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.

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.

International Childhood Cancer Conference 2019

Topic: Exploiting genomic medicine throughout the patient journey.
Newcastle, 9th & 10th September 2019

Childhood Cancer 2019 conference More about previous conferences and workshops

Funding opportunities

Research strategy

The incidence of childhood cancer increased through the second half of the 20th century and continues to increase today.

Incredible progress has been made in treating childhood cancers. Thanks to charities like Children with Cancer UK, childhood cancer survival rates have improved from 67.3% in 1990 to a predicted 85.5% in 2018 (1). However, the pace of progress has now slowed and a substantial minority of patients are failed by therapy and do not survive.

In addition, tremendous gains in survival have been achieved through the use of increasingly intensive treatment regimens, putting young patients at risk of both short- and long-term adverse treatment-related effects affecting their quality of life. Lifetime impacts of cancers and their treatments faced by young patients include increased risks of morbidity, poor health status and premature mortality following treatment (2).

Children with Cancer UK is a charity dedicated to improving survival rates and the quality of life in young cancer survivors and to finding ways to prevent cancer in the future. Our vision is a world where every child survives cancer. Our mission is to improve survival rates across all types of childhood cancer and support children and their families to live better with and after treatment.

Since the charity was founded in 1988, we have raised over £230 million to support research programmes, build research facilities, raise awareness, and directly help children and families affected by cancer by funding welfare projects and practical support.
We are currently in the process of refreshing our research strategy and expect to publish it in 2021.


(1) Office of National Statistics (ONS) Childhood cancer survival in England: children diagnosed from 1990 to 2014 and followed up to 2015 and Cancer survival in England: adult, stage at diagnosis and childhood – patients followed up to 2018

(2) Fidler, M.M. and Hawkins, M.M., 2017. Childhood cancer: the long-term costs of cure. Lancet (London, England), 390(10112), p.2530

  • We want to understand more about why children develop cancer, to find explanations for the increase in risk and to establish whether prevention is a possibility
  • We want to drive forward the development of novel approaches to diagnosis, identification of markers of likely outcome and improved treatments for childhood cancer in order to tackle those forms which still elude successful treatment and to minimise the risk of adverse, treatment-related effects
  • We want to understand more about the long-term risks faced by childhood cancer survivors, of whom there are now more than 30,000 in the UK.

These research aims can be broken down into the following objectives:

  1. To improve knowledge of the genetic and environmental causes and relevant biological mechanisms of childhood cancers
  2. To identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for childhood cancers
  3. To optimise and develop more effective and less toxic treatments for children with cancer, with a special focus on those forms of cancer that still carry a poor prognosis
  4. To understand the long-term health implications of childhood cancer and its treatment
  5. To promote the dissemination of research findings to achieve maximum impact

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

Please note that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to confirm when the next funding call will be announced. To receive updates, please contact to be added to our researcher mailing list.

We will address our Research objectives via the following funding streams:

  • Project grants: we will provide project funding for research addressing Research objectives 1-4 above
  • Postdoctoral research fellowships: we will provide support for outstanding postdoctoral researchers to develop their careers in childhood cancer research
  • Clinical Studentships: we will provide support for clinicians wishing to develop a dual career that combines novel research with clinical practice

The charity is increasingly hosting themed research funding calls that each focus on just one or two of the Research objectives. The full details of the timeline, remit, rationale and eligibility criteria for the call, and the size and types of grant available to applicants, are detailed in tender documents, application forms and guidance notes that are published at the call launch. Examples of previous calls can be found here.

Proposals for all grant types must usually be submitted by a UK academic institution (university, hospital or research institute). We will consider funding international collaborations where researchers from a UK institution play a significant role. If that is not possible or practical then please contact us for specific permission to apply. We can allow some exceptions where the expertise required and interest to carry out appropriate research is primarily at overseas institutions.

Please note that Children with Cancer UK supports the AMRC’s position statement on supporting research in universities.

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


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.


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.


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.


Children with Cancer UK is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), which sets minimum standards of good practice to which member charities must adhere in their grant-making, including policies on peer review.

We are also a member of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), a partnership of UK cancer funders.

Managing your Children with Cancer UK Grant

Find out how you can manage your Children with Cancer UK grant and how we will support you.

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As a charitable funder, it is important that we obtain information about the outcomes and achievements of the research we support. In doing so, we can communicate the impact and benefits of our research to our supporters. This will help us to fundraise and to support further research.

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