EPSRC: working in partnership to deliver multidisciplinary research

In collaboration with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), we’re bridging the gap between cancer researchers and scientists from engineering and physical science disciplines to spark fresh insights in the fight against cancer.

As the leading UK funding agency for engineering and physical sciences, EPSRC’s expertise and scientific networks offer huge opportunities to advance our understanding of cancer biology along with how to detect, treat and prevent the disease. Together we have co-funded Cancer Imaging Centres and Programmes in the UK and Multidisciplinary Project Awards to unite researchers from a wide range of different scientific backgrounds. We have also worked with EPSRC and other funders to co-fund sandpit workshops in early detection to catalyse new research connections in a rapidly developing field.


Why we formed this partnership

Our partnership with the EPSRC recognises that cross-fertilisation of ideas and expertise is crucial in moving scientific research forward to unlock new discoveries. By working together and combining the unique strengths of both our organisations we can facilitate significant progress that could not be achieved by either of us alone.

Shared research areas of interest for both organisations include:

  • Medical imaging – investigating new techniques and technologies that can improve our ability to identify and analyse cancer in the body.
  • Mathematical modelling – utilising innovative computational tools and data analytics to develop new resources for clinicians when detecting, diagnosing and treating cancer.
  • Drug delivery technologies – harnessing recent advances in nanotechnology and medicinal chemistry to develop new ways of delivering drugs to highly specific targets within the body.

How we operate

Adopting a flexible and open approach to this partnership has allowed both partners to develop a variety of collaborative initiatives together, each of which is tailored to meet a specific goal and offer targeted support for distinct sections of our research communities. The range of our initiatives has included:

  • Infrastructure funding to help build a cancer imaging community
  • Project awards to encourage collaborations across a variety of technology and cancer problems
  • Networking opportunities and seed funding for nascent research fields such as early detection

On an administrative level, CRUK and EPSRC are both involved in the application review process and subsequent assessments of our joint funded initiatives. Day-to-day administration of research grants is overseen by CRUK, with both organisations contributing towards the overall strategic direction of each individual funding scheme.

Our initiatives and impact

Greg Harding / CRUK Manchester Institute

Multidisciplinary Project Awards

Together we committed up to £25 million towards our Multidisciplinary Project Awards and have supported leading research into cancer imaging at locations all over the UK. This work has advanced our understanding of cancer – from how cancer cells migrate throughout the body to new ways of improving the effectiveness of chemotherapy – and has helped to drive forward progress so that we can benefit more patients sooner.

Innovation Workshop

Innovation in early detection

We've worked with the EPSRC, the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and Pancreatic Cancer UK to drive innovation in technology for the early detection of cancer. Our sandpit workshops catalyse new collaborations and research ideas, with the best projects receiving a seed funding grant.

Library Photo

Cancer Imaging Initiative

Our Cancer Imaging Initiative invested approximately £80 million between 2008 and 2018 to establish four Cancer Imaging Centres, in Cambridge, London, Oxford and Manchester. This funding enabled the host institutions to develop their imaging infrastructure, form new collaborations, and establish ongoing multidisciplinary research programmes.

CRUK contact details

If your organisation would like to find out more about research partnership opportunities with us, please contact:

Rachael Barber, Senior Partnerships ManagerRachael Barber

Head of Strategic Partnerships (Non-Commercial)


+44 (0) 20 3469 6907

Our research partnerships

We partner with like-minded organisations from across the academic, not-for-profit, government and private sectors to deliver mutually beneficial collaborations, from large-scale co-funding of projects and infrastructure to joint workshops and conferences.

Our Research Strategy

Over the past 120 years, our work has revolutionised what we know about cancer and how we can beat it.

Our research strategy builds on what's already been achieved and sets out how we'll work with our world-class research community towards a better future.