New Roads in Research

Programme Leads: Professor Steve Pollard and Professor Simon Boulton

Purpose: Increase the quality, quantity and diversity of brain cancer research in the UK

Strategic Objectives

The brain tumour research community is small, and also under funded across the world. The research strategic programme is focused on increasing the quality, quantity and diversity of brain cancer research in the UK. Leading scientists in this programme are drawn from a diverse range of research fields and include world-leaders in neuroscience, synthetic biology, developmental biology and tumour immunology. The group recognises in particular the opportunity to leverage the outstanding neuroscience and developmental biology community in the UK to improve understanding of brain tumours.

Update on Progress

On the 28th of June, a research sandpit was held and attended by: current brain tumour researchers and clinicians; scientists new to the brain tumour field with a wide variety of backgrounds (developmental biology, neuroscience, tumour immunology, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence); representatives from five different funding bodies.

The aim of the day was to

  • Progress impactful basic research of brain tumours within the UK
  • Establish collaboration with scientists who are new to the brain tumour community
  • Identify areas for research innovation and focus including novel techniques and methodologies
  • Stimulate cross-funder thinking in new schemes at project grant/postdoc level
  • Identify funding opportunities, and match projects with eligible award schemes

The group developed three areas of research to further pursue, all with a focus on glioblastoma. Elements of these ideas will underpin PhD and post-doctoral projects. The funding bodies gave valuable talks on eligible grants and schemes, which was relevant for the work that was developed during the sandpit

Next steps

The team is hoping to identify additional sources of funding for project level grants and follow up discussions with funders and key scientists are currently ongoing. Focussing on project grant and senior postdoc fellowships will be the major priority. A Tessa Jowell Project Grant and/or Postdoctoral Fellowship might provide a welcome entry point to new scientists and stimulate younger researchers.

Research workshop on the 28th of June 2019