Research opportunities in prevention and population research

The future of cancer prevention research. Two people exercising, a HPV vaccine vial and a scientific image of cervical cancer cells.

The future of cancer prevention research

Our new prevention strategy outlines how we’ll work with our research community to create a world where many more types of cancer are prevented from developing. 

Read our prevention research strategy

Research suggests that around 4 in 10 cancers could be prevented through known modifiable risk factors, such as tobacco use and obesity. But by understanding more about how cancer develops and translating this knowledge into more precise interventions, we could prevent many more cases of the disease.

We support a broad portfolio of prevention and population research aimed at understanding the epidemiology of cancer, cancer risk, incidence and survival and preventative interventions.

Our strategy for cancer prevention research

With cancer incidence increasing, prevention research is critical for saving lives and reducing pressure on global health systems. A new era of biological tools and insights has unlocked an opportunity to transform what’s possible in cancer prevention research.

To meet this challenge and make the most of this opportunity, we will build on biological insights and mechanistic understanding to inform a new wave of more precise preventive interventions that decrease cancer incidence equitably across society. 

Our new prevention research strategy is a statement of intent to the global research community and will guide our planning and investments. We will focus on 5 strategic themes:

  • Bringing biology to prevention
    Harness fundamental biological insight to provide new targets for cancer prevention.
  • Deepening our understanding of risk
    Deliver a more thorough and integrated understanding of population and individual risks of developing cancer in order to develop precision prevention measures.
  • Reaching further with precision prevention
    Develop novel, disruptive preventive interventions, precisely targeted to risk factors and mechanistic pathways, through behavioural, pharmacological and immunological means.
  • Understanding and addressing health inequities in cancer incidence
    Deliver research to support a more effective and equitable public health agenda in cancer prevention.
  • Building prevention research capacity and community
    Attract new researchers and novel thinking across career stages and disciplines.

Read our prevention strategy 

Funding opportunities

We fund investigator-led projects, partnership initiatives and invest in research facilities and resources. We're also committed to supporting the next generation of cancer researchers, and have a range of opportunities to help you develop your research career or apply your population research expertise to cancer for the first time. 

If your research is focused on the underlying biological mechanisms of cancer genesis, understanding the aetiology of known or novel carcinogens/modifiable risk factors, consider applying for our new Biology to Prevention Award. This funding scheme supports research that harnesses biological and mechanistic insights to provide new targets and approaches for cancer prevention.

You may also want to take a look at our discovery research funding opportunities

Our portfolio

We fund the best research from the best researchers, across the spectrum of population research related to cancer. We focus our portfolio on research which has the potential to make a practical impact on clinical practice or public policy for patient and public benefit.

You can find out who we have recently funded, or browse the case studies below for a taste of the kinds of projects and programmes that we support.

Richard Martin: How to write an award-winning population research funding proposal

Professor Richard Martin

Richard Martin, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and leader of the CRUK-funded CAP trial of prostate cancer screening, talked to us about the impact of the study and the advice he’d give researchers seeking funding for population research.

Cracking aspirin's anti-cancer properties

We've launched an international collaboration to answer the final questions before aspirin could be recommended to reduce cancer risk, funded by our Catalyst Award.

Using patient data in research to improve treatments and survival

Hospital worker with patient records-Luton Hospital

We caught up with Willie Hamilton and Fiona Walter to find out why, with appropriate safeguards, making patient data accessible for research is so important for beating cancer sooner.