Prevention and Population Research Project Award

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Early career researcher
Established independent researcher
Mid-career researcher
Non-clinical researcher
Industry researcher
Research area
Cancer aetiology
Cancer prevention
Behavioural research
Statistics and methodology
Clinical trials
Final submission
Committee review
Funding period
Flexible; typically up to 3 years*
Funding amount
Flexible; typically up to £500k*
Prevention and Population Research Awards provide support for focused research proposals centred on key questions in prevention and population research.

You should:

  • Have some postdoctoral experience or equivalent
  • Be scientists, clinicians or healthcare workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals or research institutes

Scientific remit

PPRC Project 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.
  • Screening as a form of prevention, including population-level trials of screening approaches.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Policy-focused research to help develop Cancer Research UK’s policies and advocacy strategies concerning cancer prevention, including policy research on tobacco control.

Funding is flexible for both cost and duration based on the nature of the research questions, and can be used to fund:

  • Postdoctoral researchers and technical staff
  • Associated running costs
  • Equipment where fully justified for the project

The Award cannot be used to fund your own salary, or the salaries of any named co-investigator or collaborator, except as set out in our policy on funding investigator salaries.

*Project Awards can be shorter or longer than 3 years and the funding request can vary, provided requests are well-justified and based on strong scientific rationale. If you'd like to apply for more than 3 years of funding or more than £500,000 total funding, you must contact us to discuss this before you start an application.

Read our costs guidance for full details of what funds can be requested


Cancer Research UK is also giving applicants of this funding scheme the opportunity to opt-in to a new multi-journal pilot project on Registered Reports

 Find out more about Registered Reports 

How to apply to this scheme

Overview of the application process

It is strongly recommended that you contact the CRUK office for an informal and confidential discussion of your research proposal before you begin an application.  We will advise you on your eligibility and check your proposal is within remit. Please contact us ideally 1 month and no later than 2 weeks before a submission deadline to help us best assist you.

Outline applications (for trial proposals only)

If your proposal is a trial, please submit an expression of interest form form to the CRUK office. We will check your proposal is within remit and confirm whether an outline application is required. An outline application can typically be omitted where one of the following applies:

  •  You are applying for less than £500,000 of funding
  • You are applying for a feasibility study
  • Your study follows seamlessly on from a feasibility study previously funded by CRUK

  1. Once the CRUK office has reviewed your expression of interest, you can submit an outline application through our online grants management system, Flexi-Grant.
  2. Your application will be reviewed by the Prevention and Population Research Committee.
  3. If you are successful, we will invite you to submit a full application.

Full applications

  1. You can submit a full application directly through our Flexi-Grant system. Your submission must be approved online by your Host Institution before the submission deadline. 
  2. Your application will be sent to designated members of our Expert Review Panels (ERPs) for comments.
  3. You will be given the opportunity to provide a written response to the comments.
  4. The ERP will meet to consider your application, the comments, and your response to the comments. If you proposal is a trial, you will be invited to present to the ERP before they make a recommendation to the Committee.
  5. The Prevention and Population Research Committee will make a final decision on funding.


Applications for this scheme are considered twice a year.

Full Application deadline Committee review
20 June 2024 November 2024


For trials:

Outline Application deadline Committee review
28 March 2024 May 2024


Before making your application

  1. You must read the application guidelines before starting your application, even if you have applied for funding with us before:
  2. You must read our grant conditions
  3. You must read our costs guidelines to understand what we will and will not fund
  4. We expect patient and public involvement to be demonstrated in applications. Please use our Patient and Public Involvement Toolkit for Researchers for advice on this.

Applications are judged on the basis of scientific excellence, innovation, relevance to cancer research and to the priorities outlined in our Research Strategy, and potential impact on policy and practice.

The relevant Expert Review Panel(s) will make a recommendation to the Committee based on:  

  • Scientific excellence: all applications 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 prevented, diagnosed and/or treated.

  • Track record: the lead applicant and team members should have an excellent track record and potential to produce outstanding results.

  • Excellent team and collaborative environment: suitability and feasibility of the applicants to carry out the proposed research with access to the resources and facilities required for the successful fulfillment of the Award.

The Prevention and Population Research Committee will review this recommendation and also assess how your proposal fits into our portfolio and addresses the priorities outlined in our Research Strategy.

The 5 year rolling success rate (financial year 2017-2022) from application to funding for this scheme is 21%.

Does this scheme accept endorsements?

Yes. Academically-sponsored studies in receipt of educational grants and/or free drug from the pharmaceutical industry that are in remit to prevention can be submitted for CRUK endorsement. Please submit an expression of interest form to the CRUK office so that we can confirm your endorsement proposal is within remit in order to begin your application:

Industry-sponsored trials cannot be reviewed under this scheme.

Your application will be considered by the Prevention and Population Research Committee.

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. 

Bringing biology to prevention research

Our new Biology to Prevention Award supports research that harnesses biological and mechanistic insights to provide new targets and approaches for cancer prevention.

Case study: Brendan Delaney

Brendan Delaney, an academic GP and Professor of Medical Informatics and Decision Making, recently received a Project Award to advance his group’s research into earlier diagnosis of cancer. Here he gives advice on writing a successful proposal.

PPI Toolkit

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

Research events

Our Strategy and Research Funding teams attend and exhibit at conferences, meetings and workshops throughout the year.