Brain Tumour Research Centre – Criteria

What does it take to become a Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence? 

Centre applicants need to provide an outline of their proposed programme of research, summarising existing and proposed study areas, the aims and the programme of project investigations. This can include building on existing programmes and / or beginning new areas of investigation, and should carry details of the approach and methodology of planned investigations.

In addition, applicants will need to provide:

  • Evidence of levels of existing collaboration with other institutions and an outline of planned collaborative activities with these and additional institutions
  • A summary of the research facilities and equipment to which their group already possesses or has access to
  • Information regarding whether or not the University (or other institutional partner) offers matched funding and to what level
  • Details of existing funding and amounts required to fulfil the centre’s ambitions over the next two to five years with a view to establishing a Centre with a critical mass of trained neuro-oncology research staff which focus entirely on brain tumour research, including an outline of the funding profiles, detailing posts that are already funded and the posts that they seek to appoint*
  • A table summary, listing peer-reviewed papers published over the last five years, including current submissions, and the journal impact factors
  • A letter of positive intent from their Institution’s PR team confirming that they support the application and are willing to work collaboratively with Brain Tumour Research to promote the centre
  • Details of specific ethics permissions for use on brain tumour tissues and confirmation that the centre has access to tissue provided by a centre that has a Human Tissue Act (HTA) licence
  • Any additional information that they wish to submit in support of their application
  • A layman’s overview of the ‘story so far’ – overarching research objectives and ambitions, what has been achieved so far, and what is hoped will be achieved in partnership with Brain Tumour Research. This is essential for engaging with fundraisers for long-term support and to establish best groundwork for long-term funding strategies

*Funding will be available for salaries and consumables and essential equipment or facilities but not for overheads or administration costs.  

Brain Tumour Research Centre - Terms and Conditions

We provide long-term core funding to our Research Centres, paying for the salaries, consumables and specific equipment and infrastructure for teams within research institutions. Researchers are able to apply for funding from additional sources.

Continued funding is subject to Centres complying with our Terms and Conditions and providing regular termly and annual reporting. Continued funding of the Centre is also subject to Quinquennial Review by our Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB), with feedback being provided to the Lead Investigator in a follow up meeting, by the Research Manager and Chief Executive.

  • Your local Brain Tumour Research member charity supports the application (where applicable)
  • Each term (three times per year) reports will be provided and presented to the Trustees, which detail spending, progress and papers published. In addition the Research Manager will visit the Centre for an oral update on progress with the Lead Investigator and relevant members of the team
  • A comprehensive review document will be submitted by the group leader in advance of the Quinquennial Review
  • Institution PR team works with Brain Tumour Research to promote general awareness and to actively engage in and promote specific fundraising campaigns e.g. Wear A Hat Day
  • Institution works with Brain Tumour Research, sharing local business and other networking links
  • Lead Investigator acts as ambassador and attends our events whenever possible
  • Lead Investigator is prepared to be a spokesperson and help raise awareness
  • Lab is promoted within the Institution
  • Lab is badged as being supported by Brain Tumour Research and relevant member and collaborating charities
  • A Wall of Hope can be erected to recognise individual fundraising contributions – the exact format will be decided in discussion with each specific institution facilities team
  • Lab provides an open door policy, welcomes visitors and hosts regular lab tours
  • Institution provides desk space and infrastructure, including space to store marketing and fundraising collateral, for local Regional Fundraising Manager with the potential to expand to a team of up to six, including volunteers
  • A full contract will be drawn up for each Institute selected to become a Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence

Who can apply for a project grant?

Our unique strategy is to provide long-term core funding to our Centres, paying for the salaries, consumables and specific equipment and infrastructure for teams within the brain tumour research laboratories.  As such you would not be applying for a project grant but applying to partner with us to establish a Centre.  By becoming a partner we will jointly develop plans to establish the group that you need to realise our joint visions.

We are looking for individuals with the passion to raise awareness and funds for the brain tumour cause.  Researchers and Clinicians who share our vision of a sustainable, secure future for UK brain tumour research.  We want a future for all those living with a brain tumour.

How do I apply for a studentship or fellowship with one of your Centres?

You can apply to work for one of our centres by applying to the Centre lead. Currently, our first centre, located at the University of Portsmouth has various posts and PhD studentships as well as research internship places available from time to time.

University of Portsmouth – Professor Geoffrey J Pilkington. or See website for further details. 


When can I apply to establish a Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence?

Our next centre application round is expected to commence in 2015 or 2016.

To be considered as one of our partner Centres of Excellence please contact Brain Tumour Research Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith and provide your full contact details. You will be added to our distribution list and will receive news and instructions for our next application round in due course.

We expect applicants to be a member of the British Neuro-Oncology Society.

How to submit an application

When we open our next application round, if you have registered your interest with Brain Tumour Research Chief Executive Sue Farrington Smith, you will be invited to apply to become a Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence; it will not be an application for a traditional project grant.

In the first instance we will request you complete a short preliminary application form. If selected to submit a full proposal you will need to follow the format provided (example coming soon). When making your full proposal, you will need to answer each section in the application form and ensure that you meet the Terms and Conditions of funding.

See below for further information regarding our application review and assessment process.

By becoming partners we will jointly develop plans to establish the group that we need to realise our joint visions.

External and Internal Reviewers

Our Centre Selection Process is subject to review by the following groups:

Research Sub-Committee

Brain Tumour Research Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (SMAB)

International Peer Reviewers

Application Review and Assessment Process

Full applications are forwarded to our panel of International Peer Reviewers.

International Peer Review comments are fed back and summarised for a review meeting of our Scientific Medical Advisory Board (SMAB) and Research Sub-Committee. This meeting is facilitated by our Research Sub-Committee Chair and Trustee of Brain Tumour Research.

At this review meeting applicants are shortlisted and then subject to a site visit by members of the Research Sub-Committee and an independent member of the SMAB.

Feedback from site visits is provided to the Research Sub-Committee who in turn make their full and final recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

The selected centre/s is/are approved at the next appropriate Trustee meeting and applicants advised of the outcome and given feedback.

Quinquennial Review Process

Each Centre will be subject to a Quinquennial (five yearly) Review which will take the format of a comprehensive review document submitted by the group leader. This document will be appraised by the International Peer Reviewers. Representatives of the International Peer Reviewers will accompany members of the Research Sub-Committee and Scientific and Medical Advisory Board on a day-long site visit to the centre where the Lead Investigator would present the work orally, followed by a tour of the Centre. The tour would include viewing of posters prepared by the staff and PhD students and the opportunity to talk informally with the group members during the poster viewing session.

Conflicts of Interest Policy

This policy relates to our external and internal review committees their chairs and other members.

The purpose of this policy is to minimise the potential for conflicts of interest arising and to protect the Brain Tumour Research charity and those who work for it from any perception, real or otherwise, that the external interests and affiliations of its committee members might interfere with their ability to work towards the furtherance of the charity’s objectives.

Members of our Research Sub-Committee, Scientific and Medical Advisory Board and International Peer Reviewers are asked to declare any disclosable external interest at each application round. A register of interests for each application round will be kept by the charity.

Panel members should declare any interests which they feel may be a source of conflict, or which might be perceived to conflict, with the interests of the charity. This includes interests held by the panel members spouse or children.

Potential beneficiaries will not be present when decisions are being made about their application.

Statement on the Use of Animals in Medical Research 

Brain Tumour Research endorses the Association of Medical Research Charities position statement on the use of animals in medical research




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