November 7, 2018

Frequently Asked Question: "How does the Irish Cancer Society decide what research is funded?"

As a charity funded by public donations, the Irish Cancer Society is proud to have invested €25 Million in life-saving cancer research in Ireland since 2010.

We fund a broad range of research from basic laboratory research examining the underlying mechanisms of cancer, to population-based cancer research that examines the risk factors associated with cancer in the population, in addition to clinical research that investigates the benefits of new treatments or tests for cancer patients. Our Social Sciences research programmes are dedicated to survivorship research that seeks to improve the quality of life of those living with and beyond cancer. We have funded hundreds of projects over the years leading to many discoveries. 

While the Irish Cancer Society welcomes applications for funding from all areas of cancer research, we as a Society do not get to choose which applications or cancer areas get funded. The way in which our research funding process usually operates is through a funding call - i.e. we publicly advertise the funding opportunity, and it is open to those who want to apply and meet the eligibility criteria. To decide which projects are funded, external experts from outside Ireland review the applications for us and recommend which ones should be funded. In this way, the Irish Cancer Society remain completely impartial to the decision making process. The Irish Cancer Society is committed to putting patients, families, survivors, supporters and the public at the very heart of what we do. In keeping with this promise, we are working to embed Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in all of our research funding decisions, and we have recently started to include patient advocates as part of our grant review process. 

The review of applications is a rigorous process that generally involves multi-stage assessments and interviews. The key factors that the reviewers are generally asked to consider are the scientific quality and novelty of the research, its relevance and impact on cancer patients, and the track record of the applicants. Applications must be of the highest scientific standard in order to be funded by the Irish Cancer Society.

Please see our infographic about cancer in Ireland and the funds spent by the Irish Cancer Society on cancer research, patient care and support. If you would like more detailed information about the Irish Cancer Society’s spending and financial transparency, please see here.