FAQs for research grant applicants

Find out who can apply for World Cancer Research Fund International's grant scheme, and how

Use the links below to jump to the relevant section or question on this page.

Eligibility questions
- Who should apply?
- Can a PhD student be the PI?
- Where do you accept applications from?
- What about applications from the Americas?
- Which institutions are eligible to apply?
- Is there a limit to the number of applications to submit?

Regular Grant Programme schemes questions
- Which type of scheme should I apply for?
- What is the available budget?
- Is my project relevant to WCRF International’s remit?
- What makes a strong application?

Research Principles questions
- Do you accept applications using animal models?
- Do you accept applications using single cell lines?
- Are there any options for funding researchers who work on anti-cancer drugs or cancer treatment?
- I am applying for a grant but do not have ethical approval in place. Will this prevent my application from going forward?

General questions
- What languages are acceptable for submission of a WCRF International grant?
- How do I submit my application?
- What currency should the budget proposal be submitted in?
- What currency will funds be paid in?
- Will I receive feedback regarding my application?
- If my application has not been accepted, can I apply for the next round?
- If my application was judged to be of scientific merit in the last cycle, but due to limited funds it could not be funded, would I need to fill in an Outline Application?
- How competitive are WCRF grants?

Eligibility

Who should apply?

The applicant – Principal Investigator (PI) of the study – must hold a research position at the host institution for the duration of the project. Only one person can act as PI.

Can a PhD student be the PI?

No, a PhD student cannot be the PI. However, they can be included on a research grant project, providing that they are a full-time student, spending 100 per cent of their time on the project. The host institution is responsible for the progress and training of the PhD student, and must ensure adequate supervision and assessment of the student’s progress and research training.

Where do you accept applications from?

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International Research Grant Programme accepts applications from anywhere in the world except the Americas (North America, Central America including the Caribbean, and South America).

If you are based in a low- or middle-income country, please contact us in advance to express your interest in applying for a grant.

What about applications from the Americas?

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) manages and funds a separate Research Grant Programme, accepting applications from the Americas only (North America, Central America including the Caribbean, and South America). The details of this programme can be found online at aicr.org or by email at research@aicr.org.

Which institutions are eligible to apply?

The Regular Grant Programme accepts applications from universities, medical schools, hospitals, research institutes and other academic centres. Research for commercial organisations is not eligible.

With the AMRC and its members we will be working to understand better how charity funding partnerships can be placed on a sustainable footing across the range of research activity and types of research institutions. See the AMRC position statement on supporting research in universities for more information.

Is there a limit to the number of applications to submit?

  • As a PI

One application per PI per grant cycle is accepted.

Please note: an applicant can be PI for one application and co-applicant in one or more other applications (up to a maximum of four).

  • As a research organisation

A maximum of five applications will be accepted from one institution in any one grant cycle.

Regular Grant Programme schemes

Which type of scheme should I apply for?

The Regular Grant Programme comprises two main grant types: Investigator Initiated Grants (IIGs) and Seed Grants (SGs). IIGs are for researchers working on our research areas and themes, while SGs are intended as start-up funds for preliminary research to allow the development of innovative ideas, new methodologies and new research tools relevant to our research themes.

What is the available budget?

IIGs are awarded to PIs for a maximum of £350,000 for up to four years, with a limit of £100,000 for any one year. SGs are for a maximum of £60,000 in total for up to two years.

Is my project relevant to WCRF International’s remit?

Applications must address the role of diet, nutrition (including body composition) and physical activity in either cancer prevention or cancer survivors. For more detailed information, please check our Regular Grant Programme guidelines.

What makes a strong application?

Proposed projects should have an original and sound hypothesis, a clear study design, and be relevant to WCRF International’s general and specific priorities. They should also be achievable within the timescale and budget, and include power calculations and relevant statistics.

Research Principles

Do you accept applications using animal models?

Experimental designs outside in vivo human settings, such as animal models, will only be considered for relevant studies that examine mechanistic pathways of the cancer process.

Exposures in animal research need to be justified in terms of their relevance to exposure in humans and as to why a human research model is not used.

Please note that xenograft and tumour models in animals induced by chemical or other means, or any studies outside mammalian systems, will not be accepted.

The relevance to humans and to human cancer of the proposed animal model will need to be clearly explained.

We support the AMRC principles on the use of animals in research.

Do you accept applications using single cell lines?

Applications that propose solely cell line studies will not be accepted.

Are there any options for funding researchers who work on anti-cancer drugs or cancer treatment?

We do not fund research on anti-cancer drugs or cancer treatment.

I am applying for a grant but do not have ethical approval in place. Will this prevent my application from going forward?

No. The application will progress, but if awarded it will not be allowed to start until you have provided proof of ethical approval.

General questions

What languages are acceptable for submission of a WCRF International grant?

WCRF International only accepts applications in English.

How do I submit my application?

All applications are electronic and are to be completed online through our Grant Management System.

What currency should the budget proposal be submitted in?

Budgets should be submitted in pounds sterling (£) only.

What currency will funds be paid in?

WCRF International’s Regular Grant Programme can award funding from two charities: WCRF NL and WCRF UK. Grants awarded by WCRF NL will be paid in euros (€). Grants awarded by WCRF UK will be paid in pounds sterling (£).           

 Please note: if the host institution uses another currency than the funding body, the monthly payment will be subject to fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Will I receive feedback regarding my application?

Yes, as soon as we have reviewed your application, feedback will be provided.

If my application has not been accepted, can I apply for the next round?

If an application is not deemed fundable at the Full Application stage, the PI may submit a new Outline Application in the next grant cycle. This revised application will include an additional section, where all issues previously raised by the Grant Panel and peer reviewers should be addressed; it will also compete equally with all other submitted applications in that cycle.

If my application was judged to be of scientific merit in the last cycle, but due to limited funds it could not be funded, would I need to fill in an Outline Application?

No, applicants of unfunded successful grants from the previous cycle would be exempt from completing an Outline Application, and will be invited to submit a Full Application in the next grant cycle.

How competitive are WCRF grants?

We receive hundreds of applications each year. However, we do not publish our success rates. Based on our recent funding cycles, researchers can expect that if an application is shortlisted, around 30 per cent of IIGs and 20 per cent of SGs get funded.