Cancer Research UK is the largest independent funder of cancer research in Europe and the world’s leading charity dedicated to cancer research. CRUK is committed to providing funding to research through a variety of mechanisms, from small pots of seed funding to larger programmatic and career development awards, as well as through funding infrastructure and international consortia.


The Centre team are here to help with advice on funding schemes, development of proposals and internal peer review. We also offer human factors expertise and can help translate your research towards the clinic. Whether you need clinical or EPS collaborators, we can help link up with the right people at ICR and Imperial to address key challenges in cancer. Please do not hesitate to get in touch about the following opportunities.



Calendar of CRUK funding opportunities (by month of the deadline):

CRUK funding


Upcoming CRUK Funding Deadlines:




    CRUK Response Mode Funding


    The Multidisciplinary Project Award funds projects up to £500k over 4 Years.


    This scheme supports collaborations between cancer researchers and scientists from engineering/physical science disciplines.

    Applications should ideally include:

    • a minimum of two PIs working in distinct scientific disciplines
    • at least one PI working in cancer research at any career stage
    • at least one PI from an engineering/physical science discipline at any career stage


    The aim of these awards is to generate creative research ideas and explore their applicability in cancer research. These awards are awarded jointly between Principal Investigators (PI) from engineering/physical science disciplines, and PIs who are working in cancer research.


    With a primary focus on multidisciplinary research, the research themes within remit for this award include:


    • The direct application of physics, engineering, chemical or mathematical concepts to address the underlying physical processes of cancer, including tumour initiation, growth and metastasis.
    • The development of new transformational approaches or the translation of technologies for direct applications in, or a clear path to, a direct application in the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of cancer. Proposals for the first applications of technologies in cancer research and those which demonstrate potential clinical applicability are encouraged.

    In addition, we welcome proposals across all engineering and physical science disciplines including physics, engineering, mathematical and computational modelling, chemical and molecular sciences, materials science, molecular/tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. For more specific details of research supported by Multidisciplinary Project Awards, please refer to the scheme guidelines.


    Multidisciplinary Project Awards are designed to fund individual project proposals; research proposals of a similar nature but which encompass a more detailed body of work may be more suitable for Programme Awards.

    Funding support is provided for:


    • Postdoctoral researchers
    • PhD students (stipend, fees and running expenses)
    • Technical staff
    • Associated running expenses

    Primer Award - £100k up to 1 year

    Project Award - £500k up to 4 Years

    Programme Award - £2.5m up to 5 years


    The Early Detection & Diagnosis (ED&D) Awards are designed to fund research that will enable us to understand and detect the earliest possible changes in tissues from a pre-cancerous state, into the earliest possible point at which we might be able to diagnose cancer make an intervention. These awards have now been broadened to fund an even wider range of research to reflect on the research pathway towards clinical implementation, including:


    • Understanding the underpinning basic biology of transformation events,
    • Identifying and validating biomarkers,
    • The stratification of high-risk populations,
    • The development of new technologies,
    • New data driven and computational approaches
    • Non-confirmatory clinical trials of early detection/diagnostic technologies
    • Health systems research
    • Clinician behaviour and decision support
    • Evaluation of impact of early detection and diagnosis policies and interventions
    • Understand and intervene in the public behaviour of the public
    • Health economics

    Researchers from a broad range of disciplines are eligible to apply for funding. We particularly encourage applications from engineering and the physical sciences, but you must carefully consider the specific cancer context of your research; appropriate biological and clinical collaborators are essential. This committee is also open to collaborations with industry which you might want to consider.


    Post-doctoral researchers are also eligible to apply for the Primer awards as lead applicants

    The Discovery Programme Award funds programmes up to £2.5m over 5 years.


    Programme Awards provide long-term support for broad, multidisciplinary research where the aim is to answer an interrelated set of questions.

    Applications are accepted from scientists, clinicians or health care workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals and some research institutions.


    The Discovery Programme Foundation Awards allow excellent mid-career researchers to develop their independent research group. It funds programmes up to £1.5m over 6 years.

    You should:


    • Be the sole Lead Applicant (PI)
    • Have a full-time post at a UK University which is committed to provide your full salary for the duration of the award
    • Be able to demonstrate that you meet the range of skills and experience as outlined in the ‘transition to scientific leadership’ career stage in our Fellowships Competency Framework

    You should not concurrently hold a CRUK-funded Fellowship or Career Establishment Award, or a Group Leader position at a CRUK core-funded Institute. Please contact us for advice on when to apply for funding if you hold a CRUK Fellowship or a Career Establishment Award.

    On completion of a Programme Foundation Award, you are expected to be in a competitive position to apply for a Discovery Programme Award.



    Applications will be considered in the following areas:


    • Basic biological research: Any area of basic biological research relating to cancer. Studies may include the use of model systems (e.g. yeast, worm, fly, zebrafish, mouse), cell lines (animal or human) or primary tumour material
    • Preclinical studies: Research that will generate biological data to underpin therapeutic development
    • Biomarkers
    • Imaging
    • Radiotherapy research
    • The application of engineering and physical sciences to cancer

    As part of CRUK’s longstanding strategic partnership with the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)(link is external), there is an opportunity for any successful applications with relevant research components in engineering and physical sciences to be jointly supported by both CRUK and the EPSRC. Applicants considering submitting a proposal with a significant multidisciplinary component are encouraged to discuss their application with the Office.


