Apply for a research grant

Our research focuses on cancer prevention and survival, looking at mechanisms or host factors

Our latest call for investigator initiated grants and seed grants opened on 21 September 2020.

This is a difficult time for many researchers due to COVID-19, and now more than ever it is important to support cancer research as much as we can. After careful consideration, we have therefore decided to open the call so that we can continue funding vital cancer prevention and survival research.

Grant application timeline

  • Call opens 21 September 2020
  • Deadline for outline is 22:00 GMT on 16 November 2020
  • Shortlisting outcome and investigator initiated grants full application stage opens 15 February 2021
  • Deadline for investigator initiated grants full application is 22:00 GMT on 29 March 2021
  • Funding decisions announced in September 2021

Grant programme schemes and research areas

Investigator initiated grants are awarded to principal investigators with a maximum of £350,000 for up to four years, with a limit of £100,000 for any one year. Seed grants are for a maximum of £60,000 in total for up to two years.

Australia research grants

Researchers based in Australia will be eligible for co-funding from World Cancer Research Fund International and Cancer Australia as part of a new collaboration.

To be considered for this co-funding you can apply to the Grant Programme as normal, but please be aware that funding and timescales are different:

  • seed grants (up to £60,000 for up to two years)
  • investigator initiated grants (for a maximum of £300,000 for up to three years)

Click here to read the terms and conditions of Australia grants.

Grant themes

Our regular grant programme groups research into two themes – cancer prevention and cancer survivors. Each of these areas may be addressed either from the perspective of identifying the mechanisms that underpin the effect of diet, nutrition and physical activity on cancer, or by addressing the host factors that influence individual susceptibility to cancer development or progression, and so contribute to explaining variability between people in outcomes.

For cancer survivors, we also encourage broader research into evidence for impact of diet, nutrition (including body composition), physical activity and outcomes after cancer diagnosis, as robust evidence on this is still lacking.

The research principles and themes we are looking for are outlined below:

Figure 1 - Research Principles, Areas and Themes


Changes to our grant programme

Applications must be made using our new online Grants Management System. Once registered with the system, you will have access to the application forms for open grant rounds. You will find instructions on how to complete the applications on the WCRF GMS site.

  • Full details on the grant programme call can be found in our guidelines document.
  • For instructions on how to apply for seed grants click here.
  • For instructions on how to apply for investigator initiated grants click here.

If you have any queries please email them to

“Our WCRF-funded research shed new light on the mechanisms linking adult body size and energy restriction in youth to cancer risk. Our results identified that there are critical time-windows of exposure with regards to cancer, and that hormonal, growth and metabolic pathways are already important at a young age for the risk of colorectal and breast cancer over age 55 years”
– Prof Matty Weijenberg, grant holder

What impact does our research have?

Maxine Lenza, our Press and Communications Officer, talks to Dr Amanda Cross about how World Cancer Research Fund chooses which projects to fund and why cancer research is so expensive.

Association of Medical Research Charities

Our Regular Grant Programme adheres to the recommendations and best practice guidance of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

AMRC Peer Review Audit 2015Our grant programme has passed the AMRC Peer Review Audit and has been awarded a certificate by AMRC to show that it follows best practice when peer reviewing grant applications. During the audit, AMRC assessed the accountability, balance, independence, rotation and impartiality of World Cancer Research Fund International’s peer review process (both internal and external). The results of the audit demonstrate our commitment to the highest standards of accountability and probity to donors, funders, the government and researchers.

Our grant programme adheres to AMRC's 'Statement on the use of animals in research'. Applicants will need to demonstrate that their proposal actively develops and applies the principles and specific guidelines of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) at all stages of the research process from the design and conduct of experiments through to dissemination and reporting.

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