The PdCCRS is designed to coordinate, co-fund and maximise cancer research grants funded across Australia, with an overall aim of funding applied cancer research towards reducing the impact of cancer in the community and improving outcomes for people affected by cancer. Following ten rounds of the Scheme, a ‘look back’ was undertaken on the impact of partnerships with other funders in the PdCCRS, and to determine if the Scheme was meeting its overall aim of funding applied cancer research.
The effect of co-funding on overall research investment and number of grants awarded was examined. An analysis was also undertaken of the pattern of investment in each of the research categories defined by the International Cancer Research Partnership’s Common Scientific Outline, and of funding awarded to individual tumour sites versus their burden of disease.
Since inception, over $115m has been awarded to 327 grants through the PdCCRS. Participation of 16 different government and non-government funding partners increased, $1 for $1, Cancer Australia’s available pool for funding cancer research. Co-funding of grants in areas of common research priority increased the number of grants able to be funded by 50%.
More than three quarters of PdCCRS grants (245/327) and 85% of funding ($98m/$115m) was awarded to applied research, including almost $41m to 95 trials-based studies.
The majority of funding and grants for site-specific research ($98m / 258 grants) was awarded to cancers of highest burden on the population ($64m / 172 grants). The PdCCRS also provided a mechanism for funding research in rare and less common cancers, with $37m (98 grants) to site-specific research in these cancers.
A priority-driven co-funding model for national cancer research can maximise the value of cancer research investment and provide a mechanism for funding of applied cancer research in identified priority areas.