Prospective Sample Collection Awards

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Established independent researcher
Mid-career researcher
Non-clinical researcher
Research area
Clinical trials
Pre-clinical research
Final submission
Committee review
Funding period
up to 10 years
Funding amount
£15-30 per block, £5-20 per blood sample*
This scheme provides support for the prospective collection of samples within a clinical trial.

You must be from a UK university, research institution, hospital or clinical trials unit.

Scientific remit

This scheme accepts applications that offer a unique opportunity to collect samples within a clinical trial either where specific research question(s) cannot yet be generated, or where specific questions have been generated but the funding to carry out that work has been or will be obtained elsewhere. A unique opportunity might include sample collections within rare cancers or rare subtypes, those with associated distinct longitudinal data, or collections in cancers of unmet need.

Applications where samples are being collected to undertake biomarker assay development, qualification and validation should be directed to the Biomarker Project Award scheme.

Funding is provided for running expenses associated with the collection and pre-storage processing of blood and block samples. Collection of other sample types is also considered where justified.

It is expected that staff salaries will usually be covered through existing infrastructure funding, but some staff support may be considered where appropriate justification is provided.

Funding is not provided for the long-term storage of samples.

*Guide costs are £15-30 per block and £5-20 per blood sample. Larger amounts may be considered with appropriate justification. The collection of other sample types is also considered where justified. 

How to apply to this scheme

Application process 

Applications follow a two step process.

  1. Expression of interest (EOI): submit an expression of interest form to the CRUK office. We will check that your proposal is within remit and open a full application form for you. Please complete and send us your EOI form ideally at least 1 month and no later than 2 weeks before a submission deadline to help us best assist you.

  2. Full application:

  • Submit your full application through our FlexiGrant system
  • Your application will be sent to designated members of our Expert Review Panels for comments
  • You will be given the opportunity to respond to the comments provided
  • Our Expert Review Panel (ERP) will consider your application, the comments, and your response to the comments, and you may be invited to present to the ERP before they make a recommendation to the Committee
  • The Clinical Research Committee will make a final decision on funding



Full Application Deadline           Committee Review   
29 November 2023 May 2024
4 June 2024 November 2024




Before you begin your application

Under exceptional circumstances, applications for extensions to funding are accepted under this scheme. Please contact the Clinical Research Funding team to discuss the need for an extension and for access to an extension application form. You must read the extension application guidelines (PDF) before starting your application, even if you have applied for funding with us before.

Requests for no-cost extensions are also considered. Please contact the Clinical Research Funding team to discuss the need for an extension and for access to a no-cost extension form.

Yes. Amendments must be reviewed by the Committee where there is a significant change to the study design, sample size or study drug. Both costed and no-cost amendments are reviewed by the following process:

  1. Contact the Clinical Research Funding team to discuss the need for an amendment and for access to an amendment application form.

  2. Read the amendment application guidelines (PDF) before starting your application, even if you have applied for funding with us before.

  3. Submit the amendment application to the advertised deadline for that funding round.

  4. Review of amendment application at a Committee meeting.

The deadlines for submission of the amendment application are:

Amendment Application Deadline       Committee Review          
4 April 2024 May 2024
TBC November 2024

The Clinical Research Committee and its Expert Review Panels will judge your proposal based on the following criteria:

  • Uniqueness of the opportunity to collect samples
  • Potential future value of the proposed sample collection
  • Alignment with CRUK Research Strategy and Clinical Research Statement of Intent
  • Appropriateness of techniques and procedures, including statistical aspects where applicable
  • Adequacy of background information and supporting evidence
  • Transparency of arrangements for sample discoverability and access for other research groups
  • Expertise of the study team
  • Likelihood of successful collection of samples
  • Appropriate patient involvement
  • Appropriate justification of costs

The 5 year rolling success rate  (financial year 2017-2022) from application to funding for this scheme is 53%.

Applications are assessed first by an Expert Review Panel, then final funding recommendations are made by the Clinical Research Committee (CRC).

Cancer Research UK contact details

Before you can begin your application you must complete an Expression of Interest and contact your Research Grants Manager to discuss your proposal and any questions you may have.

For applications from London (except for The ICR), Oxford, Birmingham, Southampton and The South of England

Benjamin Angus

Research Grants Manager


For applications from The ICR, Cambridge, The North of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Alex Fraser

Research Grants Manager

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We are also committed to ensuring that clinical academics have the support they need to develop a career in cancer research, and we have a range of opportunities for researchers at all career levels.

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.

Useful resources

Designing a clinical trial or study is a complex task, with many practical and regulatory hurdles to cross. Our Funding Managers share 14 resources to help you find advice and navigate the complexities of your study design and application.