Research Strategy

4 min read

Our research strategy

Brain Tumour Research is the only national charity in the UK dedicated to funding continuous and sustainable scientific research into brain tumours.

Our vision is to find a cure for all types of brain tumours and our mission is to increase the UK investment in brain tumour research.

Our aims:

  • Helping develop the next generation of researchers ultimately focusing on all types of brain tumour
  • Significantly accelerate the progress of brain tumour research within the UK in order to make a real clinical difference, through the funding of our dedicated Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence
  • To fund a network of Centres, each being granted £1 million a year between us and our partner organisations
  • Increase awareness of the lack of funding for brain tumour research in order to stimulate a greater investment by the Government and larger cancer charities
  • Improve the clinical outcomes for brain tumour patients

Our Centres provide an arena where the most promising scientists are provided with experience in order to fulfil their potential. This will facilitate the development of a strong research base in the area of neuro-oncology. Therefore, this will encourage researchers to remain in this area rather than being tempted into other areas of cancer research which currently attract greater funding. 

The longer-term sustained funding will also strengthen the researchers’ applications for project or career-development grants. 

Sustainable and continuous research is vital if we are to achieve our vision of finding a cure for brain tumours. As specialist brain tumour expertise and knowledge builds, those experienced researchers can develop their personal careers by collaborating closely with our other Centres of Excellence. This facilitates cross-pollination of the very best thinking at the cutting-edge of brain tumour research.

By building outstanding teams of collaborative researchers within the academic and medical communities, the Centres of Excellence facilitate the development of long-term strategic research plans to explore new avenues. This will bring us closer to finding that key breakthrough that the brain tumour world so desperately needs. 

Our Centres of Excellence also provide an environment where researchers are provided an opportunity to explore a number of avenues of research, with each having their own objectives and goals.

In 2010, in collaboration with Member Charities Ali’s Dream and Charlie’s Challenge, we established our first Centre in the University of Portsmouth. Since then, we have established a further three Centres in the University of Plymouth, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College, London. Since 2019, the University of Portsmouth stands alone as a sustainable brain tumour research centre in its own right, having been established by Brain Tumour Research and supported for its first nine years.

The Centres form a powerful network. Collaborating with each other, and other institutes both within the UK and internationally, they can accelerate progress in brain tumour research. 

Our scientists and clinicians share our vision of a sustainable, secure future for UK brain tumour research. We want better futures for all those diagnosed and living with a brain tumour.

With secure long-term funding covering the key salaried positions within these centres, the researchers will be able to pursue the sustainable and continuous research so desperately needed by the scientists and clinicians working in this underfunded field. This will form the basis of attracting research funding from other sources to increase the overall capacity for brain tumour research within the UK.

Fewer than 20% of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50% across other cancers. This statistic is better than it used to be, but brain tumours are still responsible for more years of life lost than any other form of cancer, making it the most lethal form of cancer by this measure. We are determined to do all we can to change this and to one day find a cure for this devastating disease.

As we develop our network of Centres and collaborations, we will continually review the research landscape and activities of these institutes to ensure that we have the right teams and research priorities in place for all  types of brain tumours to be researched. 

We will improve our awareness of the key causes of brain tumours, understand the key components of brain tumour behaviour and discover treatments that will improve outcomes for any and every brain tumour patient. By identifying and developing mechanisms whereby we can fill the gaps in research, we will ensure that our Centres are aware of these and, if necessary, invite applications from other groups with the specialist knowledge to fulfil the research gaps.

We are a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)

This is a reassurance that our research is of the highest possible quality. It also means that the money we give to research is automatically increased by 24%.

Brain Tumour Research endorses the AMRC position statement on the use of animals in medical research and on supporting research in universities.

Becoming a Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence

The current funding call was launched at the British Neuro-Oncology Society meeting (June 2022), and calls for expression of interest via submission of a preliminary application form were circulated by appropriate organisations such as NCRI, and CRUK.

The current funding call was launched at the British Neuro-Oncology Society meeting (June 2022), and calls for expression of interest via submission of a preliminary application form were circulated by appropriate organisations such as NCRI, and CRUK.

Potential applicants will be required initially to submit a preliminary application form that outlines the Centre’s proposed research programme in accordance with the application requirements. This can build upon existing research programmes and/or the development of new areas of investigation. It should also include details of how the Centre will integrate with the Charity’s existing network of Centres of Excellence. Additional requirements may also be included in the application. 

The preliminary application will be assessed by the Charity’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board to ensure that it fulfils all of the requirements. Where appropriate, the applicant will then be invited to submit a full application.

The full application should include comprehensive details of the proposed programme of research, including existing study areas and how these will be included in the Centre. This should also detail the approach and methodology of planned investigations.

In addition, applicants will need to provide:

  • Evidence of existing collaboration with other institutions and an outline of planned collaborative activities with these and additional institutions, particularly those within Brain Tumour Research’s existing Centre network
  • A summary of the research facilities and equipment which their group already possesses or has access to (relevant to the application)
  • A detailed budget, as specified in the application form. Funding will be available for salaries, consumables and essential equipment or facilities, but not for overheads or administration costs.  
  • Information on the matched funding provided by the University (or other institutional partner), including academic research posts that are already funded or those that they plan to appoint during the period of the Centre funding
  • Details of peer-reviewed publications or other outputs
  • Evidence of specific ethics permissions for use on brain tumour tissues and confirmation that the centre has access to tissue provided by a centre that has a Human Tissue Act (HTA) licence where appropriate
  • A letter of positive intent from their Institution’s PR team confirming that they support the application and are willing to work collaboratively with Brain Tumour Research to promote the centre
  • A lay overview of the overarching research objectives and ambitions, what has been achieved so far, and what is hoped will be achieved in partnership with Brain Tumour Research. This is essential for engaging with fundraisers for long-term support and to establish best groundwork for long-term funding strategies

We provide long-term core funding to our Research Centres, paying for the salaries, consumables and specific equipment for teams within the research centres. Researchers will be required to apply for funding from additional sources in order to build upon the core Centre funding provided by the Brain Tumour Research. As such, you would not be applying for a programme grant but applying to partner with us to establish a Centre.  

Continued funding is subject to Centres complying with our Terms and Conditions and providing a formal annual report, in addition to other research updates where required. The funding will be for an initial period of five years which will be followed by a Quinquennial Peer Review. If the performance is considered as being satisfactory, the Centre may submit a re-application for a further period of five years.

Back to Research