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 Macmillan Research Grants Scheme 2018 is now closed

Decisions on outline applications will be made in early July 2018. The deadline for full applications falls in mid-September 2018, with the final decisions expected in January 2019. 

The application documents that were used for this year’s funding call can be viewed below:

Focus areas

For the 2018 funding call we invited outline proposals in the following three areas:

The impact of new developments in cancer treatment (such as immunotherapy, personalised medicine, modern radiotherapy techniques) on the lives of people with cancer

Priority topics

  • Access to, and expectations of, newer treatments; the experiences and perspectives of people living with cancer.
  • Understanding the real-world experiences of people who are undergoing newer cancer treatments and identifying their support needs.
  • The long-term effects of newer cancer treatments on people’s lives.
  • Managing uncertainty for people on long-term, non-curative treatment who are living with cancer as a chronic condition.

How to most effectively get information about their diagnosis and prognosis to people living with cancer to enable them to make the right decisions about their life, treatment and care.

Priority topics

  • Identifying and overcoming the barriers that prevent healthcare professionals and people with cancer having the right conversations about prognosis at the right time.
  • The role and impact of peer to peer information provision (eg through online forums, social media, face to face) for people living with cancer, and the implications for healthcare professionals.
  • Applied cognitive psychology/information processing research to build understanding of the most effective ways to deliver information on cancer diagnosis and prognosis.
  • Understanding the impact of evolving digital delivery formats on access to, and engagement with, information on cancer diagnosis and prognosis.

Identifying, understanding, and addressing inequalities in experience and outcomes following a cancer diagnosis

Priority topics

  • Secondary analysis of existing population-level datasets to provide novel evidence on inequalities in cancer experiences and outcomes.
  • The impact of inequalities in cancer experience and outcomes on costs to the NHS and social care system.
  • Understanding why inequalities in cancer experience and outcomes exist.
  • Development of evidence-based approaches to address inequalities in cancer experience and outcomes.

Research with impact

In tandem with this year’s funding call we launched Macmillan’s Research Impact Framework.

It is intended to support successful grants scheme applicants to plan for, deliver and demonstrate research impact. All applicants should review it before applying.

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.


Outline applications

  • Applicants submit outline application to Macmillan.
  • Macmillan confirms receipt of application.


Internal triage

  • Outline applications undergo eligibility checks and internal review to assess their relevance to the call scope and their potential to benefit people living with cancer. 
  • Applicants are informed of decisions and shortlisted applicants are invited to submit a full application.


Full applications

  • Applicants submit full application and all supporting documents to Macmillan.
  • Macmillan confirms receipt of application


External peer review

  • Full applications are evaluated by scientific peer reviewers and people affected by cancer.
  • Peer reviewers are experts in the relevant area of research and assess the scientific quality of the research. 
  • People affected by cancer assess the relevance and value of the research and the quality of plans for involving people affected by cancer in the research. 
  • Applicants receive peer reviewers’ feedback, and have an opportunity to submit a response to the reviews.


Research Advisory Panel (RAP)

  • The Research Advisory Panel (RAP) assess applications and make recommendations on which applications to prioritise for funding.
  • Macmillan’s Executive Strategy Team review these recommendations and award funding.
  • Applicants are notified about the decision on their application.