Research opportunities in early detection and diagnosis

Early detection research

We have a broad variety of opportunities to help researchers progress their early detection and diagnosis research or get involved in this field for the first time, from research funding grants to events and conferences.

We support research across the pipeline, from discovery research which takes us further in our understanding of early-stage disease, to translational studies and research which bridges the gap between scientific breakthroughs and clinical practice or healthcare policies.

EDx research areas diagram prototype

Cancer Tech Accelerator

Do you have an early-stage technology in development that is focused on diagnostics, MedTech or AI?

We’ve launched the Cancer Tech Accelerator, our latest entrepreneurial programme in partnership with Capital Enterprise and Roche UK, designed to equip you with the entrepreneurial and technical skills required to translate your tech-led innovations into a start-up that can benefit patients, especially in the field of early cancer detection and diagnosis.

Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer: a Roadmap to the Future

Derived from extensive consultation across the early detection and diagnosis ecosystem, the Early Detection and Diagnosis of Cancer Roadmap aims to unite fragmented efforts across the UK to drive progress in early detection and diagnosis. We’re calling on everyone from researchers and industry, to regulators, the NHS and the public, to combine efforts to realise a future where early detection and diagnosis is a routine reality. 

International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection

The International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) is a new £55 million partnership uniting scientists at 5 world-leading centres for early detection research. Scientists in the Alliance are working together at the forefront of technological innovation to translate research into realistic ways to improve cancer diagnosis. We anticipate that as ACED develops, the wider early detection community will also benefit from the training, funding, collaboration and partnership opportunities that we expect it to create.

Events and conferences

Our events break the barriers between disciplines and open up new avenues for collaborative research. We have upcoming conferences in early detection and early diagnosis, as well as online archives of highlights and outputs from previous events.

Event Key information

Innovation Sandpit Workshop: Novel technological approcahes for the early detection of pancreatic cancer

At this intensive and interactive three-day residential event you'll have the opportunity to network, form new multidisciplinary collaborations, develop new ideas and pitch for seed funding.

29 Nov – 2 Dec 2020


Early Detection of Cancer Conference

Our annual early detection conference brings together world experts across a range of disciplines to discuss themes including the biology behind early-stage cancers, new detection and screening methods, and enhancing the accuracy and uptake of screening.

6 – 8 Oct 2021 


Early Diagnosis Research Conference

Our biannual early diagnosis research conference explores research on the diagnostic pathway, including screening, public awareness of symptoms and factors in the primary and secondary care systems.

Spring 2021


Virtual Academic-Industry Meetups for Cancer Early Detection and Diagnosis

Are you an early detection researcher looking for new opportunities to exchange ideas and interact more closely with industry collaborators? Are you a company looking for academic partners to explore how your technology could be applied to cancer early detection and diagnosis, or to overcome roadblocks in your development?

Bridging the sectors of academia and industry, our virtual meetups will help you meet your next collaborator.

Jan 2021





Our portfolio

We fund the best research from the best researchers, across the spectrum of early detection and early diagnosis research. The case studies below provide a taste of the kinds of projects and programmes that we support.

Risk stratification, AI and bold new ideas: our latest funded early detection research

Radiographer looking at mammogram image

We’re using our funding to build a broad and strong early detection research community and we recently invested in 15 new projects and programmes in this field.

A transatlantic collaboration to develop blood tests that pinpoint cancer location

Dr Chunxiao Song and Dr Thuy Ngo aim to use epigenetic and transcriptome technology to detect cancer earlier and provide information on where the cancer originated from, using funding from our CRUK-OHSU Early Detection awards.

New-onset diabetes: a link to help detect cancer earlier

Professor Eithne Costello is developing a diagnostic test to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage in individuals with new-onset diabetes with the support of our Early Detection Programme Award.

Detecting blood cancers earlier than ever before

Blood cells

Professor Jesus San Miguel is leading an international, multidisciplinary team which is creating new models and datasets which will accelerate research into the early detection of blood cancers.

CanTest: bringing new and improved cancer diagnostic tests to GPs

Population Research

Our Catalyst Award is building capacity for a step change in population research, and has funded its first programme: CanTest – offering patients the right test, at the right time, and in the right setting.

EDAG funded projects and outputs

[Photo of nurse]

EDAG funds policy-relevant research or activities that are adding to the scientific evidence base to achieve earlier diagnosis and enable access to treatment.

Strengthening foundations: our Early Detection Partnership

We're partnering with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, a world leader in precision cancer medicine, to accelerate progress by identifying and tackling the barriers to earlier detection.

Preventing unnecessary breast cancer treatment: a Cancer Grand Challenge

Professor Jelle Wesseling is leading an international team seeking to understand which women with DCIS will develop breast cancer, in a £15 million partnership with the Dutch Cancer Society.

Spotting the earliest signs of cancer with a fluorescence camera

Dr Sarah Bohndiek, a physicist at our CRUK Cambridge Institute, is investigating new technologies for detecting oesophageal cancer cells earlier.

More progress in detecting oesophageal cancer early

Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, a clinician scientist at our CRUK Cambridge Centre, is trialling Cytosponge, a new device that could accelerate the detection of oesophageal cancer and its precursor, Barrett's oesophagus.

Our Moonshot pledge to accelerate early detection

Professor Caroline Dive at our CRUK Manchester Institute is using cutting-edge technology to analyse circulating tumour cells in a collaboration with the US Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Partnering with industry to discover new biomarker tests

We're working with Abcodia, the biomarker validation company, to develop new blood tests to detect a range of cancers, combining our complementary strengths and drawing new value from our unrivaled sample collections.

Our policy on early diagnosis


We work to ensure that diagnosing cancer early stays at the top of the agenda, and that research discoveries translate into healthcare policies and clinical practice in the NHS.

Resources for health professionals

breast scan

Find out about activities in the UK focusing on early diagnosis of cancer, including screening projects and resources, and our early diagnosis research conferences.

Our research on early diagnosis

Our scientists are looking at new ways to detect cancers earlier, and we've contributed to some of the advances that have seen cancer survival rates double over the past 40 years.