COVID-19 claims Cancer Research UK funding cuts, forecasting major shortfall

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) said it has been forced to take “the difficult decision” to make deep funding cuts across its grants and institutes as the fallout from the pandemic continues to affect all areas of biomedical research.  

CRUK, which funds around half of all oncology research in the U.K., said it will be axing funding to its “existing grants and institutes by up to 10% and its national network of Centres by around 20%.”

This tallies up to a loss of £44 million ($54 million) across its research portfolio for the year and comes as the charity, which also has a commercial arm, expects donations to fall hard this year.

Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at CRUK, said: “COVID-19 has left the whole world in uncharted waters. And the unprecedented measures to control the global COVID-19 pandemic have had a huge impact on both our researchers’ ability to carry on in the lab, and on our ability to fundraise. Faced with a predicted loss of 20-25% of fundraising income, we are forced to look for savings across our current portfolio."

He said making these sorts of cuts is “the most difficult decision we have had to make. We don’t do so lightly."

He added: “Cancer doesn’t go away during or after COVID-19, but we’re incredibly proud of our community of researchers who have been very quick to respond to the crisis, using their kit, skills and talent to support the NHS and the COVID-19 response. Our mission is so important to people all over the UK and by helping the global effort of tackling COVID-19, we hope we can get back to beating cancer as soon as possible.”