What do I need to do before applying?
Find out more about what we will and won’t fund.
Recently funded research
Discover more about the types of research projects that we're looking for in these videos from three of our recently funded researchers.
The Pioneer Award Committee
Professor Greg Hannon
Group leader, CRUK Cambridge Institute
Organisation: CRUK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge
Discipline: Molecular cancer biology
Expertise: RNAi, cancer, non-coding RNAs
Professor Greg Hannon chairs the Pioneer Award Committee. His lab recently relocated to the CRUK Cambridge Institute after more than 20 years at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Greg’s extensive experience and pioneering work in cancer research (he works on RNA interference, a process that controls how genes are switched on or off) means he is ideally placed to lead the Committee as they seek out novel ideas that could break ground in tackling cancer. He has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and he was awarded a MERIT Award from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
Dr Chris Bakal
Group leader, The Institute of Cancer Research
Title: Group leader of the Dynamical Cell Systems Team
Discipline: Cancer biology
Expertise: Cell systems, morphology, dynamic cell systems
Dr Chris Bakal is group leader of the Dynamical Cell Systems Team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, which is funded by a CRUK Programme Foundation Award. His team carries out groundbreaking research into understanding the way cancer cells change shape and spread throughout the body. He has consolidated his extensive knowledge of basic cell biology and communication systems, integrating computational technologies to provide a holistic and system-level understanding of cancer. His approach reflects the sort of multidisciplinary activity that the Pioneer Award hopes to attract.
Co-Founder and President, Owlstone Nanotech
Organisation: Owlstone Nanotech
Expertise: Industry, development and application of detection (nano-) technology, medical devices
Mr Billy Boyle is Co-Founder and President at Owlstone Nanotech, a company that develops microchip sensors that can be programmed to detect chemicals at very low quantities. One of Owlstone’s projects was the lung cancer indicator detection (LuCID), which is a breathalyser to diagnose lung cancer. Billy has experience in business development and the creation and realisation of new technologies and Intellectual Property (IP).
Professor Josephine Bunch
Principal Scientist, National Physical Laboratory
Organisation: National Physical Laboratory and Imperial College London
Expertise: Mass spectrometry techniques, molecular profiling of biological samples.
Professor Josephine Bunch is a Principal Scientist at the National Physical Laboratory and Chair of Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry at Imperial College London. As well as leading research in mass spectrometry imaging techniques, Josephine is applying these techniques to generate novel, detailed molecular maps of breast, bowel and pancreatic tumours.
Josephine’s collaborative approach and exciting application of physical sciences to biological questions will be invaluable in the Committee’s search for revolutionary, inter-disciplinary ideas to further our understanding of cancer biology and develop novel solutions for patient impact.
Dr Umber Cheema
Senior lecturer in tissue engineering, UCL
Organisation: University College London (UCL)
Expertise: 3D in vitro modelling, biomimetic tissues
Dr Umber Cheema is a senior lecturer in tissue engineering at the UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science. Umber brings an extensive understanding of biomimetic engineering, which she has recently applied to the development of a reproducible 3D model of solid tumour growth.
She has collaborated with medical physicists, materials scientists and mathematical modellers, as well as industrial partners including Oxford Optronix and Sartorius. Her experience of working across disciplines and applying engineering to a biomedical context will help the committee identify promising projects at the interface between the physical and life sciences.
Dr Ian George
Chief Scientific Officer, New Wave Ventures
Organisation: New Wave Ventures
Discipline: Venture Capital, Diagnostics and therapeutic devices
Expertise: Early stage healthcare companies and technology commercialisation
Dr Ian George is vice-chair of the Pioneer Award Committee. He is Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of New Wave Ventures, a privately owned venture capital that invests in companies with development potential. Ian brings extensive experience in the development of early stage biotech companies and technology commercialisation, helping the Committee identify paradigm-shifting ideas and emerging approaches to cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Professor Danae Manika
Professor of Marketing, Newcastle University
Organisation: Newcastle University Business School
Discipline: Behavioural Science
Expertise: Consumer behaviour/psychology, advertising, healthcare marketing
Professor Danae Manika is a Professor of Marketing at Newcastle University Business School. Danae brings to the Committee expertise in consumer psychology, health marketing communications and advertising. Her interest in tackling health and environmental issues from a behaviour change and communications perspective will help the Committee recognise innovative ideas in population research.
Dr Ultan McDermott
Chief Scientist, AstraZeneca
Organisation: AstraZeneca / Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge
Discipline: Clinician, cancer genomics, drug resistance
Expertise: Personalised cancer medicine, cancer genomics, computational biology
Dr Ultan McDermott is Chief Scientist in Oncology at AstraZeneca and a medical oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Ultan has a lifelong interest in exploring the complexities of how and why some people with cancer don’t respond to specific drugs – in particular carrying out genetic screens in different cancers to explore routes for developing personalised medicines. His clinical experience provides the Committee with critical understanding of experimental design with a patient-focus.
Professor Jim Norman
Senior group leader, CRUK Beatson Institute
Organisation: CRUK Beatson Institute
Discipline: Cancer cell biology
Expertise: Integrin cell biology, invasion, metastasis
Professor Jim Norman is a senior group leader of the Integrin Cell Biology team at the CRUK Beatson Institute. Jim’s research focuses on a group of adhesion receptors that control the growth, migration and development of cancer cells. His understanding of basic cell biology provides crucial expertise to help the Committee judge applications which are grounded in solid biology.
Dr Sergio Quezada
Group leader, UCL Cancer Institute
Title: Group leader of the Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Group
Discipline: Cancer immunology
Expertise: Immune regulation and tumour immunotherapy
Dr Sergio Quezada is head of the immune regulation and tumour immunotherapy group at the University College London (UCL) Cancer Institute. Sergio’s group focuses on understanding the role of the body’s immune system in cancer, a promising area of research, offering fertile ground for further work and inspiration for new approaches to diagnostics and treatment.
Sergio has been awarded the John W. Strohbern Medal for excellence in biomedical research and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI-New York) investigator Award.