Early Detection and Diagnosis Research Committee

Early detection and diagnosis (ED&D) research seeks to detect and diagnose consequential precancerous changes and cancer at the earliest possible point at which an intervention might be made, reducing the burden of late-stage disease.

The Early Detection and Diagnosis Research Committee is responsible for the strategic development, funding and review, oversight and evaluation of the early detection and diagnosis research portfolio. This includes discovery and validation of signatures of early cancer, the development of the technologies to enable this, non-confirmatory clinical trials of ED&D technologies and approaches, ED&D health systems research, research to understand and optimise clinician and public behaviour to enhance ED&D and health economics of ED&D research.

The Early Detection and Diagnosis Research Committee will cover the early detection and diagnosis of precancerous changes, primary cancer and relapse/recurrence.

Research can involve discovery, pre-clinical and/or clinical/translational science which is mindful of the clinical and population context. The Committee will meet twice per year.

Funding schemes

Scientific remit

Early detection and diagnosis (ED&D) research operates across the full pathway of disease development, from the earliest changes suggesting initiation, to dysregulated growth, promotion to pre-neoplastic states/lesions, malignant conversion, and tumour progression. Each of these stages provide an opportunity to detect and diagnose a shift in state and intervene. ED&D can also be applied post-therapy to detect recurrence. ED&D research also seeks to understand and optimise the role of the public/patients, healthcare professionals and healthcare providers, and to develop and evaluate ED&D approaches in a population or clinical context, generating the requisite evidence to change practice.

We fund research in these areas:

  • Identification and validation of early detection markers and understanding of disease trajectory in order to prognose and distinguish which precancerous or early lesions will go on to be consequential from those that will not.
  • Identification of high-risk groups for early detection and diagnosis research and implementation, including to develop and evaluate novel detection technologies/approaches, or optimise existing technologies/approaches.
  • Data/computation-driven approaches to early detection and diagnosis, including biomedical/health informatics, artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches, computational/systems biology, integration of multi-modal data and modelling.
  • Development and use of appropriate preclinical model systems (e.g. cellular, organoid, xenograft, animal model) to recapitulate precancerous states and early cancer for marker identification and validation, technology development and distinction of consequential from inconsequential disease.
  • Early detection and diagnosis technology development, including exploratory and translational research involving engineering, physical and data science approaches.
  • Non-confirmatory clinical trials of early detection/diagnostic technologies or approaches, to enhance earlier detection/diagnosis.
  • Health systems research for early detection and diagnosis: research into clinical pathways for diagnosis (including alternative routes to diagnosis), service organisation, impact and delivery, referral pathways etc.
  • Research into clinician behaviour and decision support to enhance timeliness and accuracy of cancer diagnosis, including but not limited to understanding natural history of symptoms and key predictive features, enhancing clinician recognition of symptoms and appropriate referral, and decision support technology generation and evaluation.
  • Evaluation of impact of early detection and diagnosis policies and interventions to support cancer early detection and diagnosis in practice.
  • Research to understand and intervene in the behaviour of the public to enhance early detection and diagnosis, in order to increase symptom recognition/understanding/reporting, presentation to primary care and/or uptake of detection/diagnostic approaches, including the psychological and societal implications. This does not involve behavioural interventions to modify exposure to risk factors such as tobacco use, alcohol etc.
  • Research into the health economics of early detection and diagnosis of cancer.  Does not include late-stage HTA trials.

 How proposals are judged

Applications are judged on the basis of scientific excellence, innovation and relevance to cancer research. The Committee and its expert review panels meet twice a year and assess all applications on the basis of their scientific, strategic and clinical importance, whilst also studying the scientific and patient and public involvement (PPI) expert peer review which is collated for each grant.

Read the terms of reference for this committe



Observing funding panels and committees

As part of our commitments to supporting the next generation of researchers and equality, diversity and inclusion in research, we're offering early- to mid-career researchers the opportunity to observe our panel and committee meetings across our funding remit. This scheme will include positive action to offer individuals from underrepresented groups priority places to overcome the underrepresentation that has been highlighted by our diversity data report.  

