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Changes to our funding committees and schemes

Thursday 22 March 2012

An announcement from Dr Iain Foulkes, Executive Director of Strategy and Research Funding

Cancer Research UK is making changes to the structure of its funding committees and funding schemes. Feedback from the cancer research community has been broadly consistent - the current funding structures arbitrarily and unhelpfully fragment our response-mode funding of biological and translational research activity. 

Increasingly, we are seeing applications to the Biological Sciences Committee which have a strong translational component, and applications to the Clinical and Translational Research Committee that have a significant basic science element.

We are also receiving ever-increasing numbers of high-quality applications and it is likely that we will not be able to fund all those that reach the quality benchmark. We need to make our funding decisions based on quality and on strategic priority. A more joined up view of the science at any one time will enable us to do so more effectively, while still maintaining the excellence of the science as the predominant driver.

A new committee

Cancer Research UK has had one funding committee covering basic research - the Biological Sciences Committee - and a further three, the Clinical and Translational Research Committee, Discovery Committee and the Biomarkers & Imaging Discovery & Development Committee, covering translational research.

These four funding committees will shortly be replaced by a new Science Committee. The new committee considers programme grant applications in any area of basic and translational research. Project grant applications are only considered in the specific areas of Biomarker research and Drug Discovery. Because there will only be a single committee, you will have the opportunity to submit applications that are broader in scope than through our current funding streams.

The committee will be asked to not only consider firstly the scientific quality of the projects and programmes submitted to Cancer Research UK, but also their relevance to our research strategy. The committee will make a funding decision based on both of these factors.

Other funding areas

Other funding streams will remain unchanged. The Population Research Committee (PRC), Clinical Trials Awards and Advisory Committee (CTAAC) and the New Agents Committee (NAC) will continue to fund along existing lines.

We will also be maintaining our current range of fellowships and funding for new investigators in the form of our Career Development Fellowships, Senior Cancer Research Fellowships, Career Establishment Awards and Clinician Scientist Fellowships. We will continue to fund graduate training for PhD students and clinical fellows through our Centre Training Accounts.

Internal office changes

In parallel to the changes in the funding committee structure, we have also reorganised our internal research funding teams. Some of your current contacts in the Cancer Research UK office will have changed, so please do check the website to find out who to talk to about your current grant or new application.

As well as making changes to the operations of the grant schemes, we have merged the teams looking after the Cancer Centres and the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres. There are lots of links between these two areas of our work, and the new team will help deliver our objectives, and those of our partners, for these two important networks.

These changes will ensure that we continue to fund the best quality research and this is accomplished in the most efficient way. If you have any queries about the new structures, please contact Dr Jamie Meredith:


We are currently in the process of finalising deadlines for the new funding schemes offered by the Science Committee. These will be publicised on our website shortly.

Deadlines for schemes offered by our PRC, CTAAC, NAC and Fellowship Committees will not change with this new restructure.


Updated: 22 March 2012