Early Detection Primer Award
About this scheme
To stimulate and develop the early detection field, we're encouraging early-career researchers, scientists new to early detection and/or cancer research, as well as established early detection researchers to apply for Primer Awards.
- Have some postdoctoral experience or equivalent
- Be scientists, clinicians or healthcare workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals, or research institutes
With this award, we're challenging you to consider how you can utilise skills and techniques in innovative ways to detect cancers earlier. Primer Awards provide seed funding to develop new relationships, ideas and lines of research, and the generation of pilot data.
The award aims to encourage scientists at all career stages to engage with the early detection of cancer field. It will support new and exploratory research ideas and/or pilot studies of high scientific risk and potential reward. It supports the development of new partnerships and exploration of highly novel concepts, involving researchers from any research area, including from non-traditional cancer fields.
Areas that could be considered include:
Development of novel technology to address an area of need in the early detection of cancer field
Development or modification of existing technology from other research fields or sectors, to be applied to an early detection question
Innovative and ‘out-of-the-box’ lines of investigation within early detection
Establishment and development of new collaborations or consortia to tackle an early detection area of need
Bringing individuals and skillsets into early detection which have not previously been applied there
Funding can contribute towards generating pilot data for a new and exciting idea, establishing and developing new collaborations, testing a new technology or using an existing technology in an innovative way. We envisage that data generated or collaborations established through a Primer Award will form the basis for a more extensive future project within early detection.
Out of remit
Proposals for research in these fields are likely to be ineligible for this funding scheme:
- Research which does not have any line-of-sight to impact on early detection – this may be eligible for our discovery research funding opportunities.
- Early diagnosis research which seeks to understand the role of patient and healthcare professional behaviour and the healthcare system, and to develop interventions in a population or clinical context – this may be eligible for our population research funding opportunities.
If you are unsure which funding scheme is most appropriate for your research, please get in touch to discuss your proposal.
The award will provide up to 1 year of flexible seed funding up to £100k. Funding could cover:
- Salaries for postdocs or technical staff
- Experimental expenses
- Associated running expenses
- Collaborative travel and networking costs
- Training courses
- People exchange
How to apply to this scheme
We strongly recommend you contact the Early Detection office for an informal and confidential discussion of your proposal. We will advise you on eligibility, remit and funding options.
Submit your application through our online grants management system (eGMS). Your final application must be approved online by your host institution.
Your application will be considered by the Early Detection Committee.
Before you begin your application
You must read:
The Early Detection Primer Award aims to catalyse growth of the early detection field and encourage engagement with the research area. Your application may concern experimental work to gather pilot data and may consider the development of novel technologies, using existing technologies in innovative ways and/or innovative models or ideas within early detection. You could also use the Primer Award to establish a new collaboration or access training to develop skills and standing in the early detection field.
We welcome proposals from a broad range of fields, including:
- Computer and data sciences
Whatever the nature of your proposal, the benefit of the project to advancing the early detection field should be clear. This could be in the form of generating pilot data leading to a bigger project, testing the feasibility of an idea or technology in an early detection setting, generating new collaborations which will contribute to the field in the future, or providing an opportunity for talented and ambitious researchers to establish themselves in the early detection field.
In your application, you should consider and discuss the potential future clinical/population impact of the proposed work. The line of sight to clinical/population application may be during or downstream of the proposed project. This may be the eventual implementation of a new technology or biomarker in the clinic, or the value of a collaboration to long-term early detection work. Appropriate involvement of clinical/population expertise to ensure this line-of-sight is encouraged.
You should ensure you have a suitable team to adequately consider the questions addressed in the proposal, including co-applicants and collaborators where relevant. We encourage multidisciplinary, international and industrial collaboration where appropriate to the science proposed. For example, this could involve collaboration between biologists, clinical researchers, engineers, physical scientists, maths/stats/computation expertise, population scientists or industry. You should clearly articulate the added value of each collaboration in your application.
The Early Detection Committee will consider your application based on:
- Scientific excellence and innovation
- Clear articulation of the challenge to be addressed
- Cancer early detection relevance
- Clarity of line-of-sight to clinical/population impact
- Team composition: are the right skillsets to deliver the proposed work and achieve impact in place? Do any collaborations between disciplines, institutions or with industry add value to the project?
- Is the right infrastructure in place to deliver the proposed research?
Cancer Research UK contact details
Early detection of cancer is one of our top priorities and we have funding and other support to help you develop your early detection research, whether you're established in the field, early in your career, or applying your research to early detection for the first time.
We have a range of funding opportunities catering for a broad research community at all career stages and in any research field which can impact on earlier detection and diagnosis of cancer.
Looking for a collaborator for this award?
Submit your details and search for a potential partner using our Early Detection Collaboration Matcher.