Research opportunities in basic science and discovery research

Discovery ResearchWe support a broad portfolio of discovery research, including fundamental biology, genetics and immunology, biomarker discovery and preclinical studies, and research into imaging and radiotherapy.

We also support multidisciplinary collaboration, and we have opportunities for researchers in fields such as engineering and physical sciences to apply their work to cancer.

Our research strategy is driven by patient and public benefit, and our portfolio of biology and multidisciplinary scientific research is focused on projects and programmes which have the potential to improve the prevention, detection or treatment of cancer in the future.

We fund investigator-led projects, team science programmes, partnership initiatives and make long-term investments 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.


Our priorities for discovery research

Our vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured, and our ambitious Research Strategy outlines how we will achieve this through a substantial increase in research in priority areas.

Alongside this, our discovery research Statement of Intent outines the practical steps we are taking to apply the strategy by funding discovery research which will transform our fundamental understanding of cancer and translate scientific discoveries for patient benefit.

When you apply to us for funding, we'll assess your proposal on several criteria, including how it aligns with the Research Strategy and Statement of Intent.

Funding opportunities

We have a range of grants available for you or your research group, whether you're looking for programme funding for your lab, grants for specific projects, or fellowship funding to develop your career.

Can't find the funding you're looking for? Browse all our funding schemes.

Develop your research career

Research Careers

We have a variety of opportunities for students, postdocs and early- and mid-career researchers, including fellowships, grants, training and events.

Early detection research opportunities

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Early detection of cancer is one of our top priorities, and we have funding and other support to help you develop your research in this field.

Opportunities to translate your research

Testube samples

We have a range of offerings to support you to translate your research for patient benefit. 

Our portfolio

We fund the best research from the best researchers across the spectrum of discovery research. 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.

Advice for applicants – Professor Gerard Evan

Professor Gerard Evan

Gerard Evan is Sir William Dunn Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, and recipient of a CRUK Programme Award. Here he shares his advice on making a successful funding application.

Tackling Pancreatic Cancer with team science

Pancreatic cancer cells (LRI EM Unit)

We've joined forces with Stand up To Cancer and the Lustgarten Foundation to build an £8 million Transatlantic Dream Team in a bold approach that does something conventional science funding is not able to do.

Unlocking potential – Dr Simona Parrinello

GFP-labelled tumour cells invading normal brain along blood vessels

Simona talked to us about how she prepared her application for a Programme Foundation Award, and how the funding to grow her lab is helping her realise her ambitions for brain tumour research.

Events and conferences

We know how important opportunities for networking and collaboration are, and we run a number of events for our funded researchers and the wider cancer research community. These include our flagship international conferences in the priority fields of early detection, brain tumours, lung cancer and oesophageal cancer.


Our partnerships

We build partnerships with other funding agencies, academic organisations and industry to deliver research. Our partnerships with the EPSRC and Arthritis Research UK to fund new multidisciplinary collaborations in fields such as physical sciences and immunology, and with agencies including the MRC and Wellcome Trust in the Francis Crick Institute, are just some of the ways we're accelerating discovery research.

Our infrastructure

We recognise the crucial role that infrastructure plays in creating a dynamic and responsive research environment, and we fund a variety of facilities and resources to support your research.

CRUK Cambridge Institute (Photo by Joe Dunckley)

Our Institutes

Our five core-funded research institutes support over 120 research groups across the breadth of cancer science, and include the multidisciplinary Francis Crick Institute in London. They provide an exceptional research environment and have an outstanding track record which includes producing four Nobel Prize winners.

Where next for cancer immunotherapy?

Our Centres

Our network of 14 translational research centres drives local collaborations between universities, NHS hospitals, and other research organisations. Our centres are a world-class network for the translation of cancer research, enabling discovery scientists to take their research on the next steps to patient benefit.

Pancreatic cancer cells (LRI EM Unit)

Human Cancer Models Initiative

The HCMI is developing a large biobank of new cancer models which you can access to use in basic and therapeutic discovery research.

canSAR: Cancer Drug Discovery Platform

CanSAR: Cancer Drug Discovery Platform

CanSAR supports discovery and translational research by providing an integrated knowledgebase that brings together multidisciplinary data across biology, chemistry, pharmacology, structural biology, cellular networks and clinical annotations, and applies machine learning approaches to provide useful predictions for drug discovery.

Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence

Our Centre of Excellence at Manchester and UCL is driving innovative basic and translational research in lung cancer, and sets the global agenda for this hard-to-treat disease.


Ximbio: Search, source and share reagents

We specialise in finding outlets for the variety of reagents developed in the course of research projects. Our mission is to ensure these valuable and often overlooked technologies are shared for the benefit of their inventors, institutes and the life science community.

CRUK-MEDI Alliance Laboratory

CRUK–AstraZeneca Antibody Alliance Laboratory

This innovative collaboration with AstraZeneca's global biologics arm gives researchers access to cutting-edge antibody technology for use in research as well as therapeutic and diagnostic discovery.

Contact us

Our Research Funding Team can help you find the right support for your research.

Dr Matt Kaiser

Head of Discovery Research

Subscribe for research updates

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Stay up to date with research funding and partnership opportunities at CRUK with our monthly Research Update email newsletter.

You can also follow our research funding, partnerships and strategy teams on twitter at @CRUKresearch.

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