work as funders for example through learning how the feedback we provide is used by researchers will generate important insights.   We are collaborating with Gemma Derrick and her team at Lancaster University to understand:

  • Differences in productivity for successful versus unsuccessful ECR applicants and their teams;
  • how feedback is used by researchers and if feedback on unsuccessful proposals is linked to future success or failure;
  • how excellence is defined for ECRs, and how feedback is structured for successful and unsuccessful candidates. 

We would like to hear from you. How beneficial was the feedback? How has feedback shaped and influenced your future applications?

Help us improve by taking part in our survey through our email invitations. If you have applied to Wellcome as an ECR from 2009, you will be automatically emailed by Wellcome. If you do not hear from Wellcome and would like to take part, please contact us for a link to the survey.

We also have a wider survey that will incorporate funding applications to funding bodies other than Wellcome. If you would like to contribute to this important research please take part in the Research Phoenix survey.

Project Partners

Wellcome is an independent global charitable foundation. Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive.

The Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation is based within the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University in the north of England

Proposal Analytics is a U.S. based benefit corporation dedicated to addressing racial/gender equity in research.