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02921 845852
Wales Cancer Research Centre,
Room 1TB2 31,
First Floor Main Building,
University Hospital of Wales,
Cardiff, CF14 4XN

Access to patient Samples for Translational Research Award

The Wales Cancer Research Centre has launched its Access to patient Samples for Translational Research Award (ASTRA). This innovative funding stream is open to all cancer researchers in Wales, irrespective of field of study, seniority and geographical location. We have introduced the awards to build research capacity based around biological samples. We will award funds for access, processing and analysis of samples from Welsh cancer biobanks or where relevant bespoke collections sourced through Welsh NHS clinics. These include, but are not limited to, those sourced through the Wales Cancer Bank (WCB).

The awards will support researchers in delivering world-class outputs and projects which deliver the greatest impact from cancer patients’ sample donations. Cancer researchers in Wales are invited to apply for awards on a competitive basis. We conduct our work across four themes: Pre-Clinical, Translational, Clinical, and Community research. We would like the awards to reflect this broad working, across the full spectrum of cancer research and we hope the awards will maximise future benefits for cancer patients in Wales and beyond.

Awards are primarily intended to cover costs associated with access to donated samples, which include: patient consent, collection and processing of samples; and the linkage of clinical and research data. However, in order to facilitate new research projects and to promote research activity in this area across Wales, ASTRA will also consider providing some support for molecular analysis of the samples. Please note however that in order to maximise the number of high impact novel research projects funded by this scheme, analysis costs should be fully justified and where possible, at least partially funded from other sources.

Funding cannot cover salary costs. Costs associated with sample collection and linkage with data from the Wales Cancer Bank are provided with the application form. These costs are in line with Cardiff University Biobanking, Biobanking Wales, and other UK Biobanks. The WCB is also able to provide bespoke sample collections, including longitudinal sampling, fresh and frozen tissues, bloods, saliva, DNA and RNA. 

We encourage applicants to ascertain sample availability prior to submitting their project proposal. Please note that a requirement of successful projects will be to be able to report findings and demonstrate tangible outcomes (research manuscripts, new grant proposals, new collaborations) arising from the ASTRA project – so it is important that researchers discuss the likelihood of obtaining samples within a suitable timeframe. If using the Wales Cancer Bank for your samples, please contact them to ensure they can provide the samples needed.

Applications from collaborative projects (including but not limited to MDRGs), activity that makes the best use of individual samples and/or the collection(s) as a whole, and/or former WCB Pilot Projects are also encouraged. Projects should be aligned to the priorities of the Wales Cancer Research Centre, which is funded by Health and Care Research Wales.

Click here to download the application form. Completed applications should be submitted to by 5pm on 22nd February 2019. We will announce the first successful bids shortly after a Panel meeting, with a view to projects starting on 1st September 2018Applicants will be judged by an expert panel on scientific merit, feasibility of sample access, and potential future patient impact. Project applications should include an expected completion date but must be completed before 31st March 2020. Successful applicants should submit a report outlining the results of the project within one month of the completion date.

Please help us in our goal to promote translational research through sample dissemination throughout Wales, by passing this communication on to any colleagues for whom the call might also be appropriate. If you have any questions, please contact Jo Baker on