Only through research will we make the ultimate difference to men with advanced prostate cancer and their families. We are also very grateful for our supporters’ trust and generosity, and we take very seriously our responsibility to spend their donations wisely. Over the past year, we have invested a lot of time and energy into fine-tuning our application process, to make sure we fund only the best prostate cancer research.
We launched an open and competitive grant call last winter, inviting any UK-based researcher to apply for up to £500,000 for research into advanced prostate cancer. We knew our small staff team couldn’t contact every UK university to spread the word, so we checked the Research Excellence Framework and made a particular effort to contact the universities whose research ranked the most highly.
We contacted research offices, rather than individual scientists, because we didn’t want any individual to assume their application would be treated any differently to anyone else’s – and because, with so many excellent scientists in the UK, calling every single one would have required a small army!
We received 34 short application forms from top universities across the UK, and worked with our regulator – the AMRC (Association of Medical Research Charities) – to make sure our process for evaluating these applications was top-notch. Researchers initially submitted a short form describing their ideas, which included working with the immune system, finding new ways to target the androgen receptor, and new possibilities for employing radiotherapy, medical imaging and AI in medical treatments.
Shortlisted scientists were invited to submit a much more detailed application, which was reviewed by scientific experts, and people affected by prostate cancer. The scientists received comments from both groups and had the opportunity to write a response. As this newsletter goes to print, our Scientific Advisory Committee is considering all of this information and we expect to make a final decision and announce our new research projects in the next few weeks.