World Cancer Research Day 2022: Keeping up with +4000 cancer research funders around the world

Written by: Amrita Chowdhury

September 24 is World Cancer Research Day 

World Cancer Research Day was launched in 2016 by ten renowned organizations and is observed on September 24 [1]. The idea behind the celebration of World Cancer Research Day was to support and make people aware of the efforts that researchers make to prevent, detect and treat cancer. 

Cancer research has made a tremendous impact on how we perceive a cancer diagnosis. Not so long ago, the word “cancer” was almost always considered a terminal diagnosis. In the UK for example, the 10-year cancer survival rate has doubled over the past 40 years, to about 50% currently [2]. Despite the remarkable advances in cancer survival rate, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Not to mention the mental anguish and economic losses as a result of a cancer diagnosis, for the person and their family.

Clearly, more research is needed. Equally as important is that you, the cancer researchers around the world, are aware of funding information relevant to your research needs. With more than 4000 funders supporting cancer research worldwide [3], on this year’s World Cancer Research Day, we help you, make sense of this information so that you can focus on the funding relevant to your needs.

Funders of general cancer research

Several foundations and societies support all types of cancer research. Some examples of “all” cancer research funders include the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The AACR aims to prevent and cure cancer through funding cancer research, collaboration, science policy, and advocacy. The Association funds cancer researchers worldwide, at all career stages, and focuses on basic, translational, clinical, and population-based projects.

The American Cancer Society is a charitable organization with the mission to free the world from cancer. The Society funds research conducted in the USA. Some grants such as their fellowship schemes are restricted to US citizens and permanent residents while others are open to all cancer researchers in the USA. Most grants from the American Cancer Society have two annual closing dates: April 1 and October 15.

Conquer Cancer (The ASCO Foundation) is dedicated to the mission of conquering cancer by funding research and sharing knowledge worldwide. The Foundation runs various grant and award programs to support clinical and translational research in the field of oncology. In particular, their Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Awards, recognize women oncology research leaders who are inspiring role models of the next generation of women leaders in oncology. Nominations for the award is due in December each year.

The Elsa U. Pardee Foundation provides grants for innovative cancer research by both new and established investigators based at non-profit institutions in the USA. The foundation has a Medical Committee of specialists to manage the process of proposal assessment. There are three assessment cycles per year, with closing dates on April 30, August 31 and December 31.

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation funds high-risk, high-reward cancer research conducted by both early career and established investigators. The foundation provides research grants and fellowships with a US-centric approach, meaning that non-US citizens/permanent residents must conduct their research in the USA, while US citizens and permanent residents may conduct their research worldwide.

The Gateway for Cancer Research, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to funding phase I and phase II clinical trials for all cancer types. The Organization runs the Gateway Discovery Grant Program in collaboration with other organizations to support early-phase clinical trials. 

Cancer Research UK (CRUK)  is a charitable organization founded in 2002 and is the major cancer research funder in the UK today. CRUK supports cancer researchers in the UK with fellowships and research grants. Some of the grants from the CRUK provide visa support to successful applicants who do not have the necessary rights to work in the UK, such as its career establishment award.

The European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) is a UK-based charitable organization that works with the mission of “The advancement of cancer research for the public benefit: from basic research to prevention, treatment and care.” The Association supports its member researchers with fellowships and travel grants.

For the researchers in Sweden, the Swedish Cancer Society funds conference grants, travel grants, and fellowships for cancer research projects. This is a non-profit organization that promotes cancer awareness and funds research to support innovative cancer treatment.

Research funders for specific cancer types, including blood cancers, gastrointestinal tumours, and skin cancer 

Many funders, including society funders, choose to be more focused with their cancer research funding. For hematologists, the most prominent society funder is perhaps the American Society of Hematology (ASH), which is the largest professional society supporting clinicians and scientists around the world working on blood diseases. ASH funds its members in the USA and globally, and has a dedicated program for its members in Latin America.  

The Leukemia and Lymphomas Society (LLS) is the largest non-profit funder dedicated to blood cancer research. LLS funds leukemia, lymphoma and blood cancer researchers worldwide through all career stages with a variety of funding opportunities such as research grants and fellowships.

