Research opportunities in brain cancers

Brain tumour research

Brain tumour survival remains low, and has changed little in over a generation. That's why we've made brain tumours a strategic priority as one of our four "cancers of unmet need".

We're boosting our investment into brain tumours, and we expect to spend around £25 million over the next five years on ring-fenced, targeted initiatives. We aim to expand our research portfolio across the research pipeline, and in all types of brain tumours, whether paediatric or adult.


Our strategy and priorities

Illustration of brain

We want to support the research that will make a real difference to people with brain tumours.

To achieve our ambitions, we’re building a dynamic, multidisciplinary research community through training, recruitment and by helping people shift their focus to brain tumour research. We’re also developing infrastructure to support hubs of expertise and innovation.

We’ve identified six big themes in brain tumour research which, if addressed, could significantly accelerate progress for patients. If you have ideas for tackling these challenges, we’d love to talk to you about making them a reality.

Funding opportunities

We have a broad portfolio of funding schemes to cater for research across the pipeline and researchers at all career levels. Brain tumours are a priority for all our funding committees, and our Research Funding Managers can help you identify funding that meets your needs and guide you through your application.

View all funding opportunities

Our infrastructure

Our extensive network of infrastructure provides state-of-the-art facilities, resources and platforms to support your research.

It can be difficult for clinicians to get a foot in the laboratory door. (Photo: Imperial Science Imagery)

Brain Tumour Centres of Excellence

We've established two new Brain Tumour Centres of Excellence to build capacity and create hubs of expertise that can drive progress in this hard-to-treat area.

The CRUK Children's Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence will create a hub of expertise and drive progress in paediatric brain cancers. Led by Professor Richard Gilbertson at the University of Cambridge and Professor Paul Workman at The Institute of Cancer Research in London, the centre is uniting teams across the research pipeline at the two locations. It has a particular focus on drug discovery for paediatric tumours, drawing on the strengths of the CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR.

A second Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence has now been confirmed, bringing together researchers from the University of Edinburgh and University College London, led by Professors Margaret Frame and Tariq Enver respectively. The new centre will tackle both childhood and adult brain tumours.

The Francis Crick Institute

Discovery research institutes

Our four research institutes provide an exceptional environment for discovery research. They include London's Francis Crick Institute, where cancer researchers collaborate with basic scientists in a variety of fields, including neuroscience and developmental biology.

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Translational research centres

Our centres drive translational research collaborations at 14 locations. Our centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh, The Institute of Cancer Research and University College London have particular strengths in brain tumour research.

Research Nurses discuss clinical trials at the CRUK Belfast Centre

Clinical research

Our Experimental Cancer Medicines Centres provide a unique service supporting drug development and early-phase clinical research.

Our Clinical Trials Units are experts in designing and managing innovative and complex studies across all treatment modalities and trial phases.

Our portfolio

We fund the best research from the best researchers, across the translational pipeline and the breadth of brain tumour types. The case studies below provide a taste of the kinds of projects and programmes that we currently support.