    For more specific details of research supported by Discovery Research Committee Programme Awards, refer to the scheme guidelines.

    Funding support is provided for:


    • Salaries for researchers and technical staff
    • PhD Students (stipend, fees and running expenses)
    • Running expenses
    • Equipment

    Project award – Typically £100k per year, up to 3 years

    Programme award – (no set value) up to 5 years


    The Prevention & Population Research Committee (PPRC) supports clinical and public health epidemiology and educational and behavioural research on cancer prevention, screening and early diagnosis.


    PPRC Awards have recently been updated and broadened to reflect research required to cover the pathway, so projects can be developed in the areas of:


    • Population-based studies to help understand risk and disease aetiology, and to test and validate strategies to improve the prevention and control of cancer
    • Incidence rates of cancer and changes in survival rates
    • Methodological and statistical research relating to prevention and population sciences
    • Population-level epidemiological studies of secondary physical effects of cancer treatment
    • Risk stratification and associated cancer prevention studies
    • Exploratory and confirmatory clinical trials seeking to test the efficacy and safety of chemopreventive agents
    • Development and evaluation of behavioural and lifestyle interventions for the prevention of cancer
    • Screening as a form of prevention (including population-level trials of screening approaches)
    • Policy-focused research

    Please note: Early Early diagnosis research previously funded through these awards now sits under the Early Dection and Diagnosis Research Committee


    The Biology to Prevention scheme aims to harness biological and mechanistic insights to provide new targets and approaches for cancer prevention.


    You should:

    • have some postdoctoral experience or equivalent
    • be scientists, clinicians or healthcare workers in UK universities, medical schools, hospitals or research institutes (including Cancer Research UK-funded Institutes)

    Early career researchers (those at the “develop independence” or “establish independence” career stage as defined by our competency framework) are encouraged to apply to the scheme as co- or principal applicant. Proposals with an early career researcher as principal applicant would strongly benefit from the inclusion of at least one established researcher as co-applicant, to provide mentorship.


    The Biology to Prevention Awards aim to stimulate translational research that will build and use greater biological and mechanistic understanding of cancer aetiology, genesis and risk, in order to lead to precision prevention interventions. We expect applicants to clearly justify the line of sight from the proposed work to eventual impact on lowering cancer risk or incidence (as outlined in our Prevention Research Strategy).


    These awards are for researchers at all career stages across any research area, including those from non-traditional cancer prevention fields (such as other non-communicable disease areas with potential common upstream causal risk factors, or those working in the context of therapeutic target identification and innovation) to engage with cancer prevention research. They support development of new collaborative partnerships, and truly interdisciplinary, innovative approaches. Collaborations between existing cancer prevention researchers (including population and behavioural scientists) and biologists, geneticists, immunologists, drug developers or other new entrants to cancer prevention research are strongly encouraged.


    Areas that could be considered include but are not limited to:


    • building on biological insight into mechanisms of early pre/cancerous changes to validate potential new prevention targets
    • translational research to develop and establish proof of principle for novel preventive approaches (pharmacological, dietary, behavioural or immunological)
    • development of novel approaches to treating/eliminating/modulating pre-cancerous lesions or changes
    • use of mechanistic insight or risk stratification to better target existing preventive approaches (pharmacological, dietary, behavioural or immunological)
    • developing and implementing precise understanding of the biological mechanisms mediating cancer risk from modifiable risk factors to reduce that risk (especially those that exacerbate health inequities)
    • gaining a mechanistic understanding of how, and in whom, repurposed drugs/dietary compounds confer their cancer preventive properties, and/or how these could subsequently be used for precision preventive approaches
    • identification and validation of biomarkers/surrogate endpoints which might predict future cancer emergence or the preventive effect of interventions
    • novel approaches to prevention research using surrogate endpoints and innovative trial designs

    The Biomarker Project Award funds up to £100k per year, over 3 years


    For development, validation and qualification of biomarkers for use in the clinical setting, where the biomarker will improve or aid clinical decision making. It is strongly recommended that the study be associated with a clinical trial(s)/cohort population.


    • All types of biomarkers will be considered, including predisposition, screening, diagnostic, prognostic, predictive, pharmacological and surrogate response markers.
    • Proposals can use invasive or imaging techniques.
    • Biosamples or images can be collected as part of the proposal or accessed from existing sample/data sets.

    Please note: pre-clinical biomarker discovery is not in remit

    Cancer Immunology Project Awards catalyse research and build the UK's research base in cancer immunology by funding immunologists from non-cancer fields.


    Applications are accepted from:


    • Scientists, clinicians or health care workers from UK universities, medical schools, hospitals and some research institutes.
    • The lead applicant (PI) must be an immunologist who should not have a demonstrated track record in cancer research.
    • Collaborations with cancer researchers/clinicians are strongly encouraged to deliver the project but are not a mandatory requirement.

