How we fund research | Sarcoma UK
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How we fund research

Since 2009, we’ve invested over £6.5 million into research projects. We want your donations to have the biggest possible impact.

That’s why we only fund research which is the best quality sarcoma science and will be most relevant and beneficial to sarcoma patients.

We have a rigorous system to make that happen, following guidelines set out by the Association of Medical Research Charities, the membership organisation of the leading medical and health research charities across the UK.

Our research funding process

Research Strategy

We work closely with our Grant Review Panel, made up of scientists, clinical experts and people with personal experience of sarcoma and the wider sarcoma community in setting a research strategy, while our Board of Trustees allocates our annual research investment.

The strategy sets out how we will invest in research over the next 5 years. It is based around several key areas, including:

  • Focussing on patient priorities
  • Building collaborations
  • Integrating with the research community
  • Developing the next generation of research leaders
  • Funding a balanced, broad research programme
  • Communicating research progress

Read our Research Strategy in full.

Applications to our grant rounds

We open funding calls several times a year, welcoming applications across the field of sarcoma research. We aim to be flexible in the research grants we award, with no area of research or sarcoma subtype given greater priority over another.

Funding calls are advertised on our website and to the sarcoma research community. Find out more about how to apply for funding.

Written peer and lay review

Once a grant round has closed, all applications undergo a rigorous process called peer review, where each application is anonymously appraised by independent scientific experts from across the world.

We also ensure all grants are reviewed by people affected by sarcoma – our Research Grant Lay Reviewers.  Their personal experience of sarcoma gives them a unique insight, to ensure that the research we fund is in line with patient priorities.

Applicants are offered the opportunity to respond to comments from peer and lay reviewers before applications are discussed by our Grant Review Panel.

Declaring conflicts of interest

To uphold the highest standards of independence in our research funding, all reviewers are asked to declare any conflicts of interest. If conflicted on a given application, they are unable to review it to prevent bias.

A conflict of interest policy also exists for our research panels; a conflict on any given grant application means that members may not be present for the discussion of that application during panel meetings.

Strategic Review: selecting applications for funding

Our Grant Review Panel is made up of sarcoma experts, academics, clinicians and people affected by sarcoma. Their role is to ensure independent and high-quality research recommendations are made to Sarcoma UK’s Board of Trustees.

The panel meet to fully discuss the applications and their reviews. Following the discussions, each member anonymously and independently scores each proposal to help determine which should be awarded funding.

Our Research Strategy Committee provides a strategic review for applications to our Strategic Collaborations Fund.

Funding awarded and progress monitoring

All grant-holders submit progress reports each year and a final report at the end of the project. We keep in regular contact with our grant-holders throughout the lifetime of the project and beyond.


Our two funding panels of international experts in sarcoma research, treatment and care play a key role in selecting projects for funding and guiding the development and impact of our research programme.

Assessment criteria for our funding calls

Sarcoma UK’s research programme is flexible and broad. Proposals will be assessed on scientific quality and relevance to people affected by sarcoma.

Following submission, all applications are administratively triaged by Sarcoma UK’s Research Team. Applications will proceed to review unless they are deemed out of remit for the call at this stage. Applications will be assessed on the following criteria by the Grant Review Panel, peer and lay reviewers:

  • Scientific quality: quality of the scientific rationale, approach and experimental methods and design
  • Pathway to impact: likely contribution of the project in terms of advancing scientific knowledge or changing clinical practice
  • Team and environment: track record and suitability of the investigators and research environment to carry out the proposed work. PhD studentship projects will additionally be assessed on the experience of the investigators as supervisors and the support offered to the student.
  • Requested resources: appropriateness and justification of the requested budget in supporting the direct costs of the research and suitability of the proposed timelines for the project
  • Relevance to people affected by sarcoma: overall value of the work for people affected by sarcoma, clarity of the lay summary and robustness and appropriateness of plans to involve people affected by sarcoma in the project (if applicable)
  • Relevance to Sarcoma UK’s Research Strategy

AMRC logo

In 2020, we were awarded the Association of Medical Research Charities‘ Certificate of Best Practice in Peer Review.

This recognises the highest quality standard with which we award and administer our research grants.


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