Our funding criteria

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Our funding criteria

Our mission is to kick-start the life-saving advances of the future by sowing the seeds of new discoveries today. We sit at the very start of the research journey, backing brand new ideas and supporting scientists to ask big, challenging, new questions about how cancer works. We have a history of recognising innovative scientific ideas that have the chance to revolutionise cancer medicine. Your application for funding must meet the remit of our Research Strategy and the criteria for funding set out in our application handbook and detailed below.


What do we fund?

Our goal is to support research that seeks to answer the difficult questions in cancer biology. We are looking for innovative and truly novel ideas that have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of cancer and how to beat it.

We award project grants of 12 to 36 months in length to support basic, fundamental or translational research into the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of cancer. We do not prioritise any field of research within this; we welcome research that draws on epidemiological, behavioural and clinical data to provide a starting point for a new avenue of research. Multidisciplinary or discipline-hopping projects are encouraged where this helps stimulate innovation.

The research described in your application should be a discrete, hypothesis-driven project, achievable within the duration of the support requested. Do not describe a large programme of work - for example the work of your entire laboratory - and then request a contribution towards it - for example funding one member of the laboratory or part of the consumable costs.

Please see our Research Strategy and application handbook for more details.

What don't we fund?

We do not support clinical research, including clinical trials, patient care, nursing or healthcare delivery research. We also do not support other types of applied cancer research such as policy, public health or psychosocial research.

Proposals that contain a small clinical element as an essential part of a basic or translational research project are often permitted, but you are advised to contact us at [email protected] for advice before submitting your proposal.

Please see our application handbook for more details.

What are we looking for?

To help us fulfil the aims of our Research Strategy, and to ensure we realise our vision, we are looking for projects that meet the following criteria:

Starting new ideas

We are looking for innovative research that takes intellectual risks. To us, that means helping researchers turn their bold idea into reality. And if there’s a risk of failure, we are willing to take it, if the rewards for success are worth it.

We want to see ideas which have the potential to start new lines of research and to tell us something new about cancer and how it could be prevented, diagnosed or treated.

We want to make the most of our supporters’ generous donations by funding standalone research projects. Projects should seek to answer a focused research question, not be an incremental piece of research tied to a larger programme grant.

Exciting and creative

We are looking for ideas that excite. The ones that make us go, “I wish I had thought of that”. We are looking for proposals with a creative approach to answering fundamental questions that could change how we think about cancer. Often these are ideas that other funders may overlook.

Scientific quality

We want to see the most exciting and creative new ideas, but we are also responsible stewards of our supporters’ donations.  We need to see robust scientific reasoning and appropriate solid methodology to back it up. The aims of a project should be feasible with the time and resources requested, and with the expertise of the research team.

Transformative impact

We support blue-sky thinking in research and want to direct funding towards projects that could transform an area of cancer research or one day have a major impact on the lives of people with cancer. While impact on cancer patients is a priority for us and our supporters, we recognise that important discoveries take time to bear fruit and that it may be many years before the research leads to lives saved or improved.

Who do we fund?

The principal investigator on the application must be a suitably qualified researcher (minimum of PhD followed by three years research experience, or equivalent qualification or research experience).

Where do we fund?

We award grants to principal investigators based at any not-for-profit research institute in the world.

Check that your institution will accept our grant terms and conditions in the application handbook before submitting an application. These are not variable or negotiable unless they conflict with the law in your country.

How much can I apply for?

The maximum budget allowed is £275,000, but it should be noted that most of the three-year grants we award have a budget of around £200,000.


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