Funding for projects is increased to up to £37.5m over five years
Cancer Research UK is linking up with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to co-fund multidisciplinary research projects.
The new partnership increases the amount of funding for collaborative re-search to up to £37.5m over five years. Joint awards will be issued by Cancer Research UK, with the first awards decided next month. The move builds on the charity’s Multidisciplinary Project Award Scheme launched in August 2014.
The EPSRC is the main UK funding agency for training and research in engineering and physical sciences. Working with the agency will not only increase support for collaborative cancer research projects, but will also unite the expertise and scientific networks of both organisations, to ensure that the highest quality multidisciplinary work will be funded.
Multidisciplinary projects are already showing much promise. At Oxford University, for example, Cancer Research UK scientists with different expertise are working on new treatment technologies for prostate cancer. They are developing imaging techniques coupled with new fluorescent probes that make it easier for surgeons to distinguish prostate cancer from normal tissue during surgery, thereby improving patient outcomes.
Professor Sir Mike Brady at the University of Oxford, who will chair the expert review committee, said: ‘This partnership will provide exciting opportunities and increases the number of projects we can fund. We need to push the boundaries, exploring the integration of engineering and physical sciences into cancer research. Combining these two communities will inspire new ways to translate science into patient benefit.’
Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s Executive Director of strategy and Re-search Funding, added: ‘We’re delighted to build on our existing relationship with the EPSRC. We’ve made great progress, with cancer survival rates doubling over the last 40 years, but solving the challenges of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment will require multidisciplinary collaboration both within the biomedical arena and with other disciplines.
‘Invigorating new ideas and the development of novel techniques through innovative collaborations with engineers and physical scientists will really help drive cancer research forwards so that we can benefit more patients sooner.’