The CRUK Convergence Science Centre supports researchers across the participating institutions with funding opportunities aimed at exploring new approaches to cancer research, training the next generation of convergence scientists, and develop innovative technologies with a real-world impact on clinical practice.

The Development Fund (Seed Funding)


Developing research at the convergence of the life, clinical, engineering and physical sciences is the key focus of the CRUK Convergence Science Centre. The Centre supports emerging ideas with its own seed funding scheme: the Development Fund. The aim is to promote new approaches and accelerate the adoption of new innovations in clinical practice and research. The primary intention of this seed funding is to develop the preliminary data required to build a more substantive project that could attract funding from external sources.

The Development Fund is a £50k award for a year. It supports projects in any area of cancer research, spanning prevention, detection and diagnosis, treatment and cancer biology. Applicants must clearly articulate the clinical and/or biological question that will be addressed and, if applicable, the need for novel engineering/ physical sciences approaches to address them. Applications must utilise a convergence science approach and align with the Centre strategic priorities. Convergence science is a unique approach to solve vexing research problems, especially those focusing on societal needs, or in the case of cancer research, unmet clinical needs with solutions that directly put cancer patient wellbeing at the centre of their design. Cross-institutional applications between the ICR and Imperial are recommended but not mandatory. The funding decisions are managed by our Research Subcommittee. Eligibility and remit may vary from call to call please see below for current call opening and information.


Developing new technologies, methodologies, and tools to address urgent unmet clinical needs in cancer healthcare and to solve intractable cancer problems is the key focus of the CRUK Convergence Science Centre. 




Interventional Science: This theme aims to deliver improvements in surgery, radiotherapy, novel localised therapies, and innovations to monitor therapeutic efficacy. This will be achieved through improvements in the precision of cancer detection and diagnosis and in treatment planning, delivery, and response monitoring at specific phases of the patient journey.

  • Early Detection: The Centre will be looking for projects aligning advanced biological research with state-of-the-art detection technologies that offer substantial advantages over existing solutions, whether involving biomarkers, genetic markers, or other innovative approaches for early detection.
  • Earlier Diagnosis: As cancer detection referrals increase, the Centre is dedicated to supporting technologies that enhance patient stratification, diagnosis accuracy, and treatment decisions. We prioritise rapid diagnosis, specificity, sensitivity, and integration with imaging technologies. Detecting cancer recurrence early is also a key focus.
  • Improved and novel therapies: Surgery and radiotherapy remain vital for treating solid malignancies. The Centre is committed to advancing these technologies and exploring innovative therapies, image-guided interventions, and treatment decision tools. While we support novel technological and methodological components, we do not fund drug discovery projects unless they include innovative technology. Other types of Chemical Biology approaches are welcome.
  • Therapy and care monitoring: The Centre is interested in monitoring technologies, encompassing devices for real-time assessment during therapy, as well as those for medium to long-term post-therapy monitoring. We seek technologies that enhance precision during treatment, monitor immediate responses, and support at-home use. Our goal is to prevent therapy failure, rehospitalisation, relapses, and enhance overall patient well-being and quality of life.


The Data Science initiative represents a novel addition to our strategy, functioning as an overarching approach aimed at tackling data science challenges in alignment with CRUK's Data Strategy. This initiative encompasses three key areas of interest:

  • Mathematical Oncology: Multi-modal approaches to Discovery Research. This involves using a combination of diverse data sources and mathematical modeling techniques to enhance our understanding of cancer. It integrates various types of data, such as genomics, imaging, and clinical information, to create comprehensive models that can reveal intricate aspects of cancer biology.
  • AI-assisted medical imaging and digital pathology. This refers to the utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI), in its broad definition, to enhance the analysis of medical images and pathology slides. It aims to improve methodologies and technologies to enable automated and more precise interpretation of medical images, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, as well as digitised pathology slides or even patient-derived models such as organoids.
  • Use of Health Data for cancer stratification, detection, and monitoring. This entails harnessing health data, such as patient records, genetic information, and real-time monitoring data, to refine the stratification, early detection, and continuous monitoring of cancer.





Development Fund Guidelines 2024

Application Form 2024


Convergence PhD studentships

The Centre offers training opportunities for clinical and non-clinical students; our approach harnesses the diverse expertise and infrastructure of a globally renowned university and a world leading influential cancer research institute. In addition, we create custom-built skills courses that complements the research undertaken by our students to equip them with the skills and confidence to succeed in any sector including academia, industry, business, politics, and healthcare. Our model builds unique student cohorts that focusses on topical issues in cancer research and utilises novel engineering and physical sciences approach to address them – this is what we mean by convergence science.

The Centre believes that the cancer research community should become more diverse, and we are a champion for diversity in our training activities. We have implemented strategies to ensure that our student community reflects the diversity of our world. We believe that students from diverse backgrounds will bring fresh perspectives that will promote innovation. Each year we host a bespoke student recruitment event which welcomes candidates from all backgrounds thereby giving all candidates a fair chance at securing one of our highly competitive PhD studentships. We bridge research teams from Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) to undertake convergence research and we are looking for supervisors from distinct disciplines across the two institutions who will equip our PhD students with cutting-edge convergence research skills by exposing them to novel concepts in cancer biology, engineering, and the physical sciences. 
Our training portfolio includes three distinct pathways which enables us to attract candidates at multiple stages of the scientific career pathway.