Active research grants

At Macmillan we are seeking to build our knowledge and understanding of the needs and experiences of people affected by cancer. As the number of people living with and beyond cancer increases, this research is critical for informing health and social care system design.

We fund a diverse academic portfolio of academic research, from longitudinal cohort to data linkage studies, with research environments ranging from the clinical to academic. We work together with our academics and partners to heighten research impact by collaborating across sectoral boundaries to disseminate findings and identify shared challenges, opportunities and interests.

Read more about our active academic grants:


The impact of cancer, co-morbidities and late effects on individuals and the health service

Dr Geoff Hall and Professor Adam Glaser

University of Leeds and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

This study seeks to examine clinical outcomes (including both overall and recurrence-free survival) through the use of routinely collected healthcare data. The data is contained within comprehensive electronic patient records from both secondary and primary care, in unselected groups of cancer patients. The study has ethical approval and aims to securely link non-identifiable information from general practice, community (primary care) and hospital electronic records.

The results of this study will provide a detailed picture of what happens to cancer patients across their cancer pathway, and the costs involved in their care. It will particularly focus on the impact of co-morbidity at diagnosis and the development of late effects following treatment. The programme will provide comprehensive intelligence applicable to the UK on cancer recurrence and consequences of the cancer and its treatment, to further inform health and social care and to support evidence-based decision-making.

The study began in October 2015 and will run for three years.


CREW Study (ColoREctal Wellbeing)

Macmillan Survivorship Research Group at University of Southampton

Lead Investigator: Professor Claire Foster

The ColoREctal Wellbeing (CREW) study began in 2010 and is a core project of the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group (MSRG) based at the University of Southampton.

CREW is a prospective, longitudinal cohort study designed to determine what happens to people’s health and well-being in the years following colorectal cancer treatment. The study provides the opportunity to identify which people are at most at risk of experiencing problems, to assess how quickly people return to a state of subjective health and well-being, and to measure factors which influence the course of recovery.

Over 1,000 participants were recruited to the study from 28 centres throughout Great Britain and large numbers of those participants continue to complete questionnaires and contribute data to the study five years after initial recruitment.

Emerging findings from CREW have already helped to shed light on the role that social support, confidence to manage illness-related problems and other non-medical factors play in cancer recovery.

From February 2016 CREW will be directly fed into the HORIZONS programme. The CREW study is set to conclude by December 2017.

For further information visit our MSRG page.


Evaluation of Patient-Reported Outcome (PRO) Protocol Content and Reporting in UK Cancer Clinical Trials (EPiC)

Dr Derek Kyte and Professor Melanie Calvert

University of Birmingham

In a number of clinical trials, patient-reported outcomes are being increasingly used to provide the patient perspective on physical, functional and psychological consequences of treatment as well as the impact of cancer. Patient-reported outcomes, such as quality of life, are important to cancer patients as they can help patients feel more empowered in their treatment decisions. However, despite their importance, patient-reported outcomes are not always included in trial publications.

This research aims to:

  • Determine the rate of PRO reporting in UK cancer trials.
  • Model factors associated with PRO protocol quality and PRO reporting quality/rates.
  • Explore barriers or enablers to optimal PRO protocol content and reporting.

The study findings will be used to develop a novel freely-accessible online training resource for cancer researchers aimed at disseminating best methodological practice in PRO cancer trial design, conduct and reporting.

Findings from this study will be available in late 2018.


An investigation into the prevalence, impact and experience of fatigue in teenagers and young adults with cancer

Dr. Stephen Barclay and Dr. Anna Spathis, University of Cambridge

Fatigue is one of the most common and distressing symptoms experienced by people with cancer, including teenagers and young adults. In recent years, teenagers and young adults with cancer have been increasingly recognised as having unique needs that differ from those of adults and children. This study seeks to understand the prevalence and impact of cancer-related fatigue on teenagers and young adults, to design an effective intervention.

The study consists of three stages:

  • a systematic review of cancer-related fatigue in teenagers and young adults
  • an electronic survey evaluating the prevalence and impact of cancer-related fatigue in teenagers and young adults
  • development of a co-designed, non-pharmaceutical intervention

Findings from this study will be available in December 2017.



Macmillan Survivorship Research Group at University of Southampton

Lead Investigator: Professor Claire Foster

HORIZONS (2016-2020) is a programme of research funded by Macmillan that builds on the work started with CREW. The HORIZONS programme aims to establish a series of representative cohorts including thousands of adults diagnosed with a range of cancers across the UK before their treatment begin. Three cohorts will be established comprising people diagnosed with young-onset breast cancer (those diagnosed at age 50 or below), gynaecological cancers or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (initially the diffuse large B-cell subtype).

Key research objectives of the programme include:

  • Mapping health outcomes, experiences and self-management over the life-course and the factors that influence these
  • Mapping the impact of cancer and its consequences on people diagnosed with cancer before and after treatment and over their lifetime
  • Informing policy and practice based innovative solutions to minimise the health burden and maximise support available to them over their life-course

The HORIZONS programme will be a national and international resource that will enable the exploration of consequences of different cancer diagnoses and treatments from the individual perspective across the life-course.

For more information about the HORIZONS programme please contact the Macmillan Survivorship Research Group or our Research Lead, Nic Lee.


What explains cancer costs in England?

Dr Mauro Laudicella, City University London

This programme of research seeks to examine the magnitude and variations of cancer costs across different stages of the disease, geographical areas and pathways of care. It does this through the creation of a new data set that enables analysis of direct hospital costs and economic costs of four of the most common types of cancer in England: breast, colorectal, prostate and lung cancer. The data includes 1.2 million patients in English cancer registries from 1 January 2010 until 31 December 2011.

The analysis focuses on understanding the following areas:

  • the hospital cost (direct cost) and the economic cost of cancer in England
  • the effect of routes to diagnosis on life-time costs
  • the cost of emergency admissions of patients with cancer.

This study began in January 2014 and is due to be completed in December 2017.