Macmillan research grants scheme

At Macmillan we run an open competition grant funding scheme for UK-based researchers who have proposals for research projects that address questions relevant to our current call, that are scientifically and methodologically excellent, and that have clear potential to benefit people living with cancer.

To reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer, we invest in research that helps us to understand the numbers, needs and experiences of people living with cancer and generate the evidence needed to enable a better cancer experience.

Calls for applications

The 2017 Macmillan Research Grants Scheme is now closed for applications. 

Applications are currently under review. More information on the review process can be found below.

We will run another call next year. Please keep checking this webpage for updates regarding key dates and the scope for next year’s call.

Our application and review process

Click on the titles to read more about what happens at each stage.

Open call

Macmillan announces focus areas for funding research and key dates in the application process.



Applicants submit outline application and all supporting documents to Macmillan.

Macmillan confirms receipt of application and confirms time frame for decision process.


Internal triage

Outline applications undergo internal review to check that they meet all the criteria of the call, and to assess their consistency with Macmillan’s published research strategy, their relevance to the call scope, and their potential to benefit people living with cancer.

Successful applicants are invited to submit a full application which is sent for external peer review.

Unsuccessful applicants are informed of the decision.


External peer review

Full applications are reviewed by external scientific peer reviewers, who are experts in the relevant area of research, to assess the scientific quality of the research.

Applications are also reviewed by people affected by cancer to assess the relevance of the research for them, as well as the quality of plans for the involvement of people affected by cancer in the research.

Applicants receive peer reviewers’ feedback, and have an opportunity to submit a response to the reviewers.


Research Advisory Panel (RAP)

The Research Advisory Panel review and evaluate the applications and assessments from each phase of the review process before recommending which applications should be prioritised for funding.

The RAP receives assessments from:

  • the internal triage stage
  • people affected by cancer
  • external scientific peer reviewers. 

In addition, they receive the full application and the applicants’ responses to the peer review stage.

Applicants are notified about the decision of their application. 


Scope of 2017 call

This year, we invited outline applications for projects in the following areas:

  1. The role of primary care in meeting the needs of people living with cancer
  2. People living with cancer that cannot be cured
  3. The use of digital technology to improve the experience and outcomes of people living with cancer

Please see below for the full scope of the call within these areas.

Further details on available funding, applicant eligibility and the application and review process can be found below.

Key dates

The deadline for outline applications was 8 May 2017.

Decisions on outline applications are expected at the beginning of June 2017.

The deadline for full applications is anticipated to fall in mid-July, with final decisions expected in November 2017.

Grant agreements for successful applicants must be signed by the end of December 2017.

Applicant eligibility

Lead applicants should be scientists, clinicians or health care workers based at either a UK HEI or hospital. No restrictions are placed on the affiliations of co-applicants. We would encourage applicants to consider the inclusion of people affected by cancer as co-applicants, where meaningful and appropriate.

Individuals may only be named as the lead applicant on one application within this funding round.

Funding limits and allowable costs

Macmillan will be spending in the region of £750,000 on research funded through this call. 

Project grant applications in Area 3 of the call (‘Digital Technology’) will be considered for up to 12 months duration and with a maximum funding amount of £100,000. 

Project grants in all other areas of the call will be considered for up to 36 months duration and with a maximum funding amount of £250,000. 

As a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), we endorse the AMRC statement on supporting research in universities. Macmillan will only pay the directly incurred costs of the proposed research and will not provide support for either directly allocated or indirect costs. Awards are made on the understanding that directly allocated and indirect costs (overhead costs) will be met by the host institution.

For more details on allowable costs, please see the Instructions for Applicants [PDF].