Cancer research and global health initiative


Wednesday 20 June 2018

In 2015 the Government launched the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) to ensure UK research takes the lead in addressing some of the diverse challenges faced by developing countries.

Through GCRF, the MRC has increased its support for research that addresses the health challenges faced by low and middle income countries (LMICs).

GCRF funds have been made available to all MRC research boards and panels to support proposals that qualify under Official Development Assistance (ODA). Proposals must be led by researchers based at a UK higher education institution or at an eligible independent research institution. In addition, the MRC supports research areas that can benefit from developing/establishing collaborative networks with LMIC-based partners through targeted GCRF pump-priming awards.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, accounting for approximately 8 million deaths in 2015, with an estimated global economic cost of US$1.16 trillion. The challenge to cope with such a burden is even greater LMICs, where most global death from cancer are recorded and where the number of cancer cases is expected to increase by 80% by 2030.

In spite of this increasing challenge, these countries have tended to focus on more immediate health needs, such as infectious diseases. As a result, prevention, screening and treatment strategies remain underdeveloped and knowledge on distinctive risk factors for cancer in LMICs, such as environmental exposure, genetic or lifestyle differences is lacking. Research aimed at understanding malignancies with disproportionate incidence in LMICs will help find solutions to prevent disease, and treat and manage cancer patients.

The MRC would like to expand its portfolio of research in cancer and global health to help tackle these challenges in low and middle income countries.

The MRC are therefore pleased to announce two parallel calls through their cancer research and global health initiative as part of their activities under GCRF. The activities supported through these calls will contribute to the UK’s commitment to research for the benefit of LMICs.

  1. Cancer research and global health: pump-priming call 
  2. Cancer research and global health: call for outlines for substantive research proposals 

Proposals must meet the ODA requirements, focus on issues primarily relevant to LMICs and aim to achieve one or more of the following goals:

  • Develop new research strategies to tackle the cancer challenges that are relevant to LMICs in the short, medium and long-term
  • Develop new UK-LMIC research partnerships or enhance and expand on existing ones
  • Identify opportunities and assess feasibility of large-scale cancer global health research projects in partnership with LMICs
  • Extend scope of existing research to LMIC settings
  • Apply novel / potentially high-risk approaches to cancer research, with opportunities for multidisciplinary approaches
  • Produce preliminary data and develop concepts for future grant applications
  • Create pathways to impact in LMICs

Proposals for both calls should be submitted by 20 June 2018, 16:00.  All proposals will be reviewed by an expert panel, which will convene in late September 2018.

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