Please note the NCRI ceased to operate in July 2023. The following is for information purposes only.

The NCRI 2017-22 strategy outlines our broader strategic ambitions and how we strive to continuously advance cancer research.

We established the NCRI Strategy Advisory Group in 2018 as a group of thought leaders drawn from across the research spectrum to provide strategic advice on the implementation of our strategy and the development of new initiatives.

While we work across all areas of research and with a wide range of stakeholders, we have a set of four scientific priority areas that we lend more focus to and four fundamental principles to drive our work in these areas. These are revised periodically by the NCRI Strategy Advisory Group.

Fundamental Principles:

Cross-funder and cross-sector collaboration and priority setting

There is a pressing need to increase partnership working and our collective impact as a research community for the benefit of people affected by cancer. As a partnership of key players in cancer research in the UK, the NCRI keeps the community connected and acts as a catalyst for collaboration and high-quality research.

Coordinated high-quality research development and delivery

At the core of NCRI’s activities is a strong focus on improving the quality and delivery of research to maximise patient benefit. NCRI Groups, including CM-Path and CTRad, review and advise on research proposals, as well as develop their own studies to address gaps in the portfolio. Our groups are multidisciplinary, and we support them to collaborate outside their immediate area of expertise or cancer type to enable tumour-agnostic pathway driven research.

Early career research

The NCRI Early Career Researcher Forum is our key initiative to bring ECRs from diverse backgrounds together as a community and involve them in everything we do. Through it we will work together with our partners to offer opportunities for training, mentorship and involvement in research. We want to help build a research-ready workforce and enable early career researchers to realise their aspiration of contributing to the progress of cancer research.

Patient involvement

We involve patients, carers and others affected by cancer (also known as ‘advocates’) in all aspects of NCRI’s work. At any one time, up to one hundred advocates will be involved in our activities; making contributions to the setting of our strategy and shaping the research agenda at a national level as experts in the experience of cancer. All advocates involved in the NCRI are members of the NCRI Advocate Forum, which aims to foster a vibrant and collaborative community to work with NCRI as partners in cancer research.

Scientific Priority Areas

Health data and AI

There is a major opportunity to accelerate cancer research by enabling the coordinated collection and secure sharing of high-quality health data for research purposes. This includes a whole range of different data types, such as routinely collected health data, patient reported data, imaging data and data collected as part of clinical trials. We believe that through fostering a culture of information sharing and collaboration we can overcome barriers to safe and efficient use of data in order to drive innovative research.

Immunology and immunotherapy

Together with the British Society for Immunology (BSI) we will create a supportive and coordinated research environment to advance cancer immunology, as well as the care that patients receive. We have an opportunity to bring the immunology and cancer research communities together to drive research collaborations and address challenges in immunotherapy that will lead to better patient outcomes.

Prevention and early diagnosis

Several NCRI Partners are strategically focussed on prevention and early diagnosis and dedicate considerable resources to drive research in this area. NCRI is ideally placed to support Partners and researchers in their work by coordinating research through the NCRI Groups, as well as facilitating the development of studies through the NCRI Prevention and Early Diagnosis Group.

Living with and beyond cancer

NCRI can speak with a strong, unified voice on behalf of our Partners and the wider cancer research community in areas of unmet need, including research to help patients live better lives with a diagnosis of cancer and following treatment. NCRI has established the top priorities to drive research and collaboration, and the NCRI Living With and Beyond Cancer (LWBC) Group is actively engaging with Partners and the wider research community to realise progress against these priorities.