Yorkshire Cancer Research More Life To Live Fund

Yorkshire Cancer Research has established a unique funding stream that can only be applied for by principal researchers based at the University of Sheffield (the “University”). Project proposals and programmes submitted to these funds must undertake cancer research that will ultimately improve the cancer outcome for people within the region and beyond. 

This funding stream will consider research proposal that align with the strategic objectives of Yorkshire Cancer Research.

The University of Sheffield must be the host institution and the Principal Applicant must have a substantive post and be employed by the University of Sheffield at >50% FTE.  

This funding round will run parallel to the Yorkshire Cancer Research 2022 Funding Round and be subject to the same reviews and deadlines. Projects should align with at least one the key themes identified for the 2022 Funding round call.  

All projects must be testing an intervention, with the emphasis on solving problems rather than describing them.

Key information

Scheme Open: 05 October 2021

Amount available: £3 million

Eligibility: Open to Principal Applicants who have a substantive post and are employed by the University of Sheffield at >50% FTE.

Submission Deadline Date & time:

  • Preliminary: 12 noon - 06 December 2021
  • Full application: 12 noon - 25 March 2022 (invitation only)

Strategic Areas

Topic 1: Reducing the risk of developing cancer

37% of cancers are linked to avoidable risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol and obesity [1]. We welcome proposals that consider how to address behavioural, lifestyle and environmental factors to reduce the risk of cancer. The projects must have an interventional element, with the emphasis on solving problems rather than describing them. We are happy to receive applications from researcher/practitioner teams engaged in cycles of development and testing to create sustainable change.

We want 32 000 people to take action to reduce their risk of cancer, of which we want 6000 people to give up smoking for at least one year.

Applications focused on the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Yorkshire (Appendix 1) will be prioritised as those projects are the most likely to have the greatest impact.

Topic 2: Improving early diagnosis and cancer screening

Analysis from the NHS Long Term Plan indicate that early diagnosis will be the main contribution to 2000 fewer cancer deaths in Yorkshire.

From our own analysis, we are aiming for an additional 60 000 people to engage with at least one national screening programme and 93 000 individuals to benefit from lung cancer CT-scan screening.

All projects in this area should aim to diagnose more people at an earlier stage to improve survival. Survival need not be an endpoint given that, for most cancers, survival at one and five years is much higher if the cancer is detected early (at stage 1) than if it is detected later. The Office for National Statistics show for many cancer types, 1-year survival is relatively high if diagnosed at stages 1 to 3, with a fall in survival if diagnosed at stage 4. Our aim is that the 1-year survival rate in Yorkshire reaches a 78.5% average across all cancers, a shift from the current figure of 72.9%.

We welcome applications addressing the following as part of topic 2:

Raising awareness and increasing earlier presentation to primary care

We welcome applications testing interventions that not only raise cancer awareness, especially in underserved communities, but also result in an earlier presentation to primary care for people with potential cancer symptoms. Further, we welcome applications that aim to decrease the diagnostic interval for patients, and therefore result in an earlier diagnosis of cancer.

Improving pathways

We welcome applications that test interventions to enhance processes within primary and secondary care to reduce the time from a person noticing symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

Increasing participation in national cancer screening programmes

Addressing geographical variations in the rates of people taking part in national cancer screening programmes across Yorkshire represents an area where significant improvements can be made. We welcome applications to test interventions that can raise the level of cancer screening, especially in areas with low screening uptake rate, or target identified barriers to attending screening that can be addressed to improve participation.

Testing and implementing new cancer screening methods

We welcome applications focusing on the implementation of alternative screening strategies to improve current cancer screening techniques or identify new approaches that can be implemented for those cancers that are not routinely screened. However, the screening test cannot be in the developmental stage. The project may consider using existing techniques in a novel or adapted way to increase their effectiveness/sensitivity and reduce any harms associated with screening.

Applications that address the cancers that cause the most deaths in Yorkshire (see Appendix 1) per year will be prioritised as those projects are most likely to have the greatest impact.

Topic 3: Improving treatments

We welcome applications that test new treatments, or improve current treatments, aiming to improve survival of cancer patients. Any improvement in survival should not be at the expense of quality of life, and all proposals should aim to measure and publish Patient Reported Outcomes.

For the purposes of estimating impact on the application forms we will accept the view that extending survival beyond 5 years can be considered a ‘life saved’.

Projects solely focused on improving quality of life are not eligible for the funding round.

Applications that address the most common cancers and those that cause the most deaths in Yorkshire (see Appendix 1) will be prioritised as those projects are most likely to have the greatest impact.

Timeline of the process:

  • 05 October 2021 – Scheme Launches
  • 06 December 2021, 12 noon – Preliminary Application Deadline
  • 11 January 2022 – Strategic Fit Test Meeting
  • 25 March 2022, 12 noon – Full Application Deadline
  • 17 June 2022 – Excellence Test Deadline
  • 26 July 2022 – Research Advisory Meeting
  • 20 September 2022 – Board of Trustees Decision
  • October 2022 – Outcome to applicants

Our Process

We run a two-stage process application process for funding. Preliminary applications are taken through our Strategic Fit Test. The Strategic Fit Test is assessed by lay stakeholder members of the charity’s Research Advisory Panel (RAP). Projects that best align with our strategy will be invited to submit a full application.

Full applications are peer reviewed by external experts, with relevant expertise and experience, during the second stage of our review process the Excellence Test. The full applications and peer review comments are then discussed and scored at a Research Advisory Meeting. Both lay stakeholders and academic expert RAP members attend this meeting, and their views are treated equally. The recommendations from this meeting are then taken to the Board of Trustees for a final decision on which proposals to fund

If you have any questions please contact research@ycr.org.uk or call the research team 01423 642804