Clinical Trial Award

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Established independent researcher
Research area
Clinical trials
Surgery research
Radiotherapy research
Biomarker research
Pre-clinical research
Outline application
Full application
Committee review
Funding period
Up to 10 years*
Funding amount
Up to £150,000 per year**
Supports interventional clinical trials of cancer treatment (including systemic treatment, radiotherapy and surgery) with the aim of improving outcome.

Applications must be:

  • From a UK university, research institution, clinical centre or clinical trials unit (CTU)
  • For investigator-led, interventional studies of cancer treatment
  • Developed with the involvement of an UKCRC registered CTU

Scientific remit

The types of studies that fit this scheme are typically:

  • Phase 1a/2 dose finding trials testing safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy (including novel combinations of therapies and radiotherapy, and novel indications)
  • Phase 1b/2 or phase 2 trials testing the viability of larger trials, including the ability to recruit and/or to explore tolerability or efficacy of treatments
  • Window of opportunity studies
  • Phase 2/3 or phase 3 trials to investigate the efficacy, effectiveness and tolerability of interventions with the aim of improving survival.

Studies of cancer treatment approaches that aim to achieve equivalence of survival whilst reducing toxicity or optimising treatment delivery will be considered where the potential for a significant impact on patient outcomes can be demonstrated.

Funding for translational research that allows us to learn more from the clinical trial can be requested in applications to this scheme.

If your proposal includes research that seeks to enable the early detection of cancer or pre-cancerous states, you may be eligible for our early detection funding opportunities.

If your study is an early phase trial requiring full management/support from our Centre for Drug Development you should consider the Drug Development Project scheme.

As part of the Clinical Trial outline application you can apply for costs associated with non-regulatory pre-clinical studies required for the initiation of early phase clinical trials of cancer treatments including, but not limited to, proof-of-concept studies for drug re-purposing and novel combination approaches for drugs post-candidate stage.***

This scheme will not fund:

  • Industry sponsored trials
  • Long term follow up
  • Collection and banking of samples for future unspecified translational research 
  • Regulatory (GLP) toxicology
  • Pre-clinical studies for first-in-human studies
  • Explorative pre-clinical studies, e.g. to determine candidate selection or early drug development

Funding from the Clinical Trial Award can be used for:

  • Salaries for researchers and technical staff
  • Running expenses
  • Equipment

Funding from the Pre-Clinical Package can be used for:

  • Salaries for named researchers and technical staff already employed within the group
  • Running expenses

Read our costs guidance for full details of the costs you can claim in your application.

Please note that successful funding of the pre-clinical package and positive results of the pre-clinical experiments do not guarantee support of the full Clinical Trial Award application. The review of the full clinical trial application is independent and a separate funding decision.

*Typically up to 4 years for early phase or feasibility studies, and up to 10 years for late phase trials. Funding for the pre-clinical package can be for up to 12 months.

**Typically up to £50,000 per year for early phase or feasibility studies, and up to £150,000 per year for late phase trials. Larger amounts may be considered with appropriate justification, particularly where substantial translational research is included. Costs up to £200,000 for one year can be requested for a pre-clinical package as part of the clinical trial outline application, although larger amounts may be considered with appropriate justification.

*** We will accept applications for a pre-clinical package, as part of a Clinical Trial Award outline application, for the 5th of May 2021 submission deadline.

How to apply to this scheme

Application process

Applications for this scheme are considered three times per year. Your application will follow either a two- or three-stage process:

  1. Proposal: submit an expression of interest form to the CRUK office. We will check that your proposal is within remit and confirm whether an outline is required.
  2. Outline applications: this stage can be omitted for some applications (see below)
    1. Submit your outline application through our FlexiGrant system
    2. Your application will be reviewed by the Clinical Research Committee
    3. If you are successful, we will invite you to submit a full application
  3. Full applications:
    1. Submit your full application through our FlexiGrant system
    2. Your application will be sent to the relevant NCRI Clinical Studies Group, Advisory Groups and/or Strategic Groups and to designated members of our Expert Review Panels for comments
    3. You will be given the opportunity to respond to the comments provided
    4. One of our Expert Review Panels (ERP) will consider your application, the comments, and your response to the comments, and you may be invited to present to the ERP before they make a recommendation to the Committee
    5. The Clinical Research Committee will make a final decision on funding

We will confirm whether an outline application is required after you submit your expression of interest form. Applications including a request for pre-clinical package always require an outline application. For applications without a request for a pre-clinical package an outline application can typically be omitted where one of the following applies:

