Underrepresented Communities Scoping Award 2021


As the largest voluntary funder of cancer research in Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society is committed to putting patients, families, carers, survivors, supporters and the public at the very heart of what we do. A key priority in the new Irish Cancer Society strategy 2020-2025 is to invest in world-class cancer research that will ultimately bring about a positive change to the lives of people affected by cancer. We do this by ensuring that all the research that we fund will have an impact and make a difference to people affected by cancer.

Cancer impacts the lives of everyone, but certain individuals bear a disproportionate burden of cancer when compared with the entire population. Although cancer mortality rates are declining, cancer incidence is still steadily increasing and there are certain groups within Irish society that are much more likely to have poorer outcomes with cancer. Cancer tends to be more common, more advanced, more difficult to treat, and be associated with poorer outcomes among socially excluded* individuals and communities. Clinically, individuals from these groups are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a younger age, at a later stage and are less likely to survive their diagnosis.

The Society envisions that by 2025, three out of every four cancer patients will survive their diagnosis and that everyone affected by cancer will have access to world-class treatment, care and support no matter who you are or where you come from.  Therefore, in line with this vision, a key priority of the Irish Cancer Society is to identify ways in which we can overcome the barriers affecting socially excluded individuals and communities, in order to ensure equity of access to cancer care and services.

As an initial step to this priority, we first want to identify who are these individuals and communities in Ireland that are having poor cancer outcomes. Nationally and internationally there is very little research defining these socially excluded groups, and the reasons why these groups experience disproportionally poorer survival. Research has shown that there is a correlation between cancer incidence and socioeconomic disadvantage; however, cancer disparities likely reflect an interplay among many social, psychological, and economic determinants.

In the Republic of Ireland, there is limited available information on the patterns of cancer disparity in socially excluded groups. Given this deficit, and in line with the Irish Cancer Society and Irish Cancer Society Strategic Plan, we aim to “inform and influence public policy” in relation to all aspects of cancer. With this in mind, the aims of this specific call is to fund a research proposal to scope out and examine the characteristics of people in Ireland who experience especially poor outcomes with cancer and to identify the barriers that exist to accessing cancer services.

* As a guide, socially excluded groups may include (but are not limited to), individuals from lower-socioeconomic and educational backgrounds or experiencing poverty, unhoused or homeless individuals, individuals who are discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity, migrants, refugees and ethnic minorities, members of the travelling community or prisoners.

Please see the Guidelines for Applicants for more information


The Underrepresented Communities Scoping Award 2021 will provide funding of up to €50,000 for a project of up to a maximum of 12 months duration.

Multiple interim reports may be provided over this timescale but the project must generate its conclusions no more than 12 months after signing of the award contract inclusive of any external oversight/ethical oversight etc. that might need to be applied for to complete the research.

How to apply

Applications must be completed and submitted through the Irish Cancer Society Gateway Grant Tracker online system. In order to submit an online application, you are required to register at the following address: https://grants.cancer.ie

Deadline for applications: 3.00pm, Monday 11th October 2021.

Key dates*   

Monday 13th September 2021 Applications open
Monday 11th  October – 3pmApplication Deadline 
October/November 2021Review
November 2021Awardee selected

Please note: that the above dates are subject to change at the discretion of the Irish Cancer Society.

Guidelines and documents
Documents to download