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 reviewed annually.

Acquired brain damage, neuro-oncology, and headache and facial pain are three key areas in which effective new treatments are badly needed. They affect large numbers of patients and are responsible for disabling, and in the case of neuro-oncology - usually fatal, disease. We believe that focusing our research funding on these three areas maximises the impact of donations given to Brain Research UK.
- Professor James Fawcett, Chair of Brain Research UK Scientific Advisory Panel (2016 to 2018)


Brain tumours

11,500 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.

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

We are funding research to help understand how to repair the brain and spinal cord. This may be through behavioural interventions that stimulate recovery, or medical interventions, or a combination of both.

Current projects in this area

Headache and facial pain

Headache has been described as the most common medical complaint known to man.

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

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