Children with Cancer UK is one of the UK’s leading funders of research into childhood cancer.

We fund a broad variety of research aimed at improving our understanding of childhood cancer and improving the outlook for young patients.

Research strategy

At Children with Cancer UK, our vision is a world where every child survives cancer. We are dedicated to improving survival of all childhood (0 – 14 yrs. old) and young adult (15 – 24 yrs. old) cancers. Over the past thirty years, we have witnessed dramatic improvements in the survival of some paediatric and young person’s cancers, yet there are still cancers which have a fatal prognosis. We rely on the generosity of the public to invest in research. As the UK’s leading charity dedicated to childhood cancer research, we are proud of our contribution to the ongoing breakthroughs which have saved and improved thousands of young lives.

Read our strategy

COVID-19 - Advice to research grant holders

At Children with Cancer UK, we understand that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant impact on research activities and the researchers we are funding.  During this difficult time we intend to provide a supportive and flexible approach to our research awards in order to address issues as sympathetically and reasonably as possible. Follow the link below to find information for anyone who currently holds a Children with Cancer UK research grant.

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An innovative open access publishing platform

AMRC Open Research

AMRC Open Research is the open access publishing platform for work funded by participating AMRC (Association of Medical Research Charities) member charities. The platform is hosted and manged by F1000 Research and enables researchers to publish any research output quickly and without editorial bias based on perceived impact. The platform gives researchers increased control over the publishing process and provides a hub for all data and outputs from charity funded research.

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Our conferences and workshops

Through our regular conferences and workshops, we bring together stakeholders in childhood cancer treatment and research to exchange knowledge and ideas.

We aim to provide a forum for clinicians, scientists and other stakeholders to discuss and debate key themes, share knowledge and develop new collaborations.

Cancer Conference 2023

Funding opportunities

Children with Cancer UK is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and supports the AMRC’s position statement on using animals in research. We support the principle of using animals in research when it is necessary to advance understanding of health and disease and to develop new treatments; we want to find improved treatments that will cure even the hardest-to-treat forms of childhood cancer, causing minimal side effects for the child. This research follows strict animal welfare regulations and only takes place where there is no other alternative available. Research projects are only funded by us after rigorous ethical and scientific assessment and licencing by the Home Office.

Children with Cancer UK has signed the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, alongside over 120 other organisations. Together, we have committed to enhancing our communication about the use of animals in research. For our full Position Statement on animal research, please click the link below.

Children with Cancer UK Animal Research Position Statement – June 2020

Children with Cancer UK values its partnerships with others in the children’s cancer community in our funding, campaigning and welfare activities, including other charities, funders, cancer organisations and universities. We are open to future collaborations and welcome enquiries via

We also encourage collaboration among the researchers we fund. For example, we have core-funded the Children’s Brain Tumour Drug Delivery Consortium and co-funded INSTINCT, a network across three of the UK’s leading paediatric neuro-oncology centres working to improve treatments for high-risk childhood brain tumours.

Assessment process

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Assessment process

The exact remit of each funding call is determined by our Honorary Scientific and Medical Directors and the Trustees after discussions with our scientific advisors. Project Grants, Fellowships and Studentships awards are annual calls, with a two-stage application process.

The first stage is submission of a short preliminary application giving an outline of the proposed research – the aims, methods and the credentials of the research team. Preliminary applications undergo initial internal triage to check that forms are completed correctly, and the proposed research is within the scope of the call.

Preliminary applications are then reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP). The most promising applications are taken through to the second stage, with applicants invited to submit a detailed proposal. Short-listed Fellowship and Studentship applicants will also be interviewed. The SAP aims to shortlist proposals with a total value of 1.5X the funding call budget.

Ad-hoc grant applications (i.e. those not submitted to funding calls) undergo a single-stage application process without a preliminary submission but are still subject to internal triage and the same level of peer review as applications that are submitted to funding calls.

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Peer review

The detailed research proposals are reviewed by external experts, from the UK and overseas, selected according to their relevance to the proposed research.

External reviewers are asked to complete a form to assess the detailed research proposals against the following criteria:

  1. The importance, originality, and relevance of the project
  2. The study design, including the likelihood of achieving decisive results, and whether the timeline is realistic, and the methods are appropriate and if there is enough statistical power, etc
  3. The credibility and justification of the financial request
  4. The ability of the research team to carry out the proposed work
  5. Whether the use of animals, if applicable, is adequately justified and aligns with the NC3Rs guidelines
  6. Whether there are any likely major obstacles that the research team may encounter

Each external reviewer provides written comments and an overall score, commenting on the originality, importance, design and costing of the proposal. Project Grant Applicants have the opportunity to respond to these comments.

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Final decisions

The applications, reviews and responses are then sent to members of our SAP who meet to discuss each application and agree which projects to recommend to the Trustees for funding, taking into account the funding available.

The Trustees make the final decisions, on the basis of advice from the SAP and the amount of funding available.

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