In 2021 NCRI Partner Prostate Cancer Research ran a grant call focused on combating racial disparities in prostate cancer. To support Prostate Cancer Research and ensure they received the highest quality proposals, NCRI invited the applicants to attend a specifically designed proposal guidance meeting.

Eight researchers presented their research ideas before they submitted them to the Prostate Cancer Research grant call, including the following researchers who have been successful in receiving funding:

  • Dr Greg Brooke and Dr Antonio Marco, University of Essex – Identifying Black Men at Increased Risk of Developing Prostate Cancer
  • Prof Dmitry Pshezhetskiy and Mr Mathias Winkler, University of East Anglia – New Epigenetic Markers for Prostate Cancer Detection in Black Men
  • Dr Floor Christie-de Jong, University of Sunderland – A Co-designed and Culturally Appropriate Intervention to Tackle Barriers to Early Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer for Black Men in Scotland and the North-East of England: A Community-Centred Participatory Approach

NCRI proposal guidance meetings offer investigators the opportunity to submit their study proposals for review by a bespoke panel of experts and receive written feedback to assist them with the development of their study.

This proposal guidance meeting was designed specifically to support Prostate Cancer Research. Investigators submitted their study ideas, prior to submission to Prostate Cancer Research, for feedback from a specially selected review panel assembled based on the proposal. The review panel consisted of experts in surgery, radiotherapy, genetics, psychology, biomarkers, statistics, early detection and screening, epidemiology, immunotherapy and nursing. Members of the NCRI Consumer Forum were on the review panel to ensure the research was practical and relevant and will directly benefit cancer patients and their carers.

The feedback from the panel was very useful – it helped to outline the points in the application that were either not clearly articulated or lacked necessary information for understanding. This particularly concerned the study design and patient recruitment. Using the feedback, we have improved the original proposal which allowed us to pass to the next stage and be invited for the interview.

Prof Dmitry Pshezhetskiy, University of East Anglia


We received very useful comments from a range of panel members including scientists, clinicians and patients. We were able to modify our proposal in response to the suggestions, significantly improving our application.  For example, we included additional datasets to our analyses and initiated new collaborations. We also strengthened our summary of the future clinical implementation of our biomarker strategy.

Dr Greg Brooke, University of Essex


The NCRI proposal guidance was a useful step in the development of our proposal. We received valuable feedback from a member of the public, which confirmed the study’s direction. We also received constructive feedback regarding our methods, which helped us to shape those further and made the proposal more robust.

Dr Floor Christie-de Jong, University of Sunderland

1 in 4 Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, compared to 1 in 8 White men. Analysis from Prostate Cancer Research has shown that not enough is being done to address this, which led to the grant call to fund research that seeks to address the racial disparity in prostate cancer and improve the situation for Black men.

As we launched this call to encourage more researchers into a field that has not seen much activity compared to the level of need in recent years, we really valued that our applicants had the opportunity to discuss and receive feedback on their submissions before they were peer-reviewed and assessed by our patient panels. It was particularly valuable that the NCRI team had ensured the expertise on the panels was matched to the applications. I would strongly recommend it to other partners.

Dr Naomi Elster, Director of Research and Communications, Prostate Cancer Research