Collaborating outside of the Life Sciences
6 July 2018
In a recent article for Physics World, David Scott, Cancer Research UK's Director of Discovery Research and Research Communications, explores the importance of collaboration between cancer researchers and physicists and how CRUK are facilitating these important partnerships.
Over the past 40 years significant strides have been made towards tackling cancer. During this relatively brief period, survival has doubled in the UK and 50% of people will now survive the disease for a decade or more. At the core of this progress is research, bringing advances in screening techniques, diagnostic tests and treatments that together are helping to transform the outlook for this disease.
Despite these developments, now is not the time for complacency. Progress has not been uniform and for several cancers, such as oesophageal and pancreatic, survival has lagged far behind and seen little improvement. And for most patients whose disease has spread, achieving a cure remains a distant prospect. To ensure advances continue rather than stagnate, there is a clear case for innovation in the way we approach and carry out cancer research.
That is why in 2015 Cancer Research UK launched the Grand Challenge – an ambitious £20m programme to support scientists to solve some of the greatest problems facing the field. The grants not only seek to overcome major obstacles that stand in the way of progress, but also challenge more traditional ways of working. Where the increasing competitiveness of research funding may have sparked a trend towards safety as opposed to innovation, Grand Challenge seeks to encourage bold thinking and reward novel ideas and approaches to research.