12 Oct 2017

Express Interest

Collaborators open their application outling their
proposed team and approach

Jan 2018


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

May 2018

Full Application 

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

Nov 2018


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

Early 2019


New inputs are sought to help inform the next round of Grand Challenge

Overview of Eligibility

  • Any country
  • Any discipline
  • Any academic institution or commercial entity
  • Any career stage

The Grand Challenge panel

An independent advisory panel, chaired by Dr Rick Klausner (former Director of the US National Cancer Institute, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), review applications, shortlist and interview teams, and make funding recommendations.

1. Choose your challenge

Guided by the scientific community and patients, the independent advisory panel has set 8 Grand Challenges - each requiring bold, novel approaches and the right international, multi-disciplinary collaborations to tackle. Please ensure you have read the 'Information for applicants section' for your chosen challenge before starting an application.


2. Read applicant guidelines

Our guidelines for applicants contain detailed information about eligibility, the application and review process as well as an example of the Expression of Interest template.

3. Complete the pre-submission questionnaire

Before we can open an expression of interest (EOI) on our grants management system (eGMS), the principle investigator must submit a short questionnaire to Cancer Research UK..

This information will be used to check eligibility and provide initial advice that may benefit your application - it will not be shown to our advisory panel. Completion of this questionnaire is mandatory. We do not require you to provide information on all team members at this stage but you must indicate the broad roles and disciplines proposed across your team.

We recommend submitting your questionnaire as soon as possible as it may take up to two weeks to receive feedback. 


Submit Questionnaire

What the panel are looking for

"The Grand Challenge is about the best ideas, national and disciplinary boundaries don’t matter – what matters is thinking on a scale and level of ambition fitting of these awards"

Dr Rick Klausner, Chair of the Grand Challenge Advisory Panel

We are looking for applications that:

  • Have the potential to unlock new thinking
  • Are pioneering, novel and bold
  • Include truly unique collaborations
  • Couldn't be achieved without this level of funding

Hear from previous applicants

"For me the Grand Challenge offered an opportunity to do a piece of science at a scale and a breadth that I could not have anticipated doing with any other funding"

Prof Ed Boyden, neuroscientist, MIT

Applicants said they:

  • Had the freedom to assemble their perfect application
  • Spoke to new collaborators they had never considered partnering with
  • Opened their minds to do something that could be truly transformative

Stay up to date

Keep updated with Grand Challenge by signing up to the newsletter. 

Commercial involvement

If you have questions around commercial involvement in your team or are seeking assistance to connect with commercial entities then please contact Dr Laura Dickens by emailing laura.dickens@cancer.org.uk

Get in touch

lucy shaw

If you wish to discuss your proposal in more detail or have submitted a questionnaire and not had a response within two weeks please contact Dr Lucy Shaw by emailing grandchallenge@cancer.org.uk

For help with our online grants system eGMS, please contact grants helpline on 0203 469 5452 or email grants.helpline@cancer.org.uk.

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