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

Career level: Established independent researcher; Non-clinical researcher; Clinician.
Submission deadline: 4 April 2024
Funding period: Up to 5 years
Funding amount: Up to £2.5million


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 and diagnosis (ED&D) research seeks to detect and diagnose consequential precancerous changes and cancer at the earliest possible point at which an intervention might be made, reducing the burden of late-stage disease.

ED&D programmes will support discovery and translational/clinical research which is mindful of the clinical and population context.

The remit of these awards includes:

  • Identification and validation of ED&D markers and understanding of disease trajectory

  • Identification of high-risk groups for early detection and diagnosis research and implementation

  • Data and computation-driven approaches to ED&D

  • Development and use of appropriate preclinical model systems

  • ED&D technology development

  • Non-confirmatory clinical trials of early detection/diagnostic technologies or approaches

  • Health systems research for ED&D

  • Research into clinician behaviour and decision support for ED&D

  • Evaluation of impact of early detection and diagnosis policies and interventions

  • Research to understand and intervene in the behaviour of the public to enhance early detection and diagnosis

  • Research into the health economics of ED&D of cancer

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.

CRUK particularly welcome applications that bring novel approaches from the fields of engineering and the physical sciences that could be applied to cancer detection and are mindful of potential clinical need, patient and population impact. As part of CRUK’s longstanding strategic partnership with the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, there is an opportunity for any successful applications with relevant research components in these areas to be jointly supported by both CRUK and the EPSRC.

> Application Guidelines for full details of eligible research

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

The award can not be used to fund the salary of the Principal Investigator.

Deadlines and application procedures

You have the option to contact the Early Detection and Diagnosis office ( for an informal and confidential discussion of your proposal. They will advise you on eligibility and funding options (this is not compulsory, but it is strongly recommended prior to outline submission).

The deadline for submission is 4 April 2024. Please click here for more information about the Programme Award and the application process and for contact details of the Research Funding Managers.