Strategic Partners - Cancer Research UK

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Iain Foulkes, Executive Director, Strategy and Research Funding at Cancer Research UK, talks about working with EPSRC.

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Iain Foulkes, Executive Director, Strategy and Research Funding – Cancer Research UK

My name is Iain Foulkes and I’m the Executive Director for Strategy and Research Funding at Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK is one of the largest funders of cancer research in the country.  We fund a whole spectrum of basic research, population research, clinical research and so on, all really with the aim of trying to reduce the burden of this disease on society.

We’ve had a relationship with EPSRC now for many years, certainly over five years.  We embarked on a partnership to do with cancer imaging; this is all about how we image cancer within a patient and also in the lab, to gain insights into how best to apply treatments and so forth. We brought our expertise in cancer biology, and EPSRC brought their expertise in physics, chemistry, mathematics and so forth.

We weren’t really talking to the physical sciences and engineering communities before, we didn’t really know how to talk to them, we didn’t talk their language, that’s what EPSRC has brought and as a result, just a few months ago, we got an international panel over to look at our imaging sensors which we fund in partnership with EPSRC.  The outcome of that review was just fantastic endorsement from an international panel, their view was that this was a world leading network of internationally renowned centres.

Different partners can kind of bring in different complexities, but we have to say working with EPSRC has been one of the easiest partnerships that we’ve had, they were incredibly open and bureaucratically light and for a charity like us that’s incredibly important.  They share the similar sort of values which is to get great science done, get great innovations underway, trying not to get in the way of things, they just bring people together to do great science. We are doing things today as a result of this partnership we just couldn’t have done by ourselves.