NCRI data shows increase in cancer research funding following five years of growth

Date published: Feb 04 2020

New figures from the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) show that cancer research funding by NCRI partners has reached £700m for the first time, following five years of increased spending.

Analysis of the NCRI’s 18 partner organisations shows that cancer research funders in the UK have increased their collective spend, for the first time spending over £700m in the year 2018/19. This follows five years of spending increases and the highest level of funding since NCRI started collecting data in 2002.

Figure 1: Total NCRI partners spend per year

This increase in cancer research funding was driven by a 9% increase in spend in Early Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis research. Research into Treatment and Cancer Control, Survivorship, and Outcomes Research received less funding than in previous years.

Figure 2: Spend by research type
CSO1: Biology, CSO2: Etiology, CSO3: Prevention, CSO4: Early Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis, CSO5: Treatment, CSO6: Cancer Control, Survivorship and Outcomes

The cancers that have some of the worst one- and five-year survival rates in the UK include stomach, oesophageal, lung, brain, liver and pancreatic cancers. Funding for each of these cancers has increased compared to the year 2017/18. Lung cancer now is second only to breast cancer in research spend.

Figure 3: Spend by cancer site

“I am hugely encouraged to see that the trend for increasing cancer research spend continues. At NCRI we are excited about the increase in spend in Early Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis research and we expect that our Screening, Prevention and Early Diagnosis Group will drive high quality research in this area.

Looking to the future we hope to see the work of the NCRI Living With and Beyond Cancer Group translate into more funding being available in this area, particularly in areas such as palliative and end of life care which currently receives very little funding.

We hope that our partners and the cancer research community can use these data to identify trends and gaps in funding across a range of research areas.”

Dr Iain Frame, CEO of NCRI

NCRI continues to work with funders of all cancer types to maximise the value and benefits of cancer research for patients and the public. NCRI involves patients, carers and others affected by cancer (also known as ‘consumers’) at all stages of its activities, including developing clinical trials and high-quality NCRI data studies.

View 2018/19 cancer research data