How we choose what to fund
We fund pioneering research to improve survival rates and reduce the harm caused by brain tumours. This is led by our research strategy, with the most promising projects selected using rigorous peer review.
A Cure Can't Wait: Our Research Strategy
Our Research Strategy defines our priorities over five years as we aim to double survival in 10 years and halve the harm caused by brain tumours in five years.
To achieve these ambitious goals we are focusing our efforts on the following priority areas:
- Accelerating understanding of tumour biology
- Diagnosing brain tumours earlier and more accurately
- Understanding the genetics and biology of tumour development to identify effective new treatments
- Catalysing the development of more effective and safer treatments
- Enhancing care and quality of life for everyone affected by a brain tumour
The Strategy is led by international professionals, key opinion leaders working in the field and those personally affected by brain tumours. All grant applications must address at least one of the priority areas.
Peer review and AMRC membership
We award our funds through a peer review process, as this is recognised as best practice in awarding research grants, with each application subject to review by independent experts in the field.
The Brain Tumour Charity is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and was awarded their Certificate of Best Practice in Research Peer Review for a fourth time in 2020.
Peer review in practice
The process differs for each type of grant but in every case we openly advertise for applications. This ensures that all eligible researchers can put forward their best research projects to us.
For example, to help us assess applications, we use online databases to identify reviewers from around the world with the most relevant expertise for each application. We ask them to comment on the suitability of the applicants' expertise, feasibility, the potential impact for those affected.
Every application is also then reviewed by our Scientific Advisory Boards (SABs) which are made up of internationally renowned scientific and medical experts that work in different areas of cancer research and social science.
The two boards, Biomedical SAB and Quality of Life SAB, are responsible for the assessment and rating of applications for research funding and making recommendations to our board of Trustees. They seek to ensure that all money is spent on the best research, with the highest potential for breakthroughs, at an appropriate cost.
Peer review is the only way to ensure the very best research is selected for funding and that it is not duplicated by research elsewhere. Our supporters can be confident that the money they raise in good faith is spent in the most effective way, with the best chance of success to improve diagnosis and treatments of brain tumours.
- We welcome applications for funding from brain tumour researchers worldwide (although some schemes are restricted to UK researchers).
- We do not just give money to researchers we know or happen to be local to us.
- Every application is reviewed by an independent panel of experts (our Scientific Advisory Boards).
- We seek to ensure we are not funding research that duplicates work already being done.
- We select only world class research that has the best chance of success.
- We manage and monitor our grants throughout their lifetime and insist on reporting and outputs from the researchers.
- Our research process is managed by a small, highly experienced research team.
Confidentiality and conflicts of interest
Throughout the process all information is kept strictly confidential. We make every effort to ensure our decisions are fair, objective and transparent. Any individual who has a conflict of interest with an application is excluded from its assessment.
Animals in research
We support the principle of using animals in research when it is necessary to advance understanding of brain tumours. All AMRC member charities support this principle.
This research is not undertaken lightly and only takes place where there is no alternative available in order to develop new treatments and where the benefits to human (and potentially animal) health outweigh the harm to animals.
Whenever we receive an application to fund such research we take great care, through our independent peer review process, to seek expert assurance about its conduct and value. Peer reviewers and Scientific Advisory Board members are asked to consider whether applicants have followed the principles of the 3Rs (refinement, reduction and replacement) as set out in NC3Rs guidance. If a research proposal requests the use of Specially Protected Species (SPS) additional review is required from the NC3Rs. Every effort should be made to avoid the use of SPS.
Stem cells in research
We support the principle of using stem cells in research when it is necessary to advance understanding of brain tumours.
This research is not undertaken lightly and only takes place where there is no alternative available in order to advance new understanding and develop new treatments. Whenever we receive an application to fund such research we take great care, through our peer review process, to seek expert assurance about its conduct and value.
We link to and work with a range of partners such Cancer Research UK to maximise our reach and make sure every penny raised works as hard as possible. If you are interested in funding research with us, please contact our Research Team: firstname.lastname@example.org