NCRI’s proposals guidance helps investigators develop ideas for cancer research studies and progress them into applications ready for funding.

Researchers are invited to present their research ideas to a panel of experts, followed by discussion and recommendations from panel members on how the researchers might develop the proposal.

Proposals guidance offers an opportunity for researchers to present their proposal to a panel comprising a broad range of expertise and interests, from senior principal investigators, early career researchers and patient representatives.

Dr Vinton Cheng, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer, University of Leeds and member of previous proposals guidance review panel

Review panels consist of up to seven members covering translational science, diagnostics, AI and data science, patient and public involvement representatives and other specialists. The experts on the panel are assembled based on the expertise needed to review the proposal.

Besides discussing with the panel, researchers receive written feedback to consider before submitting to subsequent funding streams.

We aimed to provide candid and yet constructive feedback. We were invested in helping the researchers to produce strong proposals to maximise their chance of being awarded funding and achieving the desired scientific outcomes.

Dr Vinton Cheng, NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer, University of Leeds and member of previous proposals guidance review panel

In October 2020 NCRI offered proposals guidance to researchers developing multidisciplinary cancer research proposals. Nine researchers presented their research ideas.

Professor Dean Harris and Professor Peter Dunstan, Swansea University, shared their study idea for AI-assisted label-free serum spectroscopy in the early detection of colorectal neoplasia study (COLO-SPECT), for feedback. The researchers were looking to shape their proposal and gain support ahead of grant submission.

The panel provided us with multisource guidance covering sample size, endpoints, our research question, patient and public involvement and analysis advice.

Professor Dean Harris, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Swansea University

Each panel member provided the researchers with what they thought were the positives and limitations of the research and recommendations for improvements. As a result of the guidance, Professor Harris and Professor Dunstan changed their study’s proposed endpoint order. They also received an offer of support from a statistician and received further advice in this area.

It was fantastic to receive positive encouragement and support from the panel. We can now progress with our idea having been reassured that the proposal is strong and worth taking forward. We hope that when the proposal is submitted for funding, it will have added weight following further proof of concept work and statistician input.

Professor Dean Harris, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Swansea University

NCRI is currently inviting investigators who have ideas or proposals in the areas of prevention and early diagnosis or prehabilitation to submit their research for open discussion and peer input at the next proposals guidance meetings.

Proposals guidance meetings