About Cancer Research UK's Grand Challenge

CRUK Grand Challenge-funded Principal Investigators

Grand Challenge

Grand Challenge is the most ambitious cancer research initiative in the world. It's a series of £20 million awards, given to teams willing to take on the toughest challenges in cancer. These awards give teams the freedom to try new approaches. And at a scale that's not possible with other funding routes. 

Every 2 years we set new challenges for researchers to tackle. To help us shape the next round of Grand Challenge, we asked the international research community and people affected by cancer to tell us what they think are the greatest barriers to progress in cancer research.

Over the course of 5 months in 2019, we held challenge-setting workshops in Madrid, Milan, Edinburgh, London and Amsterdam. We also gathered challenge ideas from the international research community through our website.  

Our Grand Challenge Advisory Panel, chaired by Sir Paul Nurse, will consider the results and select the next round of challenges. 

We’ll reveal the next round of Grand Challenges in February 2020 – get ready to apply. 

2019

Consultation 

We seek input to help shape the next round of Grand Challenge. 

July 2020

Express Interest

Collaborators open their application outlining their proposed team and approach

Oct 2020

Shortlist

Expressions of interest are reviewed and selected teams receive seed-funding to develop full applications

Feb 2021

Full Application

Shortlisted teams submit full applications and are interviewed by the independent advisory panel

Sep 2021

Award

Winning teams awarded up to £20 million over 5 years to conduct their pioneering research

What makes Grand Challenge different?

Grand Challenge is a unique approach to beating cancer sooner. We set challenges around the biggest barriers in cancer research. And the research community applies to tackle these in pursuit of life-changing discoveries.  

If your application is successful, your team will receive up to £20 million over 5 years to tackle your chosen challenge. 

But the toughest challenges in cancer research demand exceptional teamwork. That's why Grand Challenge is an international funding scheme, open to scientists from all countries and disciplines.  

When you apply to take on a challenge, your application will be reviewed by world-leading scientists on our Grand Challenge Advisory Panel, along with people on our Grand Challenge Patient Advisory Panel. 

We need the sharpest minds and the brightest ideas to overcome the biggest barriers to progress in cancer research. Which is why we only fund the best teams. 

Applying to Grand Challenge

Grand Challenge gives you the freedom to explore cancer's toughest challenges and the support to try ground-breaking new approaches.

To be successful in getting funding, you'll need to build a multidisciplinary team that can bring fresh insights to the biggest challenges in cancer research.  

We will open for applications in February 2020, when we reveal the next round of challenges. 

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Grand Challenge so far

Grand Challenge-funded researchers standing together

Grand Challenge is our flagship international funding initiative. It plays a key role in realising our vision to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. 

Since launching in 2015, we’ve funded 7 teams across 9 countries. This represents an investment of up to £130 million over the next 5 years. And we're already starting to see exciting results emerging from those teams. 

Grand Challenge teams include some of the brightest minds from across the globe.