A NEW funding scheme will support mid-career scientists looking to take the next steps in their careers, at a point when funding opportunities can be limited.
Cancer Research UK's Programme Foundation Award* will bridge the gap for researchers who have the potential to be the next world-leaders in cancer research but not yet at the level to compete with senior scientists for Cancer Research UK's Programme Awards – the largest award Cancer Research UK makes to research groups.
This award is the first of Cancer Research UK's increased investment in research announced as part of its new research strategy.
The Programme Foundation Award will provide funding of up to £1.5 million over six years. The funding will cover staff salaries, PhD students, running costs and equipment. Typically a researcher will have around eight to 14 years post-doctoral experience when applying for the award.
Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK's executive director of strategy and research funding, said: "Researchers are vital for what we do – we rely on their curiosity, passion and questioning to make the breakthroughs that will help more people survive cancer. But for many years there has been a 'missing link' in funding schemes to take researchers from the early stages in their career to being the leading stars of cancer research. The Programme Foundation Award will bridge this gap."
Cancer Research UK is also changing the eligibility criteria for another of its awards – the Career Establishment Award. This will now support researchers for six years, rather than five, meaning that there are funding opportunities for scientists at all stages of their careers with holders of the Career Establishment Awards expected to progress onto the Programme Foundation Award.
Supporting researchers at all stages of their careers has long been at the heart of Cancer Research UK's work with over £35 million spent each year helping to develop the research leaders of tomorrow. This month the charity supported the largest number ever of awards to support researchers taking the next steps in their careers. This includes seven Career Development Fellowships, two Career Establishment Awards, two Senior Cancer Research Fellowships and five Clinician Scientist Fellowships.
The Programme Foundation Award forms part of Cancer Research UK's ambitious new research strategy. The charity will invest up to £50 million a year in a range of new funding schemes covering some of the biggest questions in cancer research. These will range from schemes to develop the next generation of researchers to those addressing specific research questions to improve our understanding of the disease and find better and kinder treatments.
Professor Nic Jones, Cancer Research UK's chief scientist, said: "The new Programme Foundation Award positions the UK as one of the best places in the world for a scientist to develop their career in cancer research. We want to recruit the best people and help them grow at every step of their career. The medical breakthroughs of tomorrow start with investment in today's cancer researchers. This is how we will get to our aim of getting three-quarters of people surviving cancer in the next 20 years."
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