Discovery Research Committee

Our Discovery Research Committee is responsible for the strategic development, funding and review, oversight and evaluation of Cancer Research UK’s portfolio of basic, early-translational research Programme, Project and Pilot awards.

The Discovery Research Committee meets twice a year in May and November. 

We currently have openings for new members on this committee - applications close 12 Dec.

Research areas

The Discovery Research Committee aims to transform our fundamental understanding of cancer and serve as a strong foundation for the translation of discoveries into new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat and cancer. Discovery Research Committee has a broad remit spanning basic and translational cancer research, including fundamental biology, genetics and immunology, biomarker discovery and validation and preclinical studies, and research into imaging and radiotherapy. The Committee also supports researchers in fields such as Immunology, engineering and physical sciences to apply their work to cancer.

Funding schemes

Discovery Programme Awards

Programme Awards provide long-term support for broad, multidisciplinary research where the aim is to answer an interrelated set of questions. Applications for Programme Awards will be accepted in any of the following research areas:

  • Basic biological research relating to cancer
  • Preclinical studies that will generate biological data to underpin therapeutic development
  • Biomarker research
  • Imaging research
  • Radiotherapy research
  • The application of engineering and physical sciences to cancer

Discovery Programme Foundation Awards

Programme Foundation Awards allow excellent mid-career researchers to develop their independent research group. On completion of a Programme Foundation Award we expect researchers to be in a competitive position to apply for a Discovery Committee Programme Award. Applications will be accepted within the same scientific remit as Programme Awards.

Cancer Immunology Project Awards

Cancer Immunology Project Awards seek to catalyse research and build the UK's research base in cancer immunology, by funding immunologists in non-cancer fields.

Multidisciplinary Project Awards

The Multidisciplinary Project Award supports collaborations between clinical and non-clinical cancer researchers, and scientists from engineering/physical science disciplines, where the aim is to generate creative research ideas and explore their applicability in cancer research.

How proposals are judged

The Committee meets twice a year in May and November and assesses all applications on the basis of their scientific and strategic importance, supported with guidance from expert peer review panels relevant to each grant. Applications are judged on the basis of scientific excellence, innovation and relevance to cancer research.

Professor of biochemistry - Gerard Evan

Gerard is an established independent researcher in basic and translational research who is funded by our Discovery Research Committee.

Committee and panel members

Chair of the Discovery Research Committee

Dr Simon Boulton – The Francis Crick Institute

Vice Chair of the Discovery Research Committee

Professor Jane Endicott – Newcastle University

Members of the Discovery Research Committee

Dr Sophie Acton - University College London

Dr Renata Basto - Institut Curie 

Professor Gabriele Bergers - KU Leuven, Belgium

Professor Andrea Brand - University of Cambridge and New York University

Dr Peter Campbell – Wellcome Sanger Institute

Professor Elaine Dzierzak - University of Edinburgh

Dr Michaela Frye - DFKZ Heidelberg

Dr Raj Jena - University of Cambridge

Professor Claus Jorgensen – Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute

Professor Sir David Klenerman – University of Cambridge

Professor Simona Parrinello University College London

Professor KJ Patel (CRUK Chief Scientist) – University of Oxford

Professor Daniel Peeper – Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI)

Professor Dr Rob Pieters – Prinses Máxima Centrum 

Professor Sergio Quezada – University College London

Professor Charles Swanton (CRUK Chief Clinician) – Francis Crick Institute and University College London

Professor Madalena Tarsounas - University of Oxford

Professor Steve Wedge – Newcastle University and Cancer Research Horizons

Members of the Cancer Immunology Review Panel

Professor Sergio Quezada – UCL

Professor Louise Boyle – University of Cambridge

Professor Cecilia Johansson – Imperial College London

Dr Sean Lim – University of Southampton

Professor David Withers – University of Birmingham

Members of the Multidisciplinary Review Panel

Professor Sir David Klenerman — University of Cambridge

Dr Claus Jorgensen — CRUK Manchester Institute

Professor Trevor Graham — Institute of Cancer Research

Professor Francesca Palombo — University of Exeter

Dr Marco Gerlinger — The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Professor Mengxing Tang — Imperial College London

Contact for this committee

Dr Matt Kaiser

Head of Careers and Discovery Research

More opportunities for discovery researchers

Discovery Research

We support a broad portfolio of discovery research, including basic biology, genetics and immunology, biomarker discovery and preclinical studies, and engineering and physical sciences applied to cancer. We have a variety of grant funding and other opportunities to accelerate your research.