NCI, Cancer Research U.K. fund project to spur cancer research

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

August 27, 2020 -- The U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) has partnered with Cancer Research U.K. to fund Cancer Grand Challenges, an international initiative to support new ideas for cancer research.

The partnership builds on Cancer Research U.K.'s existing Grand Challenge initiative, which funds seven international teams across nine countries. Cancer Grand Challenges will use a highly competitive process designed to stimulate scientific creativity and bold advances in cancer research to improve outcomes for people affected by cancer.

The goals of the partnership between the two agencies include:

  • Identifying important cancer research opportunities
  • Facilitating global collaboration among multidisciplinary researchers to solve these challenges
  • Giving the global teams the freedom and scale to innovate and carry out cutting-edge research
  • Further advancing fundamental biological knowledge and its clinical application to cancer

NCI and Cancer Research U.K. will announce the list of new challenges in October 2020. Challenges will be determined through a series of international workshops to receive input from thought leaders from the cancer research community and a patient committee.

Submissions from research teams will be accepted from October 2020 through April 2021. From the submissions, a small number will be selected to receive pilot funds to further develop their ideas into larger, final applications. This funding will be announced in June 2021 and the awards to the final teams will be announced in 2022.

The agencies are expected to co-fund approximately four awards for each round of Cancer Grand Challenges, with each team receiving $25 million over five years. Three rounds of challenges are expected, with a new round announced every other year.

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