Accelerator Award: How to apply

Applications for the accelerator award are invited annually. To apply, you first need to submit an expression of interest. If successful, we'll then help you develop your proposal and team further, with seed funding and collaboration facilitation, before you submit a full application.


Application process

Application process

Expression of interest

Submit an outline of your proposal for shortlisting by our committee

Online hosting and seed funding

If shortlisted, we'll give you £5,000 to develop your application, and we'll promote your abstract to help you find collaborators

Full application

Submit a formal, costed proposal

Peer review and interview

We may request written peer review, and you'll be invited to present to the committee.

Funding announcement

We'll publicise the new projects that we've funded

Step-by-step details

Before you begin your application, you must contact the Research Funding Manager to discuss your proposal, and we recommend you do this at least 6 weeks before the deadline. We will open an application form for you on our electronic Grants Management System (eGMS).

Once your application is opened, your Expression of Interest must be submitted online using eGMS by the PI. If you have not applied for a grant with us before, you will first need to set up a profile in eGMS.

You will need to submit:

  • Application overview – full details of the Principal Investigator, proposed title, start date and duration of award.

  • Expression of Interest application form using the template in eGMS.

  • Letters of support from:

    • Agreed Co-Investigators and Collaborators.
    • The lead host institution:
      • The Director, if a CRUK Centre or an FC AECC centre
      • The equivalent senior figure (e.g. Head of Institute or Faculty) if the host institution is based in Italy

Expressions of Interest will be assessed by our international Accelerator Award Committee. All applicants will receive written feedback.

By submitting an EOI, you agree that, if shortlisted, a summary of the team’s proposal and the names of researchers involved may be hosted online and in materials produced by the funders to promote the scheme. This will provide an opportunity for researchers with complementary and/or desired skills to contact the PI and discuss potential collaboration.

If shortlisted, you will receive £5,000 of seed funding. This will be awarded to the named PI at the lead Host Institution. These funds can be used for:

  • Meetings/workshops with the collaborators to define and develop the final proposal

  • Project management expertise to assist with planning of the proposal

You will need to submit your full application through our electronic Grants Management System (eGMS).

The table below shiows all the information we need you to include in your full application - either by completing directly into a field in eGMS or as an upload to eGMS.

Section of Application

What it should cover

Application overview

Title, supporting roles, applicant information, abstract

Additional information

Additional research information, research classification, biomarker research

Financial details

Details of salaries, running expenses, and equipment for the whole team

Research proposal

The overall vision and collaboration proposal for the team

Research Features template

Justification of costs, data and sample sharing, cell lines, details of animal studies, patient involvement information, intellectual property

Supplementary budget information (if applicable)

Details of salaries, running expenses and equipment for the whole team in the relevant currency

Heads of Terms (only for UK-based teams with no Co-Investigators in Spain or Italy)

Non-binding agreement principles to form basis of Research Collaboration Agreement.

Host Institution approval

Letter of support from the Lead Host Institution and each Co-Investigators’s Host Institution

Letters of support (optional)

From each named Collaborator, a letter of support/agreement to provide technology, resource or expertise

Letters of compliance (mandatory if applicable)

To be provided by the relevant Principal Investigator or Co- Investigators for any animal or clinical research to be conducted outside the UK

Response to Committee feedback (optional)

Letter in response to the Committee’s feedback on the team’s Expression of Interest

For full details of the what we need for each section, plus templates, guidance on costs, and how to use eGMS, download the full application guidelines.

Peer review

Once you have submitted your full application, the committee may request additional expertise from relevant experts in the field in the form of written peer review. If written peer review is requested by the committee, comments will be provided to you in advance of their committee interview.


You will be required to attend an interview by the Accelerator Award Committee at Cancer Research UK's Head Office in London. Specific details will be given closer to the time.

Applicant teams will be required to attend in person and should include the Principal Investigator and up to three key co-investigators or collaborators (one of which may be the project manager if in place).

You will be expected to give a short presentation (10–15 mins) and then take part in a question and answer session.

The presentation could include an overview of the award, the key outputs and how they will be delivered, the strengths of the team and how they are able to deliver their proposal.

Assessment criteria

The Accelerator Awards Committee will consider:

Scientific potential and rationale

  • The proposal meets a distinct need of the cancer research community and provides a compelling rationale for large scale investment in this area.
  • The team has presented a clear vision on how the proposal meets this need, and is supported by underpinning science.
  • The outputs of the proposal will enable the scientific community to accelerate progress in cancer research, ultimately leading to patient and population benefit.
  • The team clearly articulates the scope of the proposal with regard to the research infrastructure, tools, resources or other outputs which could help to answer scientific questions.

Operational efficacy

  • The proposal includes a clear process(es) for making the outputs (including knowledge and expertise) as discoverable and accessible as possible to the scientific community.
  • The ambition of the award is challenging, but deliverable through a collaborative approach.
  • The financial request is reasonable and builds on the existing facilities available through the collaboration.
  • There are appropriate governance structures in place (including project management and assigned accountability).
  • A set of work packages that complement each other is presented, with key milestones and clear deliverables identified throughout the duration of the project.
  • Potential challenges have been identified and contingency plans are available.
  • Consideration has been given to realistic sustainability plans to support the outputs of the proposal beyond the funding period.

Capability of the team

  • The team has the right collection of skills and expertise required to deliver the proposal.
  • By bringing these people and institutions together, a synergistic proposal has been put forward that would not be possible in isolation.
  • The Principal Investigator has a strong track record and is capable of leading a collaboration and proposal of this scale.
  • All team members have a clear role and bring value to the proposal. Each is essential to the success of the proposal.
  • Demonstrates a genuinely collaborative approach, with no one party dominating the proposal or receiving a disproportionate amount of funding.
  • The team is dynamic and capable of responding to internal and external scientific developments.

Funding award

You will be informed of the Committee’s decision as soon as possible after the Committee meeting, and written feedback will soon follow.

If you are successful, you will then be awarded your grant subject to agreement to the Accelerator Award Terms and Conditions.

You will be expected to have a steering board meeting either before or within the first month of the project start date to adjust your project plan in light of any feedback from the Committee. You will be assigned a CRUK, AECC or AIRC representative who will represent the partnership at Steering Board meetings.


CRUK, AIRC and FC AECC will lead on all national and regional press and PR for the shortlisting and funding announcement of the Accelerator Awards. You must ensure that all Co-Investigators, Collaborators and their PR/Press Office teams are also made aware of this and do not do any proactive PR or social media (including blogs) about the Awards prior to the announcement. You and your network will be welcome to use CRUK/AIRC/FC AECC’s press materials for your websites once the media embargo is lifted.

Funding committee reviewing your application


Professor David Livingston – Harvard University


Professor Rene Medema – Netherlands Cancer Institute

Professor Elisabeth De Vries – University Medical Center Groningen

Professor Jacqueline Lees – Koch Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Jason Lewis – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre

Professor Frank McCormick – UCSF Helen Diller Family CCC

Professor Mechthild Krause – Carl Gustav Carus University

Professor Alexander Lazar – MD Anderson

Professor Fabrice André – Institut Gustave Roussy

Contact us

CRUK office

Rachel Chown

Tel: 0203 469 5155

AIRC office

Luana Grimolizzi

AECC office

In partnership with

A partnership between CRUK and Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC) and Fundación Científica de la Asociacion Española Contra el Cáncer (FC AECC)