Senior Cancer Research Fellowship

About this scheme

Key information

Career level
Established independent researcher
Research area
All research areas
Early diagnosis
Cancer prevention
Cancer biology
Preliminary submission
Committee review
Funding period
6 years, or part-time equivalent
Funding amount
Typically up to £1.75m
Supports group leaders to further develop their own research programme and build their reputation as a world-leader in their cancer research field.

Applications are considered from any area of our funding remit, including population, prevention and early detection/diagnosis research, but with the exception of any interventional clinical study/trial and drug discovery.

You should:

  • Have space and facilities to run an independent research group
  • Have a PhD or MD and extensive post-doctoral research experience
  • Be able to demonstrate that you meet the range of skills and experience as outlined in the ‘transition to scientific leadership’ career stage in our Fellowships Competency Framework

You should not:

  • Have a core-funded Group Leader position at one of our Institutes*

There are also some other locations that are not eligible; please contact us before starting your application to see whether your host institution is covered.

If your salary is fully funded by your host institution, you may be eligible for our Programme Foundation Award. If you are uncertain which is the right scheme for you, please contact us to discuss the best application route.

Career breaks, flexible working, changes in discipline and other personal circumstances will be taken into consideration when assessing your record of outputs, research achievements and career progression.

*You may apply to hold a Fellowship at a CRUK Institute provided that you are not in receipt of core funding concurrently to the Fellowship.

Please refer to the documents in the section 'How to apply to this scheme' for the latest guidance.

In these guidelines, we have set clearer expectations for organisations hosting CRUK-funded fellows, to ensure access to training, career progression support, and a clear and transparent commitment towards CRUK fellows' future career trajectory at the host institution.

For the Senior Cancer Research Fellowships, this includes a contribution of 50% of the award holder's salary, which can be tapered over the course of the fellowship. This approach to funding senior fellows aligns with the position from other major funders.

Funding support is provided for six years, or equivalent duration for part-time working.

We're very supportive of part-time working and for a Senior Cancer Research Fellowship we expect at least 0.5 FTE or 80% of your working hours, whichever is greater, to be spent on academic research. Find out more about how we support part-time working and extended leave in our flexible working policies.

Funding will cover:

  • 50% of your salary
  • Salaries for two postdoctoral researchers, a technician and a PhD student
  • Associated running expenses
  • Equipment costs up to £50,000
  • Relocation costs up to £1,000 if you wish to take up your fellowship at a new host institution (see application guidelines for more details).
  • A salary supplement for the Fellow of up to £10,500 per annum, calculated pro-rata according to CRUK salary support (not applicable to clinicians who have obtained their CCT)

Additional support

Our fellowships offer a range of benefits beyond funding, including access to networking and training opportunities, flexible working policies and an accelerated route through the Tier 1 visa system.

How to apply to this scheme

Application Process

Applications for this scheme are considered twice a year, and the application process has two stages:

(optional) Eligibility Enquiry Form: If you would like to enquire about a potential application, please submit a CV and an Eligibility Enquiry Form to the CRUK Office*. We will check that your proposal is within remit and advise you on whether the Fellowship scheme is appropriate for you. This information will also help us guide any conversation you might like to have about your application.

*Please complete and send us your form ideally at least 1 month and no later than 2 weeks before a submission deadline to help us best assist you.

1.         Outline applications:

    • Submit your outline application through our Flexi-Grant system
    • Your application will be reviewed by the Research Careers Committee
    • If successful, your application will be shortlisted and you will be invited to submit a full application. You have the option to defer your full submission by one round

2.         Full applications:

    • Submit your full application through our Flexi-Grant system. It must be approved by your Host Institution before the submission deadline
    • Your application will be reviewed by one of our Expert Review Panels (ERPs), who will provide comments on your application ahead of your interview
    • You will be interviewed by an ERP who will consider your application, your presentation at interview, and your responses to questions, before they make a recommendation to the Research Careers Committee
    • The Research Careers Committee will make a final decision on funding

Please note the Research Careers Committee has a restriction on the number of applications it can accept, and generally only considers two submissions to any scheme per applicant. If you are applying for a second time, you must contact us before starting a new application.


Outline application deadline

Committee Shortlisting

Full application deadline

Interview and Committee Review

5 October 2023 December 2023 22 February 2024 May 2024
21 March 2024 June 2024 12 September 2024 November 2024
3 October 2024 December 2024 February 2025 May 2025


Before you begin your application

Please refer to the following documents for the latest guidance.

You must read:

    If you have questions about the eligibility of your proposal for this scheme, or require any assistance with your application, please contact the relevant contact below.

    The Research Careers Committee will judge your application on:

    • Scientific quality and originality: your proposal must have a strong scientific rationale.
    • Cancer relevance: value of the proposed work in advancing the fundamental understanding of cancer or improving how cancer is diagnosed and/or treated.
    • Your track record and potential to produce outstanding results.
    • Suitability and strength of your research environment and collaborators: access to resources and facilities required for the fulfillment of the Senior Cancer Research Fellowship.

    The Committee will also consider how closely your research aligns with the priorities laid out in our Research Strategy, including earlier detection and harder-to-treat cancers (brain, lung, oesophageal and pancreatic cancers).

    The 5 year rolling success rate (financial year 2017-2022) from application to funding for this scheme is 24%.

    Applications are assessed by international, Expert Review Panels and funding decisions are made by the Research Careers Committee.

    Cancer Research UK contact details

    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 (except Imperial and ICR), The North East, Scotland, and Northern Ireland

    Dr Catherine Cremona, Research Grants Manager:

    For Cambridge, Oxford, and The South East and West

    Eve Riley, Research Grants Manager:

    For London (Imperial and ICR only), The Midlands, The North West and Wales

    Dr Fran Smith, Research Grants Manager:

    Please contact Dr Marjolein (Lein) Schaap, Research Programme Manager, if you would like to hear more about the support we offer e.g. CRUK Fellow meetings, activities and training, and to share any potential challenges you might face:

    Please refer to the 'How to apply to this scheme tab' for further details and dates for the current funding round. 

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