Thomas Preston
Posted by
Thomas Preston

How we decide what to fund

Thomas Preston
Posted by
Thomas Preston
25 Mar 2010

Every year we receive more than 200 applications for funding from researchers at universities and hospitals across the UK.

We only support the most original and innovative research, which will truly benefit patients affected by leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and related blood disorders.

We rely entirely on the generosity of the British public as we receive no government funding.

Our selection process involves hundreds of experts in blood cancer research around the world who give freely of their time to evaluate the applications.  Their informed assessments are considered by our three expert committees who make recommendations to our Board of Trustees on which applications to fund. This process, called peer review, is used by all reputable funding agencies worldwide and ensures that we support only the best blood cancer research.

Three Committees consider the different categories of application:

Research Committee considers applications for research grants and specialist programmes and advises on research strategy.  This committee also considers the recommendations of awards made by the Training and Career Development sub-Committee. The committee is chaired by Professor Paul Farrell and has ten members with expertise in research disciplines relevant to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research. Each member serves on a voluntary basis for three years. You can download the details of our current Research Committee members below.

Training and Career Development sub-Committee considers applications for all our career development awards. The committee is chaired by Dr Adele Fielding and has four members with experience in graduate and post-graduate training and mentoring. You can download details of our Training and Career Development Committee below.

Clinical Trials Committee considers applications for clinical trials and trial associated research projects. The committee is chaired by Professor Irene Roberts and has twelve members with expertise in trials and drug discovery. Each member serves on a voluntary basis for four years. You can download details of our Clinical Trials Committee below.

The review process

Step 1 - the application

Applicants outline in detail the objectives of their research, highlighting how they propose to achieve this and how it will benefit patients with a blood cancer.

Applicants for clinical trials must also submit a draft trial protocol. This describes what treatments patients entered onto this trial will receive, and when.

Step 2 – peer review

All applications for all categories of award are sent to expert referees worldwide for evaluation based on the following criteria: is it the right research, at the right time, in the right place with the right people. Up to six referees will be consulted for individual applications.  We draw on a database of over 500 experts on whom we rely for informed advice and recommendations about each application.

Conflicts of interest: All potential external peer reviewers are checked by LLR with regard to any potential conflict of interest with an application prior to its distribution. In addition, reviewers are asked to declare any conflicts of interest they may have with the application or applicant/s hitherto unknown to LLR. See our Conflict of Interest policy document attached below.

Specialist Programmes are additionally assessed by a site visit committee of experts invited from around the world who visit the team under review at their host Institution/University.  A report on the conclusions and recommendations of the site visit committee is presented to the Research Committee.

Step 3 – committee meeting

All applications, together with the reviewer's reports, are considered by every member of the designated Committee. The Committee meetings allow the members to discuss the merits of each application submitted in that round. They then draw up a list of applications recommended for funding.

Candidates who are short listed for training and career development awards are interviewed by the sub-Committee prior to making recommendations to the Research Committee.

Applications for phaseI/II clinical trials make presentations to the Clinical Trials Committee and take questions on the trial design.

Conflicts of interest: Committee members are not allowed access to review documents for their own applications or for any applications from the same institution. They are not present in the meeting room when their own application, or applications from their institutions are being discussed.

Step 4 – Board of Trustees

All recommendations for all awards made by the three committees are reported to the Board of Trustees who make the final decisions on which applications will be approved for funding.