INSPIRE Research Challenge

As part of our continued commitment to accelerating progress, World Cancer Research Fund International has launched the INSPIRE Research Challenge, in partnership with American Institute for Cancer Research, World Cancer Research Fund in the UK and Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands.

The INSPIRE grant call is now closed.

The INSPIRE Research Challenge will prioritise innovative, bold and creative proposals with the potential to catalyse rapid and impactful advances in cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship.

This is a new grant call aimed at early career investigators. It will run in parallel with our existing grant programmes and is open to investigators worldwide.

Application criteria

The programme is open to early career individuals – defined as not less than 2 years, but not more than 6 years post-doctoral degree (PhD or MD research).

Applicants must be employed on a research contract within a department at a research institution affiliated with a university or medical school.

Proposed projects must have direct relevance to cancer prevention, treatment or survivorship and may address any or all stages of the cancer journey.

Proposals should address modifiable factors including both lifestyle – such as diet, nutrition, physical activity – and environmental factors – such as pollution/contaminants and pathogens.

Particular priority will be given to novel exposures including stress, sleep and host factors such as immune function.

Important dates and deadlines

  • Call opens (Letter of Intent): 12 February 2024
  • Deadline for Letter of Intent: 17:00 GMT 8 March 2024
  • Full application for shortlisted applicants opens: 2 April 2024
  • Deadline for full applications: 17:00 BST 9 May 2024
  • Funding decisions announced: September 2024

For full details on the challenge and guidance on making an application, please read the following documents carefully:

How to apply

Applications must be made using our 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 in the instructions PDFs listed above. Ensure you carefully read through the instructions and the guidelines.

For any questions regarding the INSPIRE Research Challenge, please e-mail

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility questions

Who should apply?
How do you calculate the early career researcher timeline?
Can a PhD student be the PI?
Can a postdoc be the PI?
Where do you accept applications from?
Which institutions are eligible to apply?
Is there a limit to the number of applications that can be submitted?
Will a transition from 1 institution to another impact eligibility for the grant? How will the transfer of funds work?
Can the project team involve multiple institutions? Can there be co-PIs?

Application questions

What is the available budget?
When will payments be transferred?
Can the deadline for submission of the Letter of Intent or full stage application be changed?
Is there a template available for the Letter of Intent or full stage application?
What relevant link to cancer must the applications have?
Is my project relevant to the INSPIRE Research Challenge remit?
What makes a strong application?
Can funds be used for faculty salaries?

Research principles questions

Do you accept applications using animal models?
Do you accept applications using single cell lines?
I am applying for a grant but do not have ethical approval in place. Will this prevent my application from going forward?

General questions

Who is World Cancer Research Fund International?
What languages are acceptable for submission of the application?
What currency should the budget proposal be submitted in?
What currency will funds be paid in?
Will I receive feedback regarding my application?
How do leaves (eg parental or medical) factor into the time since PhD completion, and therefore the eligibility timeline?
Are university overhead costs included in this grant?
Who are the members of the INSPIRE Research Challenge Panel 2024?



Research principles


> Find out which applications received funding in our 2023 INSPIRE grants call

INSPIRE Research Challenge graphic