This year, NCRI celebrated its 20th anniversary after being established in 2001 following the publication of the first NHS Cancer Plan. While much has changed in these 20 years, NCRI continues to evolve and adapt to advance cancer research for the benefit of all those affected by cancer.
In the past 12 months the NCRI Groups have adopted a new model which will enable them to be more agile and wide-reaching, driving change against specific strategic priorities. This can be seen in the work of the NCRI Brain Group, the first of the 19 groups to identify their strategic priorities as part of the new process. The group’s six specific priorities have been identified to address the challenges faced in brain tumour research and improve outcomes for patients. Working groups to address these priorities are being established from the pool of experts that have joined the NCRI Brain Network.
I was delighted to see the establishment of the NCRI Early Career Researcher Forum this year. Built on the past success of our trainee programme, the Forum will enable early career researchers to build collaborative networks in their field of interest whilst enhancing their skills and supporting career development through training, mentoring, networking and research involvement opportunities.
Throughout the year, we have been able to support our Partners in several ways, including utilising data from the Cancer Research Database (CaRD) to help Brain Tumour Research in their campaigning work, conducting proposal guidance meetings for researchers applying to Prostate Cancer Research’s racial disparities call and working with the National Institute for Health and Care Research on developing a bone metastases programme. We will continue to support our Partners in the year ahead, including our newest Partner, Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group.
I must say a big thank you to everyone at NCRI for their dedication and hard work over the past year and a warm welcome to Fiona Driscoll who joined us in June 2021 as Chair and to Cameron Millar and Dr Ian Walker, who have joined the Board of Trustees. I would like to thank Baroness Delyth Morgan and Mary Basterfield, whose terms have come to an end this year.
Dr Iain Frame