Population Research Programme Awards

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Established independent researcher
Non-clinical researcher
Research area
Cancer aetiology
Early diagnosis
Behavioural research
Cancer prevention
Statistics and methodology
Preliminary submission
Final submission
Committee review
Funding period
5 years
Funding amount
no set value
Programme Awards provide long-term support for broad, multidisciplinary research, led by outstanding individuals with an established scientific track record.

You should:

  • Be a scientist, clinician or healthcare worker based at a UK university, medical school, hospital or research institution for the duration of the proposed award.

  • Have extensive postdoctoral experience, an internally-recognised track record, and ability to successfully run an independent research group.

Scientific remit

​PRC Programme Awards can be awarded in the areas of:

  • Early diagnosis
  • Prevention
  • Epidemiology

There is no fixed value for funding requests for Programme Awards. Funding lasts 5 years, conditional on an annual Scientific Milestone Report review.

Funding can be used for:

  • Salaries of postdoctoral researchers, technical staff and PhD students (stipend and fees)

  • Associated running costs

  • Equipment costing up to £50,000

The Award cannot be used to fund your own salary, but may be used to fund the salary of a maximum of one co-investigator or other senior researcher as named research staff as set out in our Policy on Funding Investigator Salaries.

How to apply to this scheme

​Overview of the application process

New Programme Award applications are considered once a year and the application process has 3 stages:

  1. Submit an outline application of 2,000 words, which will assessed by the Population Research Committee in May.

  2. If successful, you will be invited to submit a full application which will be peer-reviewed by experts and you will have the opportunity to respond to comments. It will also be assessed by the relevant expert review panel(s).

  3. You will be invited to present to and be questioned by the Population Research Committee in November, which will make the final decision on your full application.

If you are applying to renew your Programme Award, you won’t need to submit an outline application.


Outline application

Full application

Committee date

7 March 2019

19 June 2019

November 2019

5 March 2020

18 June 2020

November 2020

Before you begin your application

  1. You must read the guidelines for outline applications and/or full applications.

  2. You must contact the office to discuss eligibility and the suitability of your research proposal


Applications are judged on the basis of scientific excellence, innovation and relevance to cancer research. Our panels and committee will consider:

  • Scientific excellence: your application must have a strong scientific rationale to support the proposed research proposal.

  • Cancer-relevance: likely to advance value of the proposed work in advancing the fundamental understanding of cancer or improving how cancer is diagnosed and/or treated.

  • Track record: you and your team members should have an excellent track record and potential to produce outstanding results.

  • Excellent team and collaborative environment: suitability and feasibility of the Lead Applicant/s (and supporting roles) to carry out the proposed research with access to the resources and facilities required for the successful fulfillment of the Award. It is important to demonstrate the added value of the proposed collaboration and the individual contributions, as well as the steps taken to ensure an effective collaboration

The committee will also consider the strategic value of the proposal as a long-term Award, such as capacity building and succession planning. We also look at how the proposed research aligns with the priorities set out in our Research Strategy.

Cancer Research UK contact details

You must contact the funding manager for this scheme to discuss your proposal before starting your application.

Dr Anbalakan Paramasivam

Senior Research Funding Manager 

Email: prc@cancer.org.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3469 8824

More opportunities for population researchers

Population Research

We support a broad portfolio of population research, including behavioural research, epidemiology, public health, and research into cancer prevention and early diagnosis.

We fund investigator-led projects, partnership initiatives, research facilities and resources, and we have a range of opportunities to help you develop your research career.


PPI Toolkit

Our Patient and Public Involvement Toolkit for researchers is your resource for planning and carrying out involvement activities.

Richard Martin: How to write an award-winning population research funding proposal

Professor Richard Martin

Richard Martin, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and leader of the CRUK-funded CAP trial of prostate cancer screening, talked to us about the impact of the study and the advice he’d give researchers seeking funding for population research.