Who can apply?
We welcome applications from individuals and teams, from any discipline, regardless of background or vocation. You don't need an outstanding track record or vast quantities of evidence to back you up (although any you do have will be taken into account) – we're interested in your idea's potential.
How to apply
It's easy to apply! Start with a two page proposal to summarise your idea, then our world-class committee will judge your idea anonymously. The committee is extremely diverse and represents innovation and entrepreneurship from a broad range of disciplines. If your idea impresses them, you'll be invited to pitch.
Before you apply, you can find out more about how to apply in our scheme guidelines:
The deadline – 24 April 2017
For your transformative idea to be considered in the next funding round of the Pioneer Award, submit your brief proposal online by 24 April 2017. If you're successful, you'll be invited to pitch to the committee in June 2017.
Find out more about what we will and won’t fund.
Recently funded research
Discover more about the types of research projects that we're looking for in these videos from three of our recently funded researchers.
The Pioneer Award Committee
Professor Greg Hannon
Group leader, CRUK Cambridge Institute
Organisation: CRUK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge
Discipline: Molecular cancer biology
Expertise: RNAi, cancer, non-coding RNAs
Professor Greg Hannon chairs the Pioneer Award Committee. His lab recently relocated to the CRUK Cambridge Institute after more than 20 years at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Greg’s extensive experience and pioneering work in cancer research (he works on RNA interference, a process that controls how genes are switched on or off) means he is ideally placed to lead the Committee as they seek out novel ideas that could break ground in tackling cancer. He has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and he was awarded a MERIT Award from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
Dr Ian George
Chief Scientific Officer, New Wave Ventures
Organisation: New Wave Ventures
Discipline: Venture Capital, Diagnostics and therapeutic devices
Expertise: Early stage healthcare companies and technology commercialisation
Dr Ian George is vice-chair of the Pioneer Award Committee. He is Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of New Wave Ventures, a privately owned venture capital that invests in companies with development potential. Ian brings extensive experience in the development of early stage biotech companies and technology commercialisation, helping the Committee identify paradigm-shifting ideas and emerging approaches to cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Sergio Quezada
Group leader, UCL Cancer Institute
Title: Group leader of the Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Group
Discipline: Cancer immunology
Expertise: Immune regulation and tumour immunotherapy
Dr Sergio Quezada is head of the immune regulation and tumour immunotherapy group at the University College London (UCL) Cancer Institute. Sergio’s group focuses on understanding the role of the body’s immune system in cancer, a promising area of research, offering fertile ground for further work and inspiration for new approaches to diagnostics and treatment.
Sergio has been awarded the John W. Strohbern Medal for excellence in biomedical research and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI-New York) investigator Award.
Dr Chris Bakal
Group leader, The Institute of Cancer Research
Title: Group leader of the Dynamical Cell Systems Team
Discipline: Cancer biology
Expertise: Cell systems, morphology, dynamic cell systems
Dr Chris Bakal is group leader of the Dynamical Cell Systems Team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, which is funded by a CRUK Programme Foundation Award. His team carries out groundbreaking research into understanding the way cancer cells change shape and spread throughout the body. He has consolidated his extensive knowledge of basic cell biology and communication systems, integrating computational technologies to provide a holistic and system-level understanding of cancer. His approach reflects the sort of multidisciplinary activity that the Pioneer Award hopes to attract.
Dr Danae Manika
Lecturer in Marketing, QMUL
Organisation: School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London
Discipline: Behavioural Science
Expertise: Consumer behaviour/psychology, advertising, healthcare marketing
Dr Danae Manika is a Lecturer in Marketing at School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London. Danae brings to the Committee expertise in consumer psychology, health marketing communications and advertising. Her interest in tackling health and environmental issues from a behaviour change and communications perspective will help the Committee recognise innovative ideas in population research.
Dr Ultan McDermott
Group leader, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Organisation: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute/Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge
Discipline: Clinician, cancer genomics
Expertise: Personalised cancer medicine, cancer genomics, computational biology
Dr Ultan McDermott is a Group Leader in the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and a medical oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Ultan has a lifelong interest in exploring the complexities of how and why some people with cancer don’t respond to specific drugs – in particular carrying out genetic screens in different cancers to explore routes for developing personalised medicines. His clinical experience provides the Committee with critical understanding of experimental design with a patient-focus.
Dr Helen Lee
Director of Research, University of Cambridge Diagnostic Development Unit
Organisation: University of Cambridge/Diagnostics for the Real World Ltd
Expertise: Industry, diagnostics, technology development
Dr Helen Lee is Director of Research at the Diagnostic Development Unit (DDU) in the Department of Haematology, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge. She is also the President and CEO of its spin-off company Diagnostics for the Real World Ltd, a company that commercialise diagnostic assays for resource-limited settings based on technology developed at DDU. Helen and her group have developed a number of high-performance, simple, robust diagnostic tools and she will guide the Committee in recognising applications with the same potential and interest.
Co-Founder and President, Owlstone Nanotech
Organisation: Owlstone Nanotech
Expertise: Industry, development and application of detection (nano-) technology, medical devices
Mr Billy Boyle is Co-Founder and President at Owlstone Nanotech, a company that develops microchip sensors that can be programmed to detect chemicals at very low quantities. One of Owlstone’s projects was the lung cancer indicator detection (LuCID), which is a breathalyser to diagnose lung cancer. Billy has experience in business development and the creation and realisation of new technologies and Intellectual Property (IP).
Professor Jim Norman
Senior group leader, CRUK Beatson Institute
Organisation: CRUK Beatson Institute
Discipline: Cancer cell biology
Expertise: Integrin cell biology, invasion, metastasis
Professor Jim Norman is a senior group leader of the Integrin Cell Biology team at the CRUK Beatson Institute. Jim’s research focuses on a group of adhesion receptors that control the growth, migration and development of cancer cells. His understanding of basic cell biology provides crucial expertise to help the Committee judge applications which are grounded in solid biology.
Our Strategy and Research Funding teams attend and exhibit at conferences, meetings and workshops throughout the year.