CRUK Early Detection Programme Award

The CRUK Early Detection Programme Award funds long-term, integrated and renewable programmes of exceptional science to transform how and when early cancers and pre-cancerous states are detected.


You must be:

  • A scientist, clinician or healthcare worker
  • Based at a UK university, medical school, hospital, CRUK Institute or other research institution for the duration of the award
  • Able to demonstrate extensive postdoctoral experience and ability to successfully run an independent research group

Scientific remit

Early detection (EDx) research seeks to identify cancer or pre-cancerous states at the earliest possible point at which an intervention might be made. such signals will detect, but may also underpin prognosis/stratification/prediction of response to therapy and prevention. EDx projects will support discovery and translational/clinical research which is mindful of the clinical and population context.

We know that the chances of survival increase significantly for almost all patient groups if cancer is detected and treated at an early stage. EDx research offers the potential for transformational improvements in patient outcomes and will be essential in making progress towards our vision of 3 in 4 patients surviving the disease by 2034.

EDx operates across the full pathway of disease development: detecting events from the earliest changes suggesting initiation, to dysregulated growth, promotion to pre-neoplastic states/lesions, malignant conversion, and tumour progression. Each of these stages provide an opportunity to detect a shift in state, and ultimately to intervene to improve survival. Early detection can also be applied post-therapy, to detect recurrence at the earliest possible point.

The remit of these awards includes:

  • Biological research underpinning early detection and biomarker discovery and validation
  • Human-based EDx discovery research
  • Epidemiology and risk stratification for EDx (to inform populations for targeted research or screening)
  • Data and computation-driven approaches to EDx
  • Development and utilization of preclinical EDx model systems
  • EDx technology development
  • Translational and clinical EDx research

Find out more detail about the Application Guidelines

EDx projects may focus on any of these research areas, or any combination of them. All proposals should consider line-of-sight to clinical or population impact.

Programme Awards provide long-term support for broad, ambitious, multi-stranded programmes where the various work streams coordinate and integrate to address a central theme, asking an interrelated set of questions. They aim to encourage the research community to think bigger.

While the programme will have defined objectives, the expectation is that not all the questions will necessarily be conclusively answered within the tenure of the award, hence the opportunity for renewal of the programme. Parts of the programme may be a continuation of current activity; other elements should start new lines of enquiry.

What is funded

Awards are made up to £2.5 million for up to 5 years, and can be used to fund:

  • Postdoctoral researchers
  • PhD students (stipend, fees and running expenses)
  • Technical staff
  • Running expenses
  • Equipment

Deadlines and selection procedures

The deadline for Preliminary submission is 28 March 2019. Final submission deadline is 4 July 2019. Please click here for more information about the Programme Award and the application process and for contact details of the Research Funding Managers.