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Cancer Research UK funding tops half a billion pounds

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by Cancer Research UK | News

18 July 2019

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Cancer Research UK raised £540m in fundraising income in the last financial year, an increase of 2 per cent over the previous year, in one of its most successful fundraising years so far.

This increase was in part thanks to more money raised from legacy donations, Race for Life and Stand Up To Cancer, which all raised more than the previous year.  And an additional £2m was raised via Facebook charitable giving, an innovative new fundraising platform that launched towards the end of the year.

Total income for the year was £672m, an increase of 6% on the previous year, which includes fundraising income as well as £125m income from charitable activities* – the largest amount ever received, which will be reinvested in research. 

As a result of Cancer Research UK’s strong fundraising performance over the year, more money was available for research than almost any time in the charity’s history.  Over the year, £587m was spent on charitable activities, including £546m** on cancer research, and £42m on information and influencing.

Investment has continued in four key areas to drive progress: prevention, early detection and diagnosis, developing new treatments, and making treatments more effective. In the past year, Cancer Research UK has invested in its ambitious international Grand Challenge research award, funding three more teams***.  Between them, they will receive up to £60 million over the next five years.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive at Cancer Research UK said: “I am truly humbled by our supporters’ generosity, which has enabled us to spend more on our charitable work than almost any time in our history.  I feel privileged that in my first year as CEO we are in a strong financial position, given the wider challenges and uncertainties that we face in the economy.  We are well poised to take on these challenges, but we must never be complacent, as there is so much more to do.

“Today, as the UK population grows and ages, we know that the disease will cast a shadow over more of us than ever before.  There’s never been more opportunity – nor more urgency – to translate research into tangible benefits for people with cancer.  But to do this, we must work together with other organisations, in the UK and globally, and make sure every penny is spent wisely.  It is only by doing this, and staying focused on our goals, that we will see 3 in 4 people surviving cancer for 10 years or more by 2034. We’re making good progress, but we still have so much more work to do, together, to beat cancer.”

Key achievements outlined in Cancer Research UK’s annual report and accounts, published today (18 July 2019) include:

  • Securing a strong commitment to early cancer diagnosis in the NHS Long Term Plan.
  • Three new international Grand Challenge teams awarded £20m each over the next five years, to solve long-standing mysteries in cancer research such as how the body’s communities of bacteria – our microbiome – are involved in cancer***
  • Launching the Cancer Research UK City of London Centre, a £14m investment to create a world-leading cancer therapeutics research hub, involving UCL, Kings College London, QMUL/Barts, and The Francis Crick Institute.****
  • Launching a new Brain Tumour Award funding scheme, to accelerate progress in research on brain tumours. This resulted in three multidisciplinary research teams being awarded £18m in June 2019, in collaboration with the Brain Tumour Charity.*****

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research, supporting the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses. Cancer Research UK is at the heart of progress that has seen survival rates double in the last forty years.

For every pound of income from donations, investments and royalties, 82p was available to beat cancer.  

For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work and to view this year’s annual report and accounts, visit