Experimental Medicine Award

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Established independent researcher
Clinician
Research area
Clinical trials
Biomarker research
Outline application
Full application
Committee review
Funding period
Up to 5 years
Funding amount
Typically £1–5 million*
The Experimental Medicine Award funds highly ambitious translational research conducted in association with a clinical trial or well-designed clinical study.

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 investigator-led studies for highly ambitious translational research conducted in association with a clinical trial or well-designed clinical study with the objective of optimising treatment and maximising patient benefit.

Translational research considered within the scheme must be associated with one or more clinical trials or clinical studies within the lifetime of the award, where it can be clearly demonstrated that the findings would directly impact on the conduct of the trial(s)/studies. Associated trial(s)/studies may be funded as part of an Experimental Medicine Award.

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.

If your study is first in human/first in class but does not require management/support from our Centre for Drug Development, please contact us to discuss your study in more detail and for advice on the most appropriate scheme.

This scheme will not fund:

  • Industry sponsored trials
  • Long term follow up
  • Collection or banking of samples for future unspecified translational research.

Funding support is provided for:

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

*Guide costs are typically £1–5 million for the duration of the award. Larger amounts may be considered with appropriate justification.

How to apply to this scheme

Application process

Applications for this scheme are considered three times per year. Your application will usually follow a 3-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 ommitted 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 proposal form, but an outline application can typically be omitted where one of the following applies:

  • You are applying for endorsement only
  • 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

Timelines

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.

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

Industry-sponsored trials cannot be reviewed under this scheme.

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.

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.

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 CRUK 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

Applications are assessed by the Experimental Medicine Expert Review Panel. 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

clinicalresearch@cancer.org.uk

Tel: 0203 469 6030

 

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

Dr Emma Halliwell

Research Grants Manager

clinicalresearch@cancer.org.uk

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.

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.