Statement of intent for 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
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 bring together researchers across disciplines through our international Early Detection Conference, sandpit workshops, and other events
- We will work in partnership to engage with non-cancer research communities, for example, through our partnership with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
- We will work in partnership to engage internationally, for example, through our partnership with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute
- We will fund research programmes and projects that adopt a multidisciplinary approach, and which consider early and pre-cancer at a systems level
We will build capacity in the community
- We will support early career researchers delivering their first early detection projects through Primer Awards
- We will fund PhD students and postdocs through Project and Programme awards
- We will invite early career researchers to observe funding committee meetings
- We will award fellowships and travel grants with EDx as a priority area
- We will develop new training opportunities through the International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection centres
We will develop infrastructure
- We will invest in new cohorts, sample collections, and model systems where there is demonstrated need for resource
- We will build resource through the International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection centres
We will build and give direction to the early detection community
- We will unite international leaders in cancer early detection, including through our International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection and our Early Detection Conference
- We will incubate and sponsor new collaborations, including through our funding schemes, sandpit workshops and networking events
- We will encourage researchers to tackle the toughest challenges in cancer research, including early detection, through our flagship Grand Challenge award
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.