Cancer Research UK — one of the country’s largest voluntary-sector funding organizations — is seeking to improve the survival rates of people with cancer from around 50% today to 75% in 2034. We propose ways to focus cancer-research funding more effectively to help attain this goal.
We suggest that priority funding should go towards improving detection of early-stage, treatable tumours; developing innovative therapies for cancers that have high mortality rates even when they are detected early; and accelerating the translation of promising new drugs — which currently takes 17 years on average (Z. S. Morris et al. J. R. Soc. Med. 104, 510–520; 2011).
Strong leadership is crucial for implementing this three-pronged approach, and for optimal oversight of research funding. From our experience, training of team leaders needs to concentrate more on developing the skills for managing research teams and on acquiring the techniques for efficiently directing processes. Such training could be delivered by a leadership academy run by respected research leaders and business coaches.
Nature 556, 309 (2018)