University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is a world-renowned university, currently within the top five in the UK for its research power. Its College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine consistently ranks highly in all the major frameworks, a testament to the quality of its teaching and research. Building on its history of excellence in discovery such as the first mammal cloned from an adult cell and the proposing of the Higgs Boson particle, the University remains committed to science and innovation where its core missions include shaping the future of health and care, and harnessing data, digital and AI for public good.

Despite its beginnings in a portacabin on the Western General Hospital campus where scientists focused on finding more successful anti-cancer therapies, over the last 40 years cancer research at Edinburgh has grown into an impactful research operation. It now spans over 40 research groups encompassing an outstanding mix of scientists, clinicians, statisticians, bioinformaticians and engineers with excellent support from technical, administrative and commercialisation staff. Their work on cancer is largely based at the Institute of Genetics and Cancer which is formed by the MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh Cancer Research and Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine.


University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is a leading research-intensive higher education institution. It boasts a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1451, making it one of the oldest and most esteemed universities within the UK. Based on its past achievements – such as the site of the first ultrasound of a foetus and leading the study demonstrating the link between statins and the reduced risk of heart attacks - Glasgow is a world changing university which produces research of global and national importance. Precision Medicine & Chronic Disease, One Health and Health Inequalities are three of Glasgow’s research beacons – areas of cross-disciplinary research excellence where the university brings researchers together with institutions, funders, practitioners and policy makers to address grand challenges.

Within Glasgow, the cancer focus resides within the School of Cancer Sciences, which encompasses the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre and Paul O’Gorman Cancer Research Centre. It is home to over 300 staff and students that are part of a national centre of excellence in the fight against cancer. Taking a bench to bedside approach, the School aims to translate scientific discoveries into new drugs or diagnostic and prognostic tools that benefit cancer patients, taking new therapies through preclinical and clinical trials.


Cancer Research UK 

Cancer Research UK is the world's largest independent funder of cancer research. Their strategy puts discovery research and excellence at the heart of their work with the clear objectives – to discover, detect, prevent and treat cancer. Together with their researchers and supporters, their vision is to bring about a world where everybody can lead longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.

To achieve this, CRUK has committed to spend £1.5 billion over the next five years, investing in creative people and transformational research.

In addition to funding the local clinical academic training programme in cancer for Scotland and various project and programme grants that fund researchers directly, Cancer Research UK also substantially invests in programmatic approaches such as the CRUK Scotland Institute, CRUK Accelerators (ACRCelerator, Predict-Meso, HUNTER), CRUK RadNet Glasgow Centre and CRUK Glioma Cellular Genetics Resource.


CRUK Scotland Institute 

The CRUK Scotland Institute, located in Glasgow, is one of Europe’s leading cancer research centres with the driving ambition to understand the complete journey of cancer development – how it establishes, how it grows and how it spreads throughout the body. It has an excellent reputation for fundamental cancer research, including world-class metabolism studies and is renowned for in vivo modelling of tumour growth and metastasis.

It is one of four research institutes core-funded by Cancer Research UK. In 2023, CRUK announced its largest ever investment in Scotland - £123 million over seven years was awarded to the Institute supporting over 300 researchers across 30 research groups as well as around 100 support staff.


MRC Human Genetics Unit

Situated on site with the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, the MRC Human Genetics Unit is one of the MRC’s largest research institutions. With a history of more than half a century dedicated to understanding changes in human DNA, its mission is to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying human development and disease, including cancer. The Unit applies clinical and scientific expertise, harnessing the power of complex data, to improve health, and the lives of patients and their families. In addition, staff provide computational interpretation and analysis of genome sequencing data from all regional NHS Scotland clinical genetics services.

Ongoing research saw a significant boost in funding in 2023, as the MRC confirmed a renewed investment of £46 million over the next five years into the Unit and its genomic research.


NHS Lothian and Greater Glasgow and Clyde

The Centre partners with its affiliated local health boards, NHS Lothian and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde which together cover two-thirds of the Scottish population – comprising over 3.5 million people – and treat a greater number through tertiary referral.

Within the NHSGGC, the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre is the primary cancer centre of Scotland, providing specialist oncology services to over 8,000 patients a year.

Each year around 5,000 patients receive treatment at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre with another 2,500 at their peripheral units in Southeast Scotland.

NHS consultants often take an active and lead role in research, working directly with us or are involved in clinical trials through the local Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres.



The Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres drive the discovery, development and testing of new treatments to combat cancer through the delivery of early phase clinical trials and translational research. Each ECMC is a partnership between the local NHS trust and university, bringing together university-based health researchers with hospital-based clinical staff and researchers. There are two ECMCs in Scotland, which align closely with the strategic focus and tumour themes of the CRUK Scotland Centre. They operate in close collaboration with both the Centre and one another to unify molecular testing and patient allocation to studies, as a Scotland wide approach to patients accessing phase I trials.

The Edinburgh ECMC focuses on first-in-human drug development, improving treatments for brain cancer, targeting molecular sub-types of ovarian cancer, cancer immunotherapy, personalisation of radiotherapy, haematological malignancies and prevention & early detection.

Key priorities for the Glasgow ECMC are exploiting therapeutic targets in liver cancer, improving outcomes in advanced colorectal cancer, targeting the DNA damage response to improve outcomes for glioblastoma, optimising PARP inhibitors in high-grade serous ovarian cancer, improving outcomes for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia, advancing understanding of novel drug targets in urological cancers, improving pancreatic cancer outcomes through precision medicine.


Other Collaborations

At the Centre we recognise the strength in partnership. Beyond our core partners we actively engage with a wide collaborative network with which we aim to enrich our investigations and leverage capacity. These include but are not limited to the following:

Beatson Cancer Charity
Chief Scientist Office
CRUK Centres network 
Data Loch
Living Laboratory
MRC National Mouse Genetics Network
NHSGGC Safe Haven
Public Health Scotland
Scottish Genomes Partnership