Population Research Committee (PRC) Project Grants

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Early career researcher
Established independent researcher
Mid-career researcher
Research area
Cancer aetiology
Early diagnosis
Behavioural research
Cancer prevention
Statistics and methodology
Final submission
Committee review
Funding period
typically up to 3 years*
Funding amount
typically up to £100k per year*
Population Research Project Grants provide support for focused research proposals centered on key questions in population research.

Applications are judged on the basis of scientific excellence, innovation, relevance to cancer research and to the priorities outlined in our Research Strategy, and potential impact on policy and practice.

Applicants should:

  • Have three years’ postdoctoral experience or equivalent, or a tenured post.
  • Be scientists, clinicians or health care workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals and some research institutions.


​Population Research Project Grants can be awarded in the areas of:

Early Diagnosis

  • Cancer symptoms: natural history and awareness
  • The early diagnosis pathway including alternative routes to diagnosis
  • Interventions to increase presentation to primary care or uptake of screening
  • Screening as a form of early diagnosis


  • Behavioural and lifestyle  interventions to prevent cancer (individual or population level), including prevention of cancer recurrence
  • Adherence to chemoprevention
  • Screening as a form of prevention


  • Classical and health epidemiology, plus survival and incidence rates
  • Repurposing of existing cohorts for ‘omics studies (excluding genetic epidemiology)
  • Secondary physical effects of cancer treatment
  • Methodological and statistical research relating to population sciences

We fund research across all cancer types, treatment modalities and stages in the patient journey. However, our Research Strategy outlines areas which are a particular priority for us.

Funding is flexible for both cost and duration based on the nature of the research questions, and can be used to fund:

  • Postdoctoral researchers and technical staff
  • Associated running costs
  • Equipment where fully justified for the project

The Award cannot be used to fund your own salary, or the salaries of any named co-investigator or collaborator, except as set out in our policy on funding investigator salaries.

*If you would like to apply for funding outside of these limits you must contact us to discuss this before you start an application.

How to apply to this scheme

Overview of the application process

  1. Contact the Research Funding Team for an informal and confidential discussion of your proposal. We will advise you on eligibility and funding options.
  2. Submit an application of 2500 words, which will be peer-reviewed by experts. You will have the opportunity to respond to comments.
  3. Your application will be considered by the relevant Expert Review Panel(s) and the Population Research Committee in May or November.

All applications must be made online through our online grant management system eGMS, and your final application must be approved online by your host institution.


Applications for this scheme are considered twice a year, and typically follow these timelines:

Application deadline Committee review
May November
November May

The next deadline is 22 May 2018 for review in November 2018.

Before making your application

  1. Read full application guidelines (PDF)
  2. Contact the Research Funding Team to discuss your eligibility and suitability of your research proposal.

The relevant Expert Review Panel(s) will make a recommendation to the Committee based on:  

  • Scientific excellence: all applications must have a strong scientific rationale to support the proposed research proposal.

  • Cancer-relevance: likely to advance value of the proposed work in advancing the fundamental understanding of cancer or improving how cancer is diagnosed and/or treated.

  • Track record: the lead applicant and team members should have an excellent track record and potential to produce outstanding results.

  • Excellent team and collaborative environment: suitability and feasibility of the applicants to carry out the proposed research with access to the resources and facilities required for the successful fulfillment of the Award.

The Population Research Committee will review this recommendation and also assess how your proposal fits into our portfolio and addresses the priorities outlined in our Research Strategy.

Your application will be considered by the relevant Expert Review Panel(s) and final decisions will be made by the Population Research Committee.

Cancer Research UK contact details

You are encouraged to discuss your proposal with the Research Funding Team before starting your application.

Picture coming soonCancer prevention

Dr Jessica Brand – Research Funding Manager

Email: prc@cancer.org.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3469 8617



Picture coming soon

Early Diagnosis

Dr Yarunnessa Khan – Research Funding Manager

Email: prc@cancer.org.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3469 5068



catherine cowelEpidemiology

Dr Catherine Cowell – Research Funding Manager


Tel: +44 (0)20 3469 6126

Funding figures

In 2016/17, we awarded a total of £2.3 million across 9 Population Research Project Awards, giving applicants a success rate of 20%.

Research events

Our Strategy and Research Funding teams attend and exhibit at conferences, meetings and workshops throughout the year.

PPI Toolkit

Our Patient and Public Involvement Toolkit for researchers is your resource for planning and carrying out involvement activities.