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Our Research Strategy

It is sometimes difficult for research scientists to know exactly which fields are of interest to the various funding bodies. AICR has a well defined research strategy which is set out below. We hope this will assist both scientists and donors when deciding whether we are the appropriate point of contact.

Research Strategy

The Association's constitution defines its objectives as:

  • To promote, conduct and support research into the causes, prevention, treatment and cure of cancer and associated conditions, and to promote publication of the useful results of such research.
  • To promote, conduct and support research and surveys in cancer, its possible causes and its effects (physical, social or otherwise), and to promote publication of useful results of such research.

Within these objectives, AICR has adopted a policy on the research which has evolved over time with input from AICR's Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Committee.

1. AICR policy is to support research into the causes, mechanisms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. This support is not limited to the UK but is available to researchers working in recognised research institutions in any country in the world. AICR encourages collaboration between research groups in different institutions and different countries.

2. Cancer research can be broadly divided into fundamental research and clinical research, although there are many different definitions of each which cover wider or narrower areas. When the narrower definitions are used, the area between the two is described as translational research. AICR policy is to support both basic and translational research. The Association operates this policy by defining the types of clinical research that it will not support. These include, but are not necessarily limited to, clinical trials, intervention studies and research into the effectiveness (defined by health, quality of life or economic criteria) of particular medical interventions.

3. Within this definition of fundamental and translational research, AICR does not give any particular area of research greater priority, but awards its funds on the basis of the scientific quality of the applications received. All other factors being equal, preference is shown towards

  • applications from younger researchers who are establishing themselves as principle investigators; and
  • innovative research.

4. The majority of AICR's research funding takes the form of three year project grants which cover the direct costs of conducting the research, but not the indirect and infrastructure costs, which are met by the research institutions. AICR also awards six-year cancer research fellowships, which include the principle investigator's salary.

5. AICR only supports research conducted at non-profit-making institutions and for non-profit-making purposes. We reserve the right to share in the intellectual property rights and any resulting financial benefits that result from research funded by the Association, so that any such profits may be directed towards our charitable objectives. However, we maintain a clear policy that we will not support research in an institution or in a situation where we believe that the main purpose of the research being conducted is for the profit of another person or organisation.

"What I like about AICR is that the review process is very strong. When you see the names on the SAC and the reviewers that give feedback, they are very high quality, and you can have full confidence in the judgments that are made. The only limitation is that there should be more money. Then more of these projects could be awarded grants, because the quality is really good."

Dr Jos Jonkers, Netherlands Cancer Institute (Former SAC member)

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