Clinical Trials Unit core funding call for applications

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Established independent researcher
Research area
Clinical trials
Funding period
5 years
Funding amount
up to £1.8 million per year*
This award provides core operational funding for specialist units for the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials.

This call is open to established CTUs that:

  • Are UK-based
  • Are academically-led
  • Have a demonstrable portfolio of early and/or late phase cancer clinical trials or cancer screening and prevention studies, with a proportion being funded by CRUK
  • Receive some monetary or contribution-in-kind support from their host institution.

Units not currently in receipt of CRUK CTU core funding but in locations that already receive substantive funding towards clinical infrastructure, either through CRUK (e.g. within a CRUK Centre) or other organisations (e.g. NIHR core CTU funding), are able to apply, but should clearly outline how the additional core funding would be distinct from existing funds and how it will add value to the cancer trials activity within the unit. Applicants should also consider how additional CRUK funding would impact eligibility for existing core funding sources.

Only one application per host institution is allowed.

Funding is available for up to 5 years to cover core infrastructure costs. Allowable costs may include:

  • Salaries of operational, technical and clerical staff
  • Running costs and small equipment
  • Data management and regulatory fees
  • Branding, communications, publication costs, research engagement and conference hosting

This funding is not suitable for meeting the costs of individual clinical trials. Explore our other clinical research opportunities to find suitable support for individual trials.

Funding structure

Funding is available in three bands, tailored to CTUs with different sizes and breadths.

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

Up to £600k per year*


Band 2
  • Mid-scale CTUs that meet 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*


Band 3
  • Large-scale CTUs that meet 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*


* maximum by the end of the funding period

How to apply to this scheme

Application process

CTUs looking to apply for CRUK core funding for the first time will have to submit an Expression of Interest application. You must contact the Research Funding Manager to open an application on our electronic Grants Management System (eGMS), and also download an Expression of Interest form (docx). The completed form and CVs of the CTU senior leadership team must be submitted to eGMS.

Expressions of Interest will be assessed by the Office and members of the International Review Panel who will decide whether applicants should be invited to submit a full application.

CTUs already in receipt of CRUK core funding do not need to go through the Expression of Interest stage and only need to submit a full application.

Full applications will be considered by an International Expert Review Panel with expertise in cancer biology, clinical trials, statistics, and the conduct of clinical research in the UK. All applicants submitting a full application will be invited to interview by the Review Panel and expected to make a 30 minute presentation on their application followed by a Panel interview of up to 60 minutes.

Before you begin your application, you should read the application guidelines (PDF).

Download the Expression of Interest form (docx)

Key dates and deadlines

Expressions of Interest open

09 January 2017

Expressions of Interest deadline

3 March 2017

Full applications open

27 March 2017

Full applications submission deadline

28 July 2017

Expert Review Panel meeting, with applicant presentation and interview

2–4 October 2017

Decisions announced

December 2017

Funding begins

1 October 2018

The Panel will consider the applications from each CTU and provide an independent view on how well it is placed to deliver against the CTU network objectives by assessing it on the three pillars set out below, and whether the level of support requested is appropriate to achieve this.

Scientific Excellence

  • Alignment of the unit’s aims with our Clinical Research Statement of Intent
  • Evaluation of the CTU’s current cancer trials portfolio, including those that are biologically-rich or have an innovative trial design
  • Track record and expertise in early and late phase cancer clinical trials
  • How the unit manages their pipeline of trials and how it interacts with the basic science and translational science cancer community.
  • Disease area focus, including in our cancers of unmet need
  • Track record of the senior academic team in cancer clinical trials, including the Director and statistical and clinical leads.

Operational Delivery

  • The way in which new trials are selected, prioritised and developed
  • The way in which trials are launched, with particular respect to the time taken from grant award date to the date the first patient is recruited, and ongoing patient recruitment.
  • The operating standards of the unit, including working practices and compliance with legislation and guidelines, and any related quality badging attained such as registration by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Clinical Trials Units Network.
  • The training and development opportunities for staff including IT managers and trial coordinators, as well as succession planning of senior roles including senior statisticians and the Director.

Value to the Network

  • Alignment against the collective CRUK CTU Network objectives.
  • How the unit interacts with other stakeholders, including other national CTUs and the NCRI Clinical Studies Groups.
  • How the unit influences the clinical trials landscape both nationally and internationally.
  • Contribution of the unit in maintaining a balance in our portfolio of adult and paediatric trials, and population-based studies.

An Expert Review Panel will assess applications and conduct interviews. Details of the membership will be released here when applications open.

For further information or to discuss a potential application to the call:

Dr Rubina AhmedDr Rubina Ahmed

Senior Research Funding Manager

Tel: 020 3469 5392

Our Clinical Trials Units

We currently support the core infrastructure at eight UK Clinical Trials Units.