Accelerator Award

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Established independent researcher
Research area
All research areas
Funding period
Up to 5 years
Funding amount
Up to £1 million per year
This award, funded through a partnership between CRUK, AIRC and FC AECC, encourages cross-institutional collaboration to accelerate translational research

The awards will fund cross-institutional research teams, bringing together resources and expertise to accelerate progress in cancer research that could not be delivered in isolation.

We anticipate that a team would be typically include a Principal Investigator (PI), Co-Investigators and Collaborators, and a Project Manager.

Principal Investigator

Applications must be led by a PI who is either:

  • Based at a CRUK Centre or the Francis Crick Institute, or
  • Affiliated to the AIRC*, or
  • Invited by the FC AECC*

Each host institution is limited to lead one application per round.

Co-Investigators and Collaborators

There is no limit to the number of co-investigators and collaborators on a team.

They can be based at any host Institution throughout the world (including and outside of the locations specified above). Researchers based at an institution which is leading on an application are welcome to collaborate on other proposals.

Teams led by a PI based in Spain or Italy must include at least one Co-Investigator based in the UK at a CRUK Centre or the Francis Crick Institute.

*See full guidelines for details of institutions affiliated to AIRC or invited by FC AECC.

Scientific remit

Applications can cover a wide-variety of fields, for example, pre-clinical studies, biomarkers, imaging, radiotherapies, engineering, physical sciences and training programmes. Proposals outside of these fields are equally welcome.

The award is not intended to find solutions to specific research questions, but to provide the tools to enable the research community to develop the solutions. Any research findings generated should be limited to providing preliminary data, tools and/or other resources which can then be developed by investigators with their research-specific funding.

We particularly welcome applications which address the shared priorities of the three funders.

We provide funding of up to £1m per year, for up to 5 years, which can support:

  • Technical staff
  • Project management staff
  • Academic appointments
  • Consumables
  • Equipment
  • Training and PhD studentships
  • Networking costs
  • Patient involvement costs

How to apply to this scheme

Application process

Applicants must submit an expression of interest and if successful will be invited to submit a full application.


The 2018 funding round is now closed to new applications. If you'd like to be among the first to hear about future rounds of funding, sign up for our Research Update newsletter.

26 September 2017

Expression of Interest deadline

October 2017

Shortlisting of applicant teams

Our Accelerator Award Committee will shortlist teams to be invited for full application.

November 2017 – January 2018

Online Hosting and Seed Funding

Summaries of each shortlisted teams’ application will be hosted online to encourage additional collaboration. Shortlisted teams will also receive £5,000 of seed funding to develop their full application.

30 January 2018

Full Application deadline

May 2018

Funding committee meeting

The shortlisted teams will be interviewed by our Committee who will make the final funding recommendations.

Before you begin your application

  • You must read the full application guidelines
  • You must coordinate your application with the director of your CRUK Centre, or department if based at a Spanish or Italian institution, to ensure there is support for your application and to avoid duplication

Applicant teams will be expected to demonstrate:

  • The scientific and strategic rationale behind the proposal – is it meeting a need of the cancer research community?

  • The significance and impact of the proposed outputs – will they enable researchers to accelerate progress in cancer research? Will it lead to genuine patient benefit?

  • The value added by a collaborative approach – what the team is able to achieve that it couldn’t in isolation.

  • Capability – is the proposal realistic? Are the right people involved to deliver this?

Chair of the Accelerator Award Committee

Professor David Livingston – Harvard University 

Members of the Accelerator Award Committee

Professor Rene Medema – Netherlands Cancer Institute

Professor Elisabeth De Vries – University Medical Center Groningen

Professor Jacqueline Lees – Koch Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Jason Lewis – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre

Dr Frank McCormick – UCSF Helen Diller Family CCC

Professor Mechthild Krause – Carl Gustav Carus University

Dr Alexander Lazar – MD Anderson

Professor Fabrice André - Institut Gustave Roussy

Download the terms of reference for the committee (PDF)

Cancer Research UK contact details

Bouran Sohrabi

Research Funding Manager

Tel: 0203 469 8343

A partnership between

A partnership between CRUK and Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC) and Fundación Científica de la Asociacion Española Contra el Cáncer (FC AECC)


Case studies

We've funded ambitious Accelerator Awards spanning diverse research areas, modalities and cancer sites. Discover more about the applications which have been successful in our case studies.


The current round of funding is now closed to new applications and proposals have been shortlisted.