• At Breakthrough Cancer Research we fund researchers with projects which aim to improve cancer care and survival.  We favour funding ideas which are patient focused and/or clinically linked and translationally oriented. We look for projects which fulfil our current research priorities.  Bench projects are considered but should a have clear path to translation, however long, and researchers should be clear on the unmet need or clinical challenge the project seeks to address.
  • We fund in a variety of ways including through our own fellowships and scholarships and also through join funding and partnership schemes such as the MRCG-HRB Joint Funding Scheme and the Irish Research Councils Enterprise partnerships.
  • Additionally, individual projects grants can be sought and the process is different depending on the level of funding sought. The Scientific Advisory Board discuss potential awards at various intervals during the year so it is advised to make informal inquiries before applying to research@breakcancer.ie.

Cancer Immunology Research Fellowship (CIRF 2021) - Opened 13th August 2021









Breakthrough Cancer Research (Breakthrough) in partnership with ‘5 For The Fight’ are committed to investing in research which harnesses the immune system in the fight against cancer. We are also committed to identifying and supporting future research leaders in translational cancer research. The purpose of this fellowship is to fund two excellent cancer immunology scientific research projects which show the promise of impact for cancer patients.

The former Chairman of Qualtrics EMEA, Dermot Costello who was first diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer in 2014 used the last months of his illness to kick-start ‘5 For The Fight’ in Ireland and Europe.  The ‘5 For The Fight’ campaign raises funds for cancer research to improve the outcome for patients.  Breakthrough are the chosen partner of Qualtrics and ‘5 For The Fight’.

Breakthrough and ‘5 For The Fight’ are pleased to announce the second round of the Cancer Immunology Research Fellowship (CIRF) to the value of €300,000 each to support two excellent early/mid-career-stage investigators to carry out independent research for a three-year period to harness the immune system to treat poor prognosis and advanced cancers.

Fellowship Announcement 13th August 2021
Informal Inquiries 13th August – 6th September 2021
Deadline for Expression of Interest 13th September 2021
Deadline for submission of applications Time 11th October 2021, 17:00 GMT
Short Listed Applicants informed November 2021
Interviews & Formal Offer December 2021

Related documents to download:


2022 HRCI-HRB Joint Funding Scheme - OPEN

The Health Research Chairties Group (formerly MRCG) comprises over 40 charities. Some of these participate in the HRCI/HRB Joint Funding Scheme. The scheme funds internationally competitive and innovative research in areas of strategic relevance to particular HRCI-registered research charities.

The 2022 Call is now OPEN


Opening Date: 6th August 2021

Closing Date for EOI: 6th September 2021, 17:00 (GMT)

Closing Date for Full application: 18th October 2021, 17:00 (GMT)


Breakthrough Cancer Research is an Irish Medical Cancer Research Charity focused on funding research leading to new treatments for cancers which do not respond or are poorly served by available treatments. Breakthrough is committed to funding research to improve cancer care and outcomes and we ensure patient benefit is at the core of our efforts.  We emphasise clinically engaged projects, throughout the patient journey which will positively impact survival of patients with the toughest to cure cancers.

Both scientific and patient public initiative (PPI) reviewers will contribute to the overall scoring of the applications and awarding of the grants.  The PPI reviewers will assign a grade relating to appropriateness of the PPI involvement in the proposed research. When preparing your applications please consider, for example; (i) what PPI involvement do you have on your scientific and/or management teams, (ii) how have PPI members have contributed to the study design, preparation of the proposal, and (iii) what is your budget for PPI.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

Application Requirements:

Breakthrough invite research applications which:

  • Are patient focused and respond to an unmet clinical need in Pancreatic, Lung, Brain, Blood, Liver or Paediatric cancers only
  • Can demonstrate a path to translation into an intervention/treatment (even if over longer term)
  • Align with our Strategic Research Priorities

Funding Available:

Funding of up to €300,000 will be provided, for projects from 12 up to 36 months.

6th August 2021 Expression of Interest Applications Open
6th September 2021 17:00 GMT Deadline for Submission of EOI to Breakthrough Cancer Research
18th October 2021 17:00 GMT Deadline for Submission of Full Applications to Breakthrough Cancer Research
November 2021 – Mid-January 2022 Charity Peer Review
Mid-Late January 2022 Right to Reply Phase
Early March 2022 Submission of Shortlisted applications to HRB
June 2022 HRB Board Meeting
July 2020 Applicant Notification
October 2022 Research Project Start

Application Procedure

Please submit an EOI (2-3 pages max) to research@breakcancer.ie by 5pm GMT on Monday 6th September 2021.

Following review by our Scientific Advisory Committee, a shortlist of successful applicants will be notified for requests for their full application.

Applicants invited to submit a full application will be provided with all relevant documentation.

Documentation including the full application form from previous rounds of the scheme can be found at www.hrb.ie.

Further Information

Final call documents

For further information on HRCI-HRB Joint Funding Scheme go to:

or email research@breakthroughcancerresearch.ie

Related Documents to Download
B1 application form

C1 HRCI-HRB 2022 Part C1 Collaboration Agreement

C2 HRCI-HRB 2022 Part C2 Infrastructure AgreementC3 HRCI-HRB 2022 Part C3 Warrant for International Host Institutions

D1 HRCI-HRB 2022 Part D1 Principal Investigator Signature Page

D2 HRCI-HRB 2022 Part D2 PI Host Institution Signature Page

HRCI-HRB JFS Instructions to Applicants 2022 Final July 2021