Cancer Research UK is planning to fund a network of 20 research centres in British universities over the next two years, writes Melanie Newman. The centres will focus on research into the disease and its application to patient care.
Speaking at an Academy of Medical Sciences conference last week, David Critchley, the charity's executive director of science, said the initiative would help Cancer Research UK to influence universities' thinking. "Through partnership, we will move the cancer agenda forward," he said.
The initiative was prompted by the charity's review of training in 2006, which concluded that the size of the cancer research workforce was inadequate to meet its aims. "We realised we had to work in partnership with universities to get them to teach molecular biology in the context of cancer research, to encourage students from undergraduates to postdocs to develop a career in cancer medicine," Professor Critchley said.
He told The Times Higher the units would develop the cancer medicine centres already in place in universities. "We will build on the basic and translational research carried out at those centres so that they are not operating in isolation," he said.
A spokesman added: "The Cancer Research UK Centres initiative is a key strategic development for the charity in which we hope to work in partnership with universities, NHS trusts and cancer networks to help deliver our goals and to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer."