Together we will beat cancer


There has been plenty of talk in recent weeks about Brexit, the UK’s impending departure from the EU. Once the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, kick starts the process of renegotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU, there’ll be two years of back and forth in Brussels while the deal is ironed out.

We’ll be following progress closely and seeking to input our expertise on the issues we care most about.

Our ambition is to accelerate progress and see three in four cancer patients survive their disease by 2034. Research is at the heart of our plan to realise this ambition. The UK’s membership to the EU meant various things for Cancer Research UK and the broader UK cancer research community. So, we’re keen to ensure that cancer patients in the UK and beyond are prominent on the agenda as the discussions unfold.

Here are some of the areas we’ll be looking at:

Researcher mobility

Lots of scientists come to the UK from Europe and the rest of the world to study and work. It’s the mix of UK, European and international researchers pitching in together and sharing ideas that helps keep UK science strong.

Today, being part of the EU makes it much easier for EU researchers to travel to the UK than researchers from other places in the world, meaning far more European researchers chose to come here. If, once EU membership is over, researchers from the EU have limits on their right to work, we could start to see fewer talented researchers from the EU’s remaining member countries working in the UK.

And empty desks at the lab and in the clinic could be bad news, weakening UK science overall and making it harder for us to keep making the discoveries that benefit patients in the UK, in Europe and the world over.

To safeguard research, and ultimately improvements in health from that research, we’ll be working to ensure continued flexibility for talented researchers who wish to travel to the UK.

Funding for cancer research

Cancer Research UK doesn’t receive government funding for our research – and that includes money from the EU. That said, the money we invest in research forms part of a broader science funding landscape – Cancer Research UK researchers might also receive funding from one or several other funders. One of these crucial funders is the European Union. And, as everyone who supports us knows, funding is the lifeblood of the research breakthroughs that ultimately benefit patients.

So we’ll be looking for reassurance that, whatever happens, an end to EU membership doesn’t leave medical research out of pocket.

Safeguarding the European research environment

Some EU laws govern how research is conducted across Europe – vital for international collaborations like clinical trials or studies into the causes of cancer. A level-playing field of harmonised laws makes collaboration across countries easier, as everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet in terms of rules and regulations.

And, as the answers to cancer’s challenges becomes even more of a global challenge, we’ll need more collaboration with partners in other countries in the years to come, not less. So we’ll be asking the Government to really take note of the value of some of these laws and we’ll advocate that in some important cases, such as clinical trials, the UK sticks to the EU legal framework even after EU membership has expired.

Rapidly changing situation

There’s plenty for us to be thinking about over the next few months as the negotiations begin and we assess the full extent of the opportunities and challenges of the post-EU world. We’ll keep you updated.


Also Read:

Our response to the Government’s Science and Technology Committee ahead of Brexit

Our response to the House of Lords ahead of Brexit




Chris Wright August 5, 2016

I also hope that the government will allow research and trails to continue as if we are a member of the EU . If it was not for the trails and research that has happened in the pass we would not possible be in advanced stage that we are in at the moment , not just for cancer but other research programs in other health problems , so please keep putting the pressure on the government to allow not just cancer research ands trails but all of them that is happening at the moment .

Glenda Willmot August 4, 2016

I truly believe that the new government will create an immigration policy that will surely allow the right qualified professionals to work in this country no matter where they were born. Please be more positive, we have all got to work together to ensure the UK remains strong.

Russell Braham August 4, 2016

Your article clearly sets out the core values of EU membership which none of the parties involed cared to build upon.. The negative issue took center stage and unfortunately negativity mostly appears to grab attention.. Being a british caribbean since mid 1950 the negatives have always been a political football, aided by the wonderful media at ever oppertunity. The contributions from many ouside peoples in from the EU tended to be ignored or devalued to serve the “king makers master plan”. Your recognition of the values of colabration and is very refreshing to hear. Your contiuned hard work to get and maintain funding is rewarding to so many would need help. Always disappointing knowing the UK government does not provide any funding to worthwhile causes.. Just imagine if a fraction of the “Trident” budget, (as essential as some see it) came your way. destruction means more to some humans rather than finding cures to man’s numerous ailments, hurts discomfort and pains.. IBD Patient. Crohn’s/Colitis disease. Through to benefits of corroboration i have seen improvements to my condition and i am very greatful for this as it enables me to live a fuller and more rewarding life.. Good luck in what you are aiming to achieve in making sure UK is not hugely disadvantaged in the end.

Mark August 4, 2016

Read the ‘Also Read:’ responses below Catherine’s Article which may clarify some of the questions you may have.

Karl August 3, 2016

On Funding Cancer Research:
The article says that ” Cancer Research UK doesn’t receive government funding for our research – and that includes money from the EU”. On the other hand it says that
“Cancer Research UK researchers might also receive funding from one or several other funders. One of these crucial funders is the European Union”.
So does (or rather did) EU make contributions to Cancer Research UK?

Loretta July 26, 2016

As someone who has battled four cancers by mortgaging my home I am very sorry to hear from the blog sent to me today by Catherine that there is so much concern about the EU helping out with filling jobs and the likelihood of desks unattended when there is a huge world of opportunities to employ scientists from other continents and the whole wide world. You mentioned the EU does not fund Cancer research UK so it is saddening to hear you making such a case for EU scientists. Perhapsyou could focus on helping schools and Universities with Vocational guidance and encouraging our young talented students to become the Cancer scientists we so desperately need. Spur them on with more positive encouragement and your targets and the serious need for people in this field in the future. Many thanks for the blogs and information I get from you. It is most appreciated.