  • You are applying for less than £500,000 of funding
  • You are applying for endorsement only
  • Your study follows seamlessly on from a feasibility study previously funded by CRUK
  • You are requesting funding for the UK component of an internationally-led clinical trial
  • You are applying for a costed amendment or extension to an existing study supported by CRUK


Outline Application Deadline Full Application Deadline Committee Review
18 February 2021 N/A March 2021
5 May 2021 1 April 2021 July 2021
21 October 2021 22 July 2021 December 2021


Before you begin your application

  1. You must read the application guidelines (PDF) before starting your application, even if you have applied for funding with us before.
  2. You must read the costs guidance to understand what we will and will not fund.
  3. We expect applications to have been discussed with the relevant NCRI Group or Advisory Group.
  4. We expect patient and public involvement to be demonstrated in applications. Use our Patient and Public Involvement Toolkit for Researchers for advice on this.
  5. The NIHR CRN can provide support on a number of aspects of study development, set up and delivery through their Study Support Service. Applications must be costed in line with AcoRD guidance.

The Clinical Research Committee and its Expert Review Panels will judge your proposal based on the following criteria:

  • Clinical and scientific importance of the research questions
  • Alignment with our Research Strategy and Clinical Research Statement of Intent
  • Expected impact on clinical practice
  • Strength of study design, including statistical design and rationale
  • Adequacy of background and supporting evidence
  • Expected interest to patients and adequacy of the recruitment plan and supporting evidence
  • Expertise of the study team
  • Likelihood of successful study delivery
  • Appropriate patient involvement
  • Appropriate justification of costs

Does this scheme accept endorsements?

Yes. Academically-sponsored studies in receipt of educational grants and/or free drugs from the pharmaceutical industry can be submitted for CRUK endorsement.

Industry-sponsored trials cannot be reviewed under this scheme.

Does this scheme accept extension applications?

Under exceptional circumstances, applications for extensions to funding are accepted under this scheme. Please contact the Clinical Research Funding team to discuss the need for an extension and for access to an extension application form. You must read the extension application guidelines (PDF) before starting your application, even if you have applied for funding with us before.

Requests for no-cost extensions are also considered. Please contact the Clinical Research Funding team to discuss the need for an extension and for access to a no-cost extension form.

Does this scheme accept amendment applications?

Yes. Amendments must be reviewed by the Committee where there is a significant change to the study design, sample size or study drug. There are two routes for review of amendments:

  • Review at a Committee meeting: this applies where additional funding is being requested. An amendment application must be submitted to the advertised deadline for that funding round and will be reviewed at a Committee meeting. Please contact the Clinical Research Funding team to discuss the need for an amendment and for access to an amendment application form. You must read the amendment application guidelines (PDF) before starting your application, even if you have applied for funding with us before.
  • Out of Committee Review: this applies where no funding is being requested for the amendment. An amendment application must be submitted, which will be reviewed outside of the Committee meeting. A faster review is usually possible for this route. Please contact the Clinical Research Funding team to discuss the need for an amendment and for access to a no-cost amendment form.

Applications are assessed firstly by an Expert Review Panel, then final funding recommendations are made by the Clinical Research Committee (CRC).

Cancer Research UK contact details

Before you can begin your application you must complete an Expression of Interest and contact a grants manager to discuss you proposal.  

​Applications from Northern England, Scotland, Wales & Institute of Cancer Research

Ms Hannah Burkhardt

Research Grants Manager

Tel: 0203 469 6030


Applications from Midlands, Southern England (excluding ICR) & Northern Ireland

Dr Emma Halliwell

Research Grants Manager

Tel: 0203 469 5977

More opportunities for clinical researchers

Clinical Research

We support a broad portfolio of clinical research through grant funding, initiatives and investments in infrastructure, and we have a variety of funding schemes and other opportunities to support your research.

We are also committed to ensuring that clinical academics have the support they need to develop a career in cancer research, and we have a range of opportunities for researchers at all career levels.

Funding for pre-clinical studies now available  

Do you need to undertake non-regulatory pre-clinical research before beginning your clinical trial?   

You can now apply for funding to support your pre-clinical studies as part of your Clinical Trial Award outline application. 

See the Clinical Trial Award application guidelines for more information.  

Related guidance to download

Useful resources

Designing a clinical trial or study is a complex task, with many practical and regulatory hurdles to cross. Our Funding Managers share 14 resources to help you find advice and navigate the complexities of your study design and application.