    If you have a demonstrated track record in cancer, or are a group leader at a CRUK core-funded Institute, you are not eligible to apply for this award as the lead PI, but may act as a co-investigator or collaborator.

    The aim of the scheme is to build capacity in cancer immunology; therefore, if you already have a demonstrated track record in cancer research, our other opportunities in discovery research may be more suitable for your research.


    Your proposal should address key questions in the immunology of cancer. Applications can be in any area of immunological research, providing the cancer relevance is clearly articulated in the proposal, including any of the following key areas:


    • Cellular and molecular immunology: including but not limited to mechanisms of tolerance, the regulation of immune function, the development of memory, the interaction of immune cells with tissues and enhancing the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy cancer.

    • Inflammation, allergy, transplantation and autoimmunity: how the basic understanding of relevant mechanisms involved could drive forward our understanding of cancer as well as how sensing of endogenous changes in immune homeostasis, such as tissue damage, impacts on the sensing and development of cancers.

    • Immune response to infection: including but not limited to immunity and disease susceptibility/resistance and the development of adverse infections in response to immune therapy or biological drug intervention.

    If you are looking for support for the discovery and development of new biotherapeutics or immunomodulatory agents, explore our opportunities in drug discovery and development.


    You can apply for funding of up to £300k, which can be used for:


    • Salaries for researchers and technical staff
    • Running expenses
    • Equipment

    Cancer Research Horizons is an innovation engine built to complement Cancer Research UK’s network of exceptional researchers. It takes cutting-edge innovations from the lab bench to the bedside, translating them into effective treatments and diagnostics for cancer patients.


    With exclusive rights to over £400m of world-class cancer research each year, it is a powerful partner in the fight to conquer cancer.  It works closely with academia and industry to bridge the gap between research and the market, delivering maximum impact for patients.


    Specific schemes:


    Data Innovation Awards - All year round 

    The Therapeutic Catalyst will accelerate the translation of laboratory discoveries into novel cancer therapeutics. Deadline: Open (until awarded)

    Applications for funding are welcome from academic researchers with novel insights into cancer biology that may be targeted therapeutically to treat cancer, whatever the disease type or modality.

    We are seeking drug discovery proposals, including, but not limited to:


    • Deconvolution and validation of novel targets and pathways with clear therapeutic potential
    • Novel therapeutic approaches to validated targets
    • Development of platforms, assays and screens to identify novel cancer therapeutics or targets

    What is not in remit?


    • Target identification proposals based solely on the use of gene silencing or editing methods in commercially available tumour cell lines
    • Preclinical development studies to initiate clinical trials (e.g. bulk synthesis/manufacture to GMP, toxicology to GCP)
    • Biological studies to identify new potential therapeutic targets or exploratory studies to uncover underpinning mechanisms of resistance to therapies, novel therapeutic combinations and drug repositioning/repurposing approaches – we would, however, be open to discussing such proposals and provide input on these plans before submitting to our discovery science funding schemes.


    Successful projects will receive up to £250k for up to 18 months.


    Funded projects will run collaboratively between academic labs and Cancer Research Horizons drug discovery experts, with joint decision making and accountability for project progression. Cancer Research Horizons will cover all direct research costs associated with the project. This includes all resource requirements within Cancer Research Horizons drug discovery laboratories and externally. Academic funding can be provided for staff time (research or technical) and any associated running expenses.


    All projects will receive expertise, resource and capabilities from across CRUK and our wider investigator network. If appropriate, our Cancer Research Horizons Commercial Partnerships team will work with you to identify and engage with potential commercial partners or other options to accelerate the project to patients.

    Clinical Trial Research Awards


    Clinical Trial Awards – £150k per year, up to 10 years


    Supports clinical trials of cancer treatment, including systemic treatment, radiotherapy and surgery, with the aim of improving patient outcomes. Types of studies include:


    • Phase 1a/2 dose finding trials testing safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy
    • Phase 1b/2 or phase 2 trials testing the viability of larger trials
    • Window of opportunity studies
    • Phase 2/3 or phase 3 trials to investigate the efficacy, effectiveness and tolerability

    These awards will also consider new approaches that aim to achieve equivalent survival whilst reducing toxicity, or optimising treatment delivery, when applicants can demonstrate the potential for a significant impact on patient outcomes.

    The Experimental Medicine Award funds projects up to £1–5 million, over 5 years.


    This scheme aims to fund highly ambitious translational research conducted in association with a clinical trial or well-designed clinical study, with the objective of optimising treatment. The findings MUST directly impact on the conduct of the trial.

    The Prospective Sample Collection Award funds £15-30 per block, £5-20 per blood sample


    Provides support for the prospective collection of unique samples within a clinical trial, either where specific research question cannot yet be generated, or where specific questions have been generated but the funding to carry out that work has been or will be obtained elsewhere.


    Such examples of unique smaples could include:


    • cancers of unmet need
    • rare cancers
    • longitudinal studies

    Funding is provided for running expenses associated with the collection and pre-storage processing of blood and block samples, but not for long term storage or typically staff costs.

    CRUK Career Development Awards