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

  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 your application through our online grants management system. Your final application must be approved online by your host institution. Your application will be peer-reviewed by experts and you will have the opportunity to respond to comments.
  3. Your application will be considered by the Prevention and Population Research Committee.


Applications for this scheme are considered twice a year.

Application deadline Committee review
22 June 2023 Nov 2023


Before making your application

  1. Contact the office to discuss your eligibility and suitability of your research proposal.

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%.

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

Cancer Research UK contact details

You are encouraged to discuss your proposal with the office before starting your application.


Dr Anbalakan ParamasivamDr Anbalakan Paramasivam

Research Programme Manager

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3469 8824


 Dr Kirsty NaylorDr Kirsty Naylor

Research Grants Manager


Tel: +44 (0) 20 3469 5285

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.


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.