Our partnership with Versus Arthritis

We understand the value that fresh perspectives and multidisciplinary collaborations can bring in tackling complex research challenges. We worked in partnership with Versus Arthritis to encourage new collaborations and innovative research projects that could lead to significant progress in both disease areas.


Why we formed the partnership

In February 2017 we made a commitment with Versus Arthritis (formerly known as Arthritis Research UK) to explore ways we could work together to maximise progress in our shared strategic priorities spanning both cancer and arthritis or related musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders.

Together we identified common challenges across research areas including immunology, early detection, precision medicine and the microbiome. We believed that by working together in these areas through knowledge sharing, community building, and co-funding relevant research, we could increase our impact leading to greater patient benefit.

Our partnership aimed to dissolve the barriers that separate the fields of oncology and inflammatory disease and promote cross-disciplinary synergies that could bring mutual benefit and accelerate progress in both disease areas.

Our progress

Our partnership focussed on generating new research ideas and fostering multidisciplinary collaborations in areas which had the  potential to make progress across both cancer and MSK disorders.

Sandpit Workshop

Our sandpit workshops

We’re using sandpit workshops as a unique approach to generate creative, multidisciplinary research projects that would not receive funding through traditional mechanisms. Sandpit workshops run over three days, where participants explore a research challenge, build new collaborations and think outside-the-box to develop a pitch for new innovative research ideas. On the final day the best ideas are recommended for seed funding support.

We expect successful project teams to form lasting collaborations, generating subsequent project proposals submitted to either CRUK, Versus Arthritis or other funders for further long-term funding.

Lab samples being loaded onto equipment

Our project awards

We partnered with Versus Arthritis to fund Immunology Project Awards that built on the innovation workshops by providing larger-scale funding for joint research activities, further uniting the two communities. The joint CRUK-Arthritis Research UK Immunology Project Award aimed to bring together researchers from both fields to share expertise and answer questions that are relevant and informed by both disease areas.

Outputs from our sandpit workshops

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Immune homeostasis — July 2017

Advances in the field of immunology are already bringing benefits to many patients, and immunology is a strategic priority for both CRUK and Versus Arthritis. With many opportunities for shared learnings across the spectrum of inflammatory diseases and cancer, our first sandpit workshop focussed on immune homeostasis.

Contact us

Please get in touch if you'd like to find out more about how we work in partnership.

Rachael Barber, Senior Partnerships ManagerRachael Barber

Head of Strategic Partnerships (Non-Commercial)


+44 (0) 20 3469 6907

Innovation Awards

Our Immunology Innovation Awards will fund novel research ideas developed during a collaborative sandpit workshop.

Find out how to apply

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.

In partnership with