Worldwide Cancer Research Grant Program

Deadline Date: April 02, 2024

Donor Name: Worldwide Cancer Research

Grant Size: $100,000 to $500,000

If you have a novel, exciting and creative idea that could help prevent, diagnose or treat cancer, then apply for Worldwide Cancer Research Grant Program.

Worldwide Cancer Research mission is to kick-start the life-saving advances of the future by sowing the seeds of new discoveries today. They 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. They have a history of recognising innovative scientific ideas that have the chance to revolutionise cancer medicine.

Funding Information

  • The maximum budget permitted is £275,000, but it should be noted that most of the 3-year grants have a budget of about £200,000.

What do they fund?

  • Their goal is to support research that seeks to answer the difficult questions in cancer biology. They are looking for innovative and truly novel ideas that have the potential to revolutionise their understanding of cancer and how to beat it.
  • They 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. They do not prioritise any field of research within this; they 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.

What don’t they fund?

  • They do not support clinical research, including clinical trials, patient care, nursing or healthcare delivery research. They 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 them at for advice before submitting your proposal.

What are they looking for?

  • To help them fulfil the aims of their Research Strategy, and to ensure they realise their vision, they are looking for projects that meet the following criteria:
    • Starting new ideas
      • They are looking for innovative research that takes intellectual risks. To them, that means helping researchers turn their bold idea into reality. And if there’s a risk of failure, they are willing to take it, if the rewards for success are worth it.
      • They want to see ideas which have the potential to start new lines of research and to tell them something new about cancer and how it could be prevented, diagnosed or treated.
      • They want to make the most of their 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
      • They are looking for ideas that excite. The ones that make them go, “I wish I had thought of that”. They are looking for proposals with a creative approach to answering fundamental questions that could change how they think about cancer. Often these are ideas that other funders may overlook.
    • Scientific quality
      • They want to see the most exciting and creative new ideas, but they are also responsible stewards of the supporters’ donations.  They 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
      • They 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 them and their supporters, they 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.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The project grants are awarded to a single researcher, known as the Principal Investigator (PI) or the Grantholder. The PI is the person with the main responsibility for writing the application, and designing and directing the research project. The PI is also responsible for ensuring all requirements in this handbook and the grant terms and conditions are complied with.
  • The PI must be employed at a recognised, non-profit research institution. Honorary contracts and emeritus positions are usually acceptable. Researchers at commercial, for-profit organisations, e.g. biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, cannot apply for a grant. It is also not permitted for a research institution to transfer Worldwide Cancer Research grant funds to a commercial organisation except for payment for specific services, items and reagents used in the project. This includes transferring money to spin-out companies from the laboratory or institute.
  • Individual scientists from commercial organisations can be named as collaborators if they provide specific expertise or reagents to the project. The nature of their involvement must be made clear. Scientists from commercial organisations cannot be co-applicants.
  • The PI is usually a PhD-qualified, tenured or tenure-track research group leader. Other suitably qualified persons, e.g., medical doctors, with appropriate research experience may also apply as the PI. Post-doctoral researchers with more than three years of postdoctoral research experience at the time of applying are also eligible to apply for a grant.
  • Post-doctoral applicants who are not yet independent principal investigators must name their group head as co-applicant on the grant. Principal investigators who have established their first research group within the past 3 years are advised to add their head of department as a co-applicant. All co-applicants, group heads or heads of departments must have a minimum contribution of 5%, which could be as a mentor.
  • You cannot apply to Worldwide Cancer Research for a project grant (either as a PI or co-applicant) if you are currently applying for, or have received, funding from the tobacco industry or bodies substantially funded by the tobacco industry, within the last 10 years.
  • PIs working in groups or at institutes that receive long-term, or core research funding may apply for a grant, but only for a research project that is clearly distinct from that supported by the other funding. Before a grant is awarded, they will request documents relating to the other funding to confirm there is no overlap with the award
  • The PI must have a contract of employment that will last for at least the duration of the grant requested or be able to show evidence that their current contract would be extended if the grant were awarded.

For more information, visit Worldwide Cancer Research.

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