Prevention and Population Research Programme Award

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Established independent researcher
Non-clinical researcher
Research area
Cancer aetiology
Cancer prevention
Behavioural research
Statistics and methodology
Clinical trials
Preliminary submission
Committee review
Funding period
5 years
Funding amount
Up to £2.5 million
Provides long-term support for broad, multidisciplinary research with transformative potential in prevention and population research.

You should:

  • Be a research scientist based at a UK university or research institution for the duration of the proposed award.

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

Scientific remit

PPRC Programme Awards can be awarded in one or more of the following areas:

• Population-based studies, including classical, clinical and molecular epidemiological approaches, to help understand risk and disease aetiology, and to test and validate strategies to improve the prevention and control of cancer in patients and the public.

• Incidence rates of cancer, including changes over time and geographies. Investigation into the changes in cancer survival, driven by risk factors or other relevant factors.

• Methodological and statistical research relating to prevention and population sciences.

• Population-level epidemiological studies of secondary physical effects of cancer treatment.

• Risk stratification and associated cancer prevention studies, including identification of high-risk groups for whom preventative interventions would be beneficial and in which preventative intervention research could be conducted.

• Exploratory and confirmatory clinical trials seeking to test the efficacy and safety of chemopreventive agents.

• Development and evaluation of behavioural and lifestyle interventions to support prevention of cancer, including cancer recurrence, across a range of risk factors, which may include tobacco, alcohol, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, obesity and UV exposure (individual or population level).

• Screening as a form of prevention, including population-level trials of screening approaches.

• Policy-focused research to help develop Cancer Research UK’s policies and advocacy strategies concerning cancer prevention, including policy research on tobacco control.

Please note early diagnosis research now sits with the Early Detection & Diagnosis Research Committee.

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

1. Contact the office for an informal and confidential discussion of your research proposal.  We will advise you on your eligibility and funding options. 

2. Submit an outline application, which will be assessed by the Prevention and Population Research Committee. If you are applying to renew your Programme Award, you won’t need to submit an outline application.

3. If your outline application is 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.  You can submit your full proposal to the next deadline, or the deadline thereafter.

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

All applications are made through our online grants management system (Flexi-Grant) and full applications must be approved online by your host institution.


Outline application

Full application

Committee date

28 Sep 2023


Nov 2023


Before you begin your application

  1. You must read the guidelines for the 

  2. If you are submitting a new outline application, please contact the office for guidance and read the guidelines for the 

  3. 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.

The 5 year rolling success rate (financial year 2017-2022) from application to funding for this scheme is 50%.

Cancer Research UK contact details

You must contact the office to discuss your proposal before starting your application. Please contact the relevant Research Grants Manager if you have questions about your eligibility or require any assistance with your application or active award.


For London and The South of England (including Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol) 

Dr Alice Burke

Research Grants Manager



For the rest of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Ms Emily Friar

Research Grants Manager


Other opportunities for prevention and population researchers

We support a broad portfolio of prevention and population research aimed at understanding cancer aetiology, risk and incidence, and translating this into future preventive interventions.

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.


Disability and accessibility support

We offer additional support for grant applicants and grant holders who are disabled or have a long-term health condition. 

Environmental sustainability in research

Researchers applying to our funding schemes from 2026 will be required to demonstrate the environmental sustainability of their laboratories by obtaining green lab certification.

Our prevention research strategy

Two people exercising, HPV vaccine vial and cervical cancer cell

Our prevention strategy outlines how we’ll work with our research community to create a world where many more types of cancer are prevented from developing. 

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.