NCRI Cancer Research Database

About the database

NCRI has been collecting research funding data since 2002,  to understand how money is spread across the various areas of research, and identify any gaps.

To track how UK funding changes over time, our Partner organisations are asked to submit data each year on how much they have spent on research, and the research projects and programmes that they spent it on. Each piece of research funding is then coded by cancer site and by research category, using an international classification system called the Common Scientific Outline (CSO).

» Common Scientific Outline coding system (ICRP website)

Putting the data to use

NCRI publishes annual summaries of the data, as well as periodic reports looking at trends or particular areas within the portfolio. This helps to identify trends and gaps in funding across a range of research areas. NCRI Partners can also use the information to undertake detailed analyses of their own.

Where a gap or imbalance in funding is found, our Partners can then look at ways to address this. For example, our first database analysis in 2002 found that research spending was relatively low in the areas of cancer prevention and risk, and supportive and palliative care – this led to NCRI developing the National Prevention Research Initiative and Supportive and Palliative Care Collaboratives to address this.

The latest data

In 2015, approximately £498m of research was funded by NCRI Partners and captured in the database. This level of research funding has remained around the £500m mark since 2009. Biology and Treatment research together make up two-thirds and Prevention remains a very small part of the portfolio with just £17m of funding in 2015. You can access the data packages and read about trends in more detail in the reports below.

During a process of data validation and checking, a small number of errors were found in the 2015 dataset. These errors are unlikely to have had a significant effect on the aggregate funding values reported. However, while the issue is being further investigated the CaRD analysis has been removed from the website.For further information or questions please contact

» Data analysis reports (NCRI webpage)

» Infographic summarising key NCRI Cancer Research Database 2015 data (PDF)

Connecting up data internationally

As a member of the International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP), NCRI is able to upload portfolio data to the ICRP database, alongside that of other countries. ICRP performs analyses on this international data and publishes periodic reports that examine trends in investment and research activity.

» International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP) website

» International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP) publications

» International collaboration (NCRI webpage)

 Further information

» Email the NCRI database team