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How we Fund Research

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Our Research Advisory Panel:
Excellent research governance is a vital part of Big C’s decision making. The role of our independent Research Advisory Panel is to provide expert independent advice on research grant applications submitted to Big C so that Trustees are well informed in their decision making. All of our RAP members and external peer reviewers are asked to declare any conflicts of interest and adhere to the Panel’s Terms of Reference and Code of Conduct for Advisory Panels. Following peer review, the RAP will discuss and rank the applications for funding for consideration by our Grants Committee and final approval comes from our Board of Trustees. The current members of our Research Advisory Panel are:
Dr Jean Craig
Research Adviser,
National Institute for Health Research
Professor Dylan Edwards
Retired Executive Dean, Faculty of Medicine &
Health Sciences, Chair of Cancer Studies, UEA

Professor Sue Fairweather-Tait
Norwich Medical School, UEA and Research Group Member, Musculoskeletal Medicine

Dr Ian Johnson (Panel Chair) 
Emeritus Fellow,
Quadram Institute Biosciences

Dr Ralf Zwacka
Reader, School of Biological Sciences,
University of Essex


More about our peer review process:
Applications will be subject to an initial desk top review in order to establish that application criteria have been met and will then be submitted for peer review by up to three or more experts in the relevant field. Applicants are asked to suggest three independent reviewers to review their application and may also exclude up to three reviewers from this process. Big C reserves the right to forward applications to the charity’s own external reviewers for review. 

Peer reviewers will use a standard form to assess each application and will score against the following criteria:
  • Overall rating 
  • Originality
  • Scientific quality
  • Track record of principal applicant
Peer reviewers will also be asked to consider whether:
  • Big C is the most appropriate funding body
  • The duration of support and salaries/expenses are appropriate
  • The study has the appropriate statistical support 
  • In relation to the application they have any conflicts of interest
  • For PhD projects the peer reviewers will be asked to comment on the track record of applicants leading PhD projects by asking specific questions regarding their experience in this area.
The standard peer review form includes a section in which the peer reviewers are asked to give an assessment, suitable for anonymous transmission to the applicants as feedback.  This section asks peer reviewers to give their opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of:
  • The importance of the research topic
  • Its originality
  • The scientific quality (including the clarity of the research objectives, the suitability of the methods chosen and whether the planned experiments are likely to yield decisive results)
  • The track record of the principal applicant in this area of cancer research.
All applicants will be provided with feedback on their application however Big C will not enter into further communication (by telephone or email) or correspondence regarding the decisions of the Board. 

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