Costs guidance for Clinical Trials Unit core funding

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Funding structure for awards

Funding requests should be made at one of three levels based on broadly on the size of the cancer trials portfolio and the scale of the unit. There will be a maximum amount of funding that can be requested in each level, and it is recommended that applicants discuss which band they propose applying to with the Office at an early stage. This approach will ensure a more transparent process in which the quality benchmark will be consistent, but CTUs will be assessed in comparison to units of a similar size and ambition. The funding levels will be:

Band 1
  • Smaller scale CTUs or new applicants
  • Have capacity in 1 or 2 of our strategic priorities
  • Proven quality

Up to £600k per year by the end of the funding period


Band 2
  • Mid-scale CTUs that meet all the criteria for Band 1
  • Provide an excellent environment for translation into the clinic
  • Specific expertise and leadership aligned to our strategic priorities

Up to £1.2m per year by the end of the funding period


Band 3
  • Large-scale CTUs that meet all the criteria for Band 1 and 2
  • High trial volume
  • Key national and international trials
  • Clinical breadth and depth
  • Leadership role across the CTU network

Up to £1.8m per year by the end of the funding period


We expect that CTUs not currently in receipt of CRUK core funding would apply for Band 1 funding, and would structure this such that the annual amount of funding increases over the funding period in a phased way reflecting the period of time it will take to establish and develop the cancer trials portfolio. New units may seek a higher level of funding if they are able to demonstrate their competitiveness for this scale of funding.

Allowable costs

The funds are to provide a core infrastructure which provides stability and continuity to a CTU to enable it to develop and deliver clinical trials in an efficient way, and to build a base of expertise that benefits the trials run through the CTU as well as other CTUs through shared knowledge. Costs for individual clinical trials should be met from trial grants.  

Costs that are allowed:

  • Salaries for staff including Centre/Operations Managers, Trial Managers and Co-ordinators, Statisticians, Data and IT Managers, Quality Assurance Managers, Clerical/Administrative staff and other roles with an appropriate justification
  • Running costs including general office and administration costs
  • Data management costs
  • Regulatory licences/fees
  • Small pieces of equipment (up to £5k per item) and access to core resources/equipment
  • Conference hosting and invited speakers, and costs for networking including travel and subsistence
  • Research engagement costs
  • Branding and communications
  • Publication costs (excluding open access charges)
  • Learning and development funds

Costs that may be allowed with sufficient justification:

  • CTUs may use some core funds for follow-up of patients to reach any secondary endpoints that extend beyond the duration of the trial, but costs should be proportionate to the size of the CRUK trials portfolio within the unit, and should not duplicate costs covered by individual trial grants.
  • Costs for research software, and associated maintenance costs, will only be considered where strong justification is provided. Units will need to demonstrate that the chosen system offers the best value for money for CRUK and that these costs cannot be met from other avenues, such as the host organisation.
  • Other types of costs will be considered on a case-by-case basis following discussion with the Office and with sufficient justification.

Costs that are not allowed:

  • CRUK core funds cannot be used to support the salary of the CTU Director, either wholly or in part. The salary of the Director should be fully met by the host institution, NHS Trust or other funding body as part of the local commitment to the unit.
  • The cost for follow-up of patients to the primary endpoint and follow-up on other endpoints falling within the trial grant period should be met through the trial grant.
  • Costs for insurance or drug distribution.

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