Early Diagnosis Innovation Grants

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Early career researcher
Established independent researcher
Health professional
Mid-career researcher
Non-clinical researcher
Post doc
Research area
Early diagnosis
Behavioural research
Policy research
Funding period
12 months from a few months after the 3 day workshop
Funding amount
Early Diagnosis Innovation Grants aim to catalyse new multidisciplinary collaborations & develop innovative research via 3 day sandpit workshops



  If you would like to keep up to date with early diagnosis opportunities please email earlydiagnosis@cancer.org.uk to sign up to our newsletter.


Applications are welcome from a wide range of disciplines, including those from private, public and third sector organisations and community groups.

Applicants must be:

  • Creative, open-minded, and able to work effectively as part of a team
  • Willing to engage with policymakers, community organisations, government agencies, businesses and other key stakeholders
  • Based in the UK

Selection criteria will include:

  • The potential to work in trans-disciplinary environments
  • The potential to develop innovative and adventurous approaches to research
  • The ability to work collaboratively with others
  • The ability to communicate and engage with diverse non-academic stakeholders throughout the research process
  • Relevant research expertise and experience

We particularly welcome applications from early- and mid-career researchers from research organisations and from people representing organisations (large or small) that will contribute new expertise and new thinking for early diagnosis.

We regret that, on this occasion, PhD students are not eligible.

Your proposal must fit the remit of the early diagnosis workshop. Please read the harnessing technology to detect cancer earlier call specification (PDF).

Please note that this workshop and the grants arising from it are supporting by the NAEDI funding partners: Cancer Research UK; Department of Health, England; Economic and Social Research Council; Health & Social Care R&D  Division, Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland; National Institute for Social Care and Health Research Wales; Scottish Government.

Funding decisions will be made at the workshop by the workshop director, subject guides and people affected by cancer.

How to apply to this scheme


If you would like to keep up to date with early diagnosis opportunities please email earlydiagnosis@cancer.org.uk to sign up to our newsletter.

In gerneral, workshops will take place twice a year, with each workshop having a specific theme and specification document.

Before making your application:

  • You must read the "specification document" relevant to the particular workshop
  • First early diagnosis workshop was held in December 2015 - please see an example of a specification document: harnessing technology to detect cancer earlier.
  • You must obtain the approval of your host organisation/employer/board/shareholder(s) (as appropriate), to ensure that your organisation is willing and able to engage in a collaborative project.

Overview of an example application process

The application process has 5 stages:

  1. Submit a short application via email to Anna Lawrence-Jones (PRC@cancer.org.uk) using this application form - deadline tbc.
  2. Your application will be reviewed by CRUK and successful candidates will be notified by email a few months before the workshop.
  3. If your application is successful you will be invited to attend a 3 day workshop - date tbc.
  4. Funding decisions will be made on the final day of the workshop by the workshop director and subject guides, and people affected by cancer, to support the subsequent development of the feasibility studies. All costs must be justified
  5. The principal investigator (PI) for each successful study team will have a month to submit a written version of their feasibility study proposal through eGMS that outlines their group’s intended activities as presented at the sandpit with detailed costing.

Further guidance on the post-award processes will be made available to successful applicants after the sandpit event.

Cancer Research UK contact details

You are encouraged to discuss your proposal with the funding manager before starting your application

Dr Abby Woodfin
Research Funding Manager

Email: prc@cancer.org.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3469 8668



What to expect from a sandpit workshop

Our Innovation Grants are funded during 3-day workshops which enable applicants to explore issues in early diagnosis, innovate by developing new ideas in multidisciplinary groups, and create project proposals to pitch to the funding panel.