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Apply for funding

Challenging the world’s brightest scientists to come together, think differently and take on some of cancer’s most complex challenges.

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Funding team science on a global scale

Through a series of £20m (c.$25m) awards, we’re giving you the freedom to think big, innovate at pace and carry out cutting-edge research.

Find everything you need to apply here

Our 9 challenges
focus on the following areas:




Extrachromosomal DNA



Normal phenotypes


Solid tumours in children

Choose your challenge and start building your team.
Each has the potential to transform cancer research.

Find full details on each challenge here.

How to apply

After you have selected your challenge, follow these 3 steps to begin your application.

Shortlisted teams receive seed funding of up to £30,000 (c.$40,000) to get their ideas off the ground and make their full proposal.

Winning teams will be announced in early 2022 and will receive up to £20m (c.$25m) over 5 years. This will fund research costs, salaries and equipment or licensing costs to support your team.

Read our guidelines

These include everything you need to know about eligibility requirements, how to build your application, the review process, and more.

Download the guidelines

Complete the pre-submission questionnaire

This must be completed by your team’s Principal Investigator to help us confirm your eligibility.

You don’t need to have identified all your team members at this stage, but must have a clear understanding of the different roles and disciplines that will make up your team.

Deadline for pre-submission questionnaire: 1 April 2021

Complete the questionnaire

Complete your expression of interest

We’ll get in touch to open your EOI after confirming your eligibility.

Completing your EOI is straightforward: you'll need to provide an overview of how you'll tackle your chosen challenge and the team you'll assemble to do so.

Deadline for EOIs: 22 April 2021

Global. Multidisciplinary. Exceptional.

Building a great team with the right mix of expertise is essential to a successful application. Your teams must be multidisciplinary and international. We’re seeking to harness ideas from across diverse scientific disciplines and the broadest range of experience possible to create unthought-of approaches that will transform our capabilities.

Consider carefully what the make-up of your team needs to be to successfully take on your chosen challenge. Every team will be different.

It’s never too early to start building your team. If you’ve decided on a challenge you want to tackle, or you’re even just thinking about it, reach out to your network and start exploring how you can work together.

For full eligibility requirements, read our guidelines.

Points to consider:

  • Your team must have a Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-Investigators (Co-Is)
  • Your team should be international, with researchers based in different countries and a maximum of 70% of the team based in any one country.
  • Your team should be multidisciplinary. We encourage teams to include team members who are new to cancer research.
  • Your team should be diverse. You should consider the balance of gender, ethnicity and career stage when building your team.
  • You can include commercial partners in your team as Co-Investigators.
  • You will need to develop a strategy to engage patient advocates (people affected by cancer) and engage this community and the public in your programme. Your final team needs to include patient advocates, but you don’t need to have recruited these members at EOI stage.

Key dates

Select your challenge and start building your team (from 14 October 2020)

Decide which of our 9 challenges you’re ready to take on. Reach out to your international network and start building your team of co-investigators from a variety of disciplines.

Submit your expression of interest (EOI) (22 April 2021)

Once you’ve completed our questionnaire, we’ll contact you to open your EOI application.

Shortlist announced (June 2021)

Our Scientific Committee reviews all applications. If your team makes the cut, you’ll receive seed funding of £30,000 (c.$40,000) to develop your proposal.

Submit your full application (October 2021)

If you are shortlisted, the Scientific Committee will provide feedback on your EOI. The Advocacy Panel will provide feedback on your patient advocate involvement and engagement strategy. You’ll also receive dedicated support from the Cancer Grand Challenges team to help build your full application.

Awards announced (early 2022)

Successful teams will each receive up to £20m (c.$25m) over 5 years to fund research costs, salaries and equipment or licensing costs.

Contact us

Read the guidelines? Still have questions? Get in touch with our team by emailing [email protected] or calling +44 (0) 20 3469 8855. Note our grants office is based in the UK so responses may be slower outside of British working hours.