Our research strategy

Making Discoveries. Driving Progress. Bringing Hope. Featuring scientists in a lab and patients.

Our vision for a better future

Over the past 120 years, our work has revolutionised what we know about cancer and how we can beat it.

Our research strategy builds on what's already been achieved and sets out how we'll work with our world-class research community towards a better future.

Read our research strategy

We're at a turning point

Our strategy puts discovery research and excellence at the heart of what we'll do. We must understand the mechanisms of how cancer develops and progresses to unlock new ways to prevent, detect and treat it.

It's built around 4 objectives – to discover, detect, prevent, and treat – so that progress in understanding the fundamental biology of cancer leads to new prevention measures, tests and treatments.

To achieve this, we will spend £1.5bn over the next five years, investing in creative people and transformational research. We will support research to reduce cancer inequalities and improve outcomes for everyone. And we’ll involve people affected by cancer in our work.

Opportunities for researchers



We support a broad portfolio of discovery research, including basic biology, genetics, and immunology, engineering and physical sciences applied to cancer

Explore our grant funding and other opportunities to accelerate your research


Scientist working in lab


We have a robust portfolio of clinical studies that aim to improve outcomes for people with cancer. We will support studies that are informed by discoveries about the mechanism of how cancer evolves and that enhance understanding of underlying cancer biology 

Explore response mode funding, initiatives and infrastructure for clinical and translational researchers


Crowd of people walking

Prevention and population

We will focus on harnessing biological insight to generate new, more targeted preventative interventions 


Early detection and diagnosis

We want to detect cancer at the earliest possible point of intervention by understanding the underlying biology of cancers and the transition from health to early disease 

Scientist working in lab

Therapeutic innovation

We're embarking on an exciting and novel approach to therapeutic innovation, uniting the strengths of our established drug discovery engines, our network of world-class biology, cutting-edge platform technology, and clinical expertise. This focus on accelerating the discovery and development of new therapeutics forms an integral part of our new innovation engine – Cancer Research Horizons. 

Scientist analysing genomic data on a screen

Data science

We will realise the potential of data science and advanced analytics, including artificial intelligence, to help discover better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer. 


Organisation strategy

Our strategy renews our focus on making discoveries, driving progress, bringing hope - leading us to a world where everybody can lead longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.

2014 research strategy

In 2014  we outlined our approach to accelerate progress in priority areas including early detection, translation, and developing world-class cancer researchers.

2017 progress report

Our 2017 progress report examines progress in the first 3 years of the 2014 research strategy. 


Rate this page:

Currently rated: 3.8 out of 5 based on 113 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think