Statement of intent for early detection research

Early detection research

We've made early detection a strategic priority at an exciting time for this nascent field. Our Statement of Intent outlines the approach we're taking to help the field establish a mature and sustainable community, and realise its full potential to transform how and when cancers are detected and diagnosed.

We're much more than just a funder of research, and we're raising the profile of early detection through conferences, networking events, research innovation workshops and infrastructure investments. So whether you're established in the field, or contemplating whether early detection is the next step in your research career, we can provide the support you need.

Why we've prioritised early detection research

Challenges to the early detection field

In our 2014 Research Strategy, we set out our ambition to see 3 in 4 people with cancer surviving the disease by 2034. Earlier diagnosis offers the greatest potential to do this.

We've now broken this down into two challenges: early detection research, which seeks to advance the science and technology that enables us to detect cancer; and early diagnosis research, which seeks to understand and implement interventions in population and healthcare policy contexts.

With technological revolutions underway in areas including sensors, sequencing, and big data, early detection research is a field filled with potential. Our mission is to help this community overcome the challenges it faces as it grows and matures.

Statement of intent

We will accelerate early detection discovery and validation

  • We will support researchers along the translational pipeline from discovery to clinical implementation through our funding schemes
  • We will deliver research innovation workshops in partnership with EPSRC and STFC to apply novel technologies to cancer early detection problems

We will accelerate translation of early detection technology and approaches

  • We will require line-of-sight to clinical or population impact for all research investments
  • We will work with key stakeholders across sectors

We will encourage an integrated, multidisciplinary, systems approach

We will engage industry

  • We will deliver networking events for industry to engage with academics to build collaborations
  • We will support partnerships between academic researchers and industry through our Primer Awards and other funding mechanisms

We will build capacity in the community

We will develop infrastructure

We will build and give direction to the early detection community

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. 

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