For researchers working on gastrointestinal cancers, the AGA Research Foundation is the charitable part of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and supports young investigators in the USA, Canada and Mexico who are committed to gastroenterology and hepatology with fellowships and research grants. 

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma, is committed to support medical research with the aim to find effective treatments and possibly a cure for melanoma. MRF is also involved in education and promoting awareness about melanoma, its diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

 The Bone Cancer Research Trust is a UK-based charitable organization dedicated to fighting primary bone cancer through research, awareness and support. The Trust funds research grants to cancer researchers based in the United Kingdom.

The Myrovlytis Trust focuses on rare disease research, such as Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome and osteosarcoma, and funds PhD students, pilot studies, research grants, public engagement and travel grants for researchers worldwide. 

Research funders dedicated to cancer immunotherapy 

Over the past decade, cancer immunotherapy has been a driving force in improving the survival rates of people with cancer. Some funders that support research to advance cancer immunotherapy include the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a non-profit organization established in 1953. CRI supports immunotherapy research and clinical trials and funds fellowships and research grants to achieve revolutionary breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy research. CRI also funds special fellowships to promote racial diversity in biomedical research.  

The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is a US-based learned society dedicated to cancer immunotherapy. The society is dedicated to the mission of improving patient outcomes by advancing the science, development, and application of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Together with industry partners, the Society provides fellowships for post-doctoral researchers working on immunotherapy of cancer worldwide. Applications are due in the Spring.

Cancer research funders focussing on childhood cancer

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), around 400,000 children and adolescents under the age of 19 years develop cancer each year [4]. The most common types of cancer in children include lymphoma, leukemia, brain cancer and neuroblastoma. Cancer research funders dedicated to children’s cancers include:   

A Kids’ Brain Tumor Cure Foundation, based in the USA, supports research in pediatric brain cancer and funds for both basic and translational studies. Applications are open to researchers worldwide.  

St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a US-based charitable funder that supports cancer research throughout the world. The foundation funds researchers working on all major types of childhood cancers.

 Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) supports research on children´s cancer intending to improve the lives of children with cancer through funding research, raising awareness and supporting families. The foundation runs several research grants programs and awards for young investigators. Recipients must have experience in pediatric cancer research and must be working in the USA or Canada.

The Children´s Leukemia Research Association (CLRA) is a not-for-profit organization that funds research grants and provides financial assistance to patients to reduce the financial burden of treatment. The association funds researchers working on leukemia at research institutions in the USA.

Barncancer Fonden (Swedish Childhood Cancer Fund), the largest funder of childhood cancer research in Sweden, supports Sweden-based researchers working on childhood cancer. This organization funds project grants, travel grants, student courses and conferences. They also offer some funding to the researchers working on childhood cancer in other Nordic countries including Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. 

Making sense of the +4000 cancer research funders worldwide on World Cancer Research Day

The world is fighting cancer as one of the leading causes of death accounting for about 10 million deaths worldwide in 2020 [5]. With more than 4000 funders supporting cancer research around the world, clearly, we as a society, recognize the importance of cancer research. But how do you, as a researcher, keep track of 4000 research funders and even more research funding opportunities? At scientifyRESEARCH, our mission is to support the global SDGs by facilitating the connection between research funding and researchers. This year, to commemorate World Cancer Research Day, we present our list of funding opportunities in cancer research. This list is continuously updated to provide you with the latest funding opportunities in cancer research worldwide, and our eligibility filters help you find the right funding for your research. Bookmark this page, sign-up for our grant alerts or our monthly newsletter, to get the latest research funding information from funders around the world. 

References 

[1] World Cancer Research Day website, accessed September 22, 2022. 

[2] Cancer Survival Statistics – Cancer Research UK, accessed September 19, 2022. 

[3] Schmutz, A., Salignat, C., Plotkina, D., Devouassoux, A., Lee, T., Arnold, M., Ervik, M., Kelm, O. Mapping the Global Cancer Research Funding Landscape. JNCI Cancer Spectrum, 2019. Vol 3 (4), pkz069.  

[4] Childhood Cancer. WHO-Official website, accessed September 12, 2022.

[5] Cancer. WHO-Official website, accessed September 16, 2022.


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