Current research priorities

We have identified three priority areas where research investment is most urgently needed. In each of these three areas, there is a large unmet patient need that is not reflected in current levels of research funding. These priority areas are kept under regular review.


Brain tumours

More than 12,000 people are diagnosed with a primary brain tumour every year in the UK. More people under 40 die from brain tumours than from any other cancer.

With more than 130 different types of brain tumour, which may all present with different types of symptoms, they are difficult to diagnose and exceptionally difficult to treat.

We want to improve the outlook for people with brain tumours by funding research that takes forward our understanding of the mechanisms underlying tumour development, and helps develop better ways to diagnose and treat these tumours.

Current projects in this area

Brain and spinal cord injury

This theme covers 'acquired' brain and spinal cord injuries - that is, those that occur after birth. These injuries may be traumatic, caused by an external injury to the head or spine, or non-traumatic, caused by an internal event such as a stroke.

There are an estimated 2.6 million people in the UK living with the effects of these injuries.

The degree of impairment varies enormously from person to person, but many people are left severely disabled and need long-term rehabilitation to maximise function, independence and quality of life.

We want to improve the outlook for people with acquired brain and spinal cord injuries by funding research to help understand how to protect or restore function.  

Current projects in this area

Headache and facial pain

Headache has been described as the most common medical complaint known to man. It is the cause of three quarters of all neurological years with disability and the most common source of pain.

There are hundreds of different types of headache and facial pain disorders, including migraine, cluster headache and trigeminal neuralgia.

We want to improve people's lives by funding research that addresses the causes and mechanisms of headache and facial pain, and advances diagnosis and treatment of these disorders.

Current projects in this area