ABC UK Grants

2024 Funding Round Opens Autumn 2024

As well as participating in, supporting and encouraging research, we also actively fund research and projects to improve outcomes for patients.

ABC UK gives grants under two annual schemes:

  • ABC UK Improving Outcomes for Patients Programme
  • ABC UK Nursing Awards
The next funding rounds in both of these grant programmes will open for applications in Autumn 2023.  Funding window will close end February 2024.  Please watch our website and social media for further information.  You may contact us in advance if you have a potential project you wish to discuss, and if you would like to register your interest, you can contact us on

   ABC UK IOPP (Improving Outcomes for Patients Programme) 2023


ABC UK IOPP is an annual small grants programme - launched in November 2016, and is the only grants programme in the UK dedicated solely to bladder cancer.  It is aimed at encouraging work to directly improve outcomes and patient experience for those with bladder cancer.  The programme is designed to focus on small, innovative projects that can demonstrate clear outcomes and improve knowledge, enable change and have a direct impact on patient experience.  There is little research investment in bladder cancer or improving outcomes for those with bladder cancer or their experience as a patient - and our aim with this programme is to actively encourage work which will have an impact and also act as a catalyst to encourage other projects.

The grants programme is open to a wide range of applicants - those in primary care, urologists, cancer specialists and researchers. Our view of what constitutes an eligible project is deliberately broad - for example, projects might be aimed at improving patient experience in a practical setting, improving early diagnosis in primary care, focus on improving or developing treatments, be a data led piece of research or a lab-based project. 


Following the on-going impact of COVID-19 (both on clinicians and on research) over recent years, we have been pleased to see strong applications being made in this round.

The grants awarded in 2023 are as follows - more information on each project will follow shortly. 

The University of Surrey: A project investigating the bladder microbiome, looking at microbial and immune cell differences in normal, healthy bladder tissue to help knowledge on the context of normal vs abnormal tissue to assist the understanding of treatment effectiveness.

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust:

Project Lead: Michael Dubec

 Carbogen-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Bladder Cancer

Project Lead: Michael Dubec 

A project looking at using carbogen gas to image patients receiving radiotherapy.

Inhalation of carbogen gas (98% oxygen and 2% carbon dioxide), during treatment, increases the effects of radiotherapy.  This could adapt treatment to aggressive tumour regions in the hope of improving treatment response and survival.




he Jack Birch Unit for Molecular Carcinogenesis, York Biomedical Research Institute at The University of York: A project which looks at improving outcomes for those with bladder cancer by investigating recurrence. By screening DNA and RNA of multiple tumours from the same patients, the project aims to describe the relationship between these tumours, understand how they started, and inform methods for detecting recurrence. 


Project Lead: Andrew Mason


This project is also the recipient of the first Andrew Meadows Award - a special ABC UK award for a grant project felt to be of particular interest from each application round.  The Panel felt this was a potentially important study looking at the genetic relationship between primary upper tract disease and bladder cancer and investigating a long-standing conundrum in Urothelial Cancer, with translational importance and a potential impact on outcomes for patients. This study will also generate a large amount of data which will help to understand the origin of these cancers and have future uses, and will also support future development of this work and further funding applications.

The Andrew Meadows Award is a new annual special Award within the IOPP Programme - launched in 2023.  A special in memory research Award given each year to the project which, in the view of the judging panel, is most deserving of special funding.  The Andrew Meadows Award is given to the project we consider to be the outstanding project from the submissions we receive to our annual IOPP grant round. 

We wish to commemorate Andrew Meadows, who sadly died from bladder cancer in 2018 - this special Award is in his memory.   We thank Andrew's family for their generosity in supporting vital research into bladder cancer. 







We wish to acknowledge the great contribution made by specialist nurses to improving both patient experience and their treatment pathway, and to encourage and enable more nurses to participate in ABC UK's grant programme and to apply for project funding.  This category of grants gives Awards to nurse led projects and pieces of work - to encourage and fund small projects that will directly benefit bladder cancer patients.  We are interested in stand-along projects which will facilitate change, share best practice, explore different approaches or improve knowledge and, most importantly, improve outcomes for patients or their experience.

We are delighted to award a 2023 grant to a very interesting project which looks at a neglected area of patient care.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Urology Centre: a project developing a programme to support rehabilitation in female patients who undergone radical cystectomy and help them to improve their sexual function (a neglected area of treatment). 

Southampton team.jpg 


See below for Guidelines and application forms for both IOPP and Nursing Awards for 2023 for information.  Please note that the 2024 Guidelines and Forms may vary.

ABC UK IOPP 2023 Application form and Guidelines: 


ABCUK IOPP 2023 Guidelines Primary Care Research and Clinical.pdf

ABC UK Nursing Awards 2023: Application and Guidelines  


ABCUK Nursing Awards 2022 2023 Guidelines.pdf

If you would like to express interest in applying for an ABC UK grant or have any questions please contact us.  We are happy to discuss any project ideas or provide support on making an application.  You can also register your interest and provide contact details for early notification of new funding rounds.  Contact us on 





National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) non-commercial Partner

Action Bladder Cancer UK is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) non-commercial Partner. This means the studies that we fund may be eligible to access the NIHR Study Support Service which is provided by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The NIHR Clinical Research Network can now support health and social care research taking place in non-NHS settings, such as studies running in care homes or hospices, or public health research taking place in schools and other community settings. Read the full policy: Eligibility Criteria for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support.  In partnership with your local R&D office, we encourage you to involve your local NIