Cash available for research as Friends of Anchor opens 2021 funding

Local charity Friends of ANCHOR will invest up to £90,000 for pioneering cancer research projects in Aberdeen this year – and the organisation is seeking applicants to benefit from the early seed funding.

The charity funds research into cancer and haematology every year, with six grants of up to £15,000 on offer. Applications are now open for professionals working within NHS Grampian, University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University.

Professor Henry Watson, consultant haematologist and Friends of ANCHOR committee member, is at the forefront of the funding scheme and appraises each application received.

Explaining more about the support available to local researchers, Prof Watson said: “The process of obtaining major funding for research projects is very competitive, with many researchers from around the country applying for the same pot of money.

“Pilot data is critical in determining the likelihood of success of an application for significant funding, and that’s where Friends of ANCHOR comes in. The pilot grants awarded by the charity give early seed funding to these promising areas of exploration, allowing scientists to build a more compelling case to acquire substantial backing from major funding bodies that might translate into changes in the diagnosis or treatment of a disease.

“Without funding such as this, the university scientist might be sitting on a potentially brilliant project but may not have access to the initial pilot funding to test their hypothesis. That is why for several years Friends of ANCHOR has provided this important resource.”

The application process for pilot grants is competitive, with projects being reviewed and ranked by local senior academics in order to allow Friends of ANCHOR to spend this pot of money supporting the best pilot studies that are submitted. Ultimately, the hope is that the data from these pilot studies results in a higher rate of success in larger applications for external funding from a major funding body.

One of the recent beneficiaries of Friends of ANCHOR’s scheme is Dr Ian Fleming, whose research has given scientists a better understanding of how new targeted cancer drugs could be developed, helping to prevent the growth and spread of tumours.

Dr Fleming said: “The results of our pilot study funded by Friends of ANCHOR uncovered the potential for further work which could lead to a new class of drugs to combat metastases. This could translate into a significant positive effect on survival outcomes in cancer patients. With such promising and exciting results, we are now preparing an application for funding from the Chief Scientific Office.”

Applications for pilot research are open until April 1, 2020, and should be submitted to All pilot research funded by Friends of ANCHOR takes place in the city, either within the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University or NHS Grampian. Other pilot projects funded in the past year included research into bowel cancer, leukaemia and sickle cell anaemia.

The Friends of Anchor team

The Friends of Anchor team

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