Research Strategy: 2017 Progress Report

Dr Iain Foulkes

Our organisation has never shied away from taking on the toughest challenges – from protecting future generations from tobacco, to tackling the cancers that are hardest to treat. There is still much to do, but I’m highly encouraged by the progress that we’ve made to date and remain confident that we’re on the right track.

Dr Iain Foulkes
Executive Director, Research and Innovation, CRUK

 

OUR APPROACHES

To achieve our objectives, in our 2014 Research Strategy we outlined the approach that we will take: five specific areas in which we plan to invest and drive new activity. In the three years since we launched the Research Strategy we have focused on delivering new strategic activity, such as the launch of funding schemes, and funding research initiatives in each of these areas.

We have been closely monitoring this activity and tracking short-term ‘input’ measures such as quantitative shifts in spend. In this report, we showcase some of the significant new activity and progress being made.

 

BUILD OUR UNDERSTANDING OF CANCER

Driving progress in understanding the causes and biology of cancer is an essential foundation for our work, and we pledged in our strategy to continue to invest a significant proportion of our overall budget in this area.

We've made substantial progress in developing our core-funded Institutes and in launching new funding schemes to support innovation, multidisciplinary research and cancer immunology.

FACILITATE A MAJOR SHIFT IN EARLY DIAGNOSIS RESEARCH

Historically, investment in the area of early diagnosis has been relatively small, and there is very limited activity from industry due to the high level of investment risk involved and the limited commercial potential.

We're building capacity in early diagnosis research by developing infrastructure, resources, expertise and leadership.

TACKLE CANCERS WITH SUBSTANTIAL UNMET NEED

Thanks to research, cancer survival is at an all-time high. But not all forms of the disease have seen progress. With survival rates that haven’t changed significantly for decades, cancers of the brain, lung, oesophagus and pancreas are notoriously difficult to treat.

We've increased our spending on all four cancers of unmet need, supporting a breadth of new activity.

ACCELERATE THE TRANSLATION OF RESEARCH

Our investment in research will only achieve our objectives if it can be translated into interventions that benefit patients. We support many critical areas of translational research, including drug discovery and development, radiotherapy research, surgery research, imaging and biomarker discovery, development and validation, and we are investing to ensure the UK continues to provide a supportive environment for this research.

DEVELOP THE CANCER RESEARCH LEADERS OF TOMORROW

In order to support cancer research in the long term, we need to continue to build a strong community of highly trained, innovative, world-class cancer researchers.

We've introduced new funding opportunities for early- and mid-career researchers, closed gaps in the funding available for clinical academic career development, and increased our support for researchers at all career stages. 

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