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NCRI Groups becoming thought leaders

We have established a new NCRI Group structure that enables the research groups to take on the role of thought leaders and engage with the wider community to drive the national research agenda, particularly in strategic, cross-cutting areas of unmet need.

The first groups will begin to transition to this new model in 2021.

Increasing the range and impact of Consumer activities

We will be expanding the size and diversity of the NCRI Consumer Forum to ensure impactful Consumer input into all aspects of NCRI’s work. We will also be updating our Consumer Forum training to better equip our Consumers for the new digital and post-COVID-19 cancer research landscape.

Supporting early-career researchers

We are developing an Early Career Researcher Forum, using the model of a virtual, multidisciplinary network to bring junior researchers together from across all areas of cancer research. NCRI will provide them with opportunities to undertake defined projects, build their research collaboration skills and develop their networks.

Business development

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact on NCRI’s charity Partners. We need to consider the appropriateness of our funding model, currently based on research expenditure, and to identify additional income sources both in the short and long term. We have funding agreements in place with our existing Partners for the current financial year, but we are reviewing the partnership proposition and the pricing structure to ensure we can deliver the best value for our Partners. We are also looking at expanding our current number of Partners and exploring options for income diversification.

Ways of working

We are looking at ways of saving costs by generating efficiencies in our back-office operations. Initial feedback indicates that staff would welcome a hybrid working model where the team would continue to work flexibly but with some access to an office base. We continue to be hosted at the Cancer Research UK offices in Stratford but with a reduced number of desks due to flexible working. During the year, we will be looking into our options for further reducing overhead costs.

Virtual meetings can be more productive, more accessible and more cost-effective than traditional face-to-face meetings, and this has been seen in the feedback from NCRI Group members and Consumers over the past six months. Therefore, we will continue to host business meetings and proposal guidance meetings virtually as appropriate.

Keeping the community connected

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the NCRI Cancer Conference take on a virtual model, the NCRI Virtual Showcase, which we have further developed for 2021. The NCRI Festival, which will take place virtually from 8-12 November 2021, will feature several topical sessions, panel discussions, debates and co-creation sessions on strategic topics, and proffered paper presentations highlighting the latest research. The Festival will provide an opportunity for researchers and the broader cancer community to come together through a digital platform to share knowledge and foster collaboration in an engaging and innovative way. We will continue to run our virtual events programme to ensure our audience stays connected with what’s happening in the cancer research landscape.

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