Grand Challenge is a unique approach to beating cancer sooner
This award is intended to transform the cancer research field. We want to see proposals for bold, innovative solutions to the challenges we have set and to see evidence that applicants have actively sought out new collaborations. Ultimately, we are looking for the best teams with the best ideas to address the challenges, but we would also anticipate that proposals will drive global collaboration and the bringing together of diverse expertise in a way that is not already happening.
Dr Rick Klausner, Former Scientific Advisory Panel Chair 2015–2019
How are the Grand Challenges set?
To identify the biggest global challenges in cancer research, we need the brightest international minds.
We consulted with scientists, innovators, and thought leaders from across academia and industry, alongside people affected by cancer via a series of 'big think' workshops to identify barriers to progress. An independent advisory panel then reviewed these inputs before determining the Grand Challenges.
What is the funding process?
Collaborators taking on a grand challenge first submit an expression of interest outlining their proposed approach and the nature of their team.
The independent advisory panel review expressions of interest and shortlist teams with the greatest potential for impact. Shortlisted teams are provided with seed-funding to facilitate networking and work-up full proposals prior to being interviewed by the panel and a funding recommendation being made.
Who reviews the applications?
Cancer's toughest challenges, demand the world's sharpest minds.
Dedicated to accelerating progress, an independent advisory panel comprising of world-renowned cancer researchers, clinicians, behavioural scientists, and persons affected by cancer define the grand challenges, review applications, shortlist teams, and make funding recommendations.
What role do patients play in Grand Challenge?
At Cancer Research UK, we believe that research intended to benefit patients is made even better by involving people affected by cancer.
To bring this valuable perspective to Grand Challenge, a group of patient representatives participate in ongoing consultation to help shape the scheme, review applications and work with funded teams to develop the patient involvement components of their research.
How are other organisations involved?
Grand Challenge is funded through the generosity of our many supporters and partners.
In 2017, due to the calibre of proposals received, the independent advisory panel encouraged Cancer Research UK to fund more than one Grand Challenge team. Thanks to a new partnership with the Dutch Cancer Society and a generous philanthropic donation we were able to fund four of these pioneering teams – each receiving up to £20m over the next 5 years.
What's happening next?
Right now, we’re asking the international research community to help us shape our next set of Grand Challenges. We’re hosting a series of workshops to generate ideas for round three questions, with sessions lined up in Madrid, Milan, Amsterdam, London and Edinburgh.
You can share your idea for a Grand Challenge in two ways: submit your idea online, or run your own challenge-setting workshop.
Who have we funded?
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Get in touch
To discuss the Grand Challenge initiative please contact
Dr Jess Sutcliffe