Through this experience we hope you can: 

  • Understand how grant funding decisions are made to ensure we fund the best quality research
  • Develop your own successful research proposals in the future 
  • Help develop your skills as peer reviewers 
  • Have the opportunity to give feedback to us to help improve our review processes

Find out more about eligibility and how to apply


Professor Cathie Sudlow - University of Edinburgh


Professor Fiona Walter - Queen Mary University of London


Professor Bissan Al-Lazikani - MD Anderson Cancer Center

Professor Nicky Best - GlaxoSmithKline

Professor Patrick Bossuyt - University of Amsterdam

Mr Ally Boyle - Patient and Public Representative

Mr Billy Boyle - Owlstone Medical

Professor Katherine Brain - Cardiff University

Professor Claude Chelala - Queen Mary University of London

Professor Max Diehn - Stanford University

Professor Ben Glocker - Imperial College London

Professor Sam Janes - University College London

Professor Georgios (Yoryos) Lyratzopoulos - University College London

Professor Tony Ng - Kings College London

Professor Serena Nik-Zainal - University of Cambridge

Professor Katherine Payne - University of Manchester

Professor Zoe Pikramenou - University of Birmingham

Dr Nitzan Rosenfeld - Queen Mary University of London

Professor Greg Rubin - University of Newcastle

Professor Sudha Sundar - University of Birmingham

Professor Sapna Syngal - Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Centre

Ms Lisa Townsend - Patient and Public Representative

Professor Phil Quirke - University of Leeds

Professor Sara Rossana Zanivan - Cancer Research UK Scotland Institute 

Expert Review Panel on Early Detection & Diagnosis Biology, Markers, Technology and Data


Professor Sam Janes – University College London


Professor Sara Rossana Zanivan - Cancer Research UK Scotland Institute 

Standing members

Professor Chris Phillips – Imperial College London

Professor Elinor Sawyer – King's College London


Expert Review Panel on Early Detection & Diagnosis Trials, Behavioural, Health Systems and Health Economics Research


Professor Greg Rubin – University of Newcastle



Standing members

Dr Adam Brentnall – Queen Mary, University of London

Professor Katriina Whitaker – University of Surrey

This Panel will be in place to review applications submitted to the forthcoming Project Award and Programme Award deadlines. Its Co-Chairs will be full members of the Early Detection and Diagnosis Research Committee and Prevention and Population Research Committee.


Mr Ally Boyle

Ms Lisa Townsend

Panel members

Dr Alison Allam

Dr Catherine Biggs

Phil Buck

Sue Duncombe

Musa Garba

Katherine Glen

Jax Hamil

Claire James

Angela King

Emily Lam

Patrick McGuire

Liz Middleton

Stella O'Brien

Phil Pocock

Malcolm Rhodes

Lisa Adam

Orouba Almilaji

William Crosbie

Firoza Davies

Mark Edwards

Elsa Graviil

Kate Hawley

Ike Junior

Heena Karania

Emily Slade

Eve Smyth

Contact us


Dr David Crosby


Dr David Crosby

Head of Prevention and Early Detection Research

Tel +44 (0) 20 3469 6086




    Dr Talisia Quallo

    Research Programme Manager for ED&D markers, technology and data.

    Dr Joanna Janus

    Research Programme Manager for ED&D trials, systems and economics.


    Ms Sara Castro

    Research Grants Manager


    Ms Emily Friar

    Research Grants Manager

Our strategy for early detection research

We've made early detection a strategic priority at an exciting time for this nascent field. With more than just funding, we're helping the field to establish a mature and sustainable community, and realise its full potential to transform how and when cancers are detected and diagnosed.

Early Detection Conference

Our annual Early Detection of Cancer Conference, held in partnership with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, provides the perfect opportunity to network and build new collaborations with experts from many different disciplines.

Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer: a Roadmap to the Future

The Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer Roadmap aims to unite fragmented efforts across the UK to drive progress in early detection and diagnosis. We’re calling on everyone from researchers and industry, to regulators, the NHS and the public, to combine efforts to realise a future where early detection and diagnosis is a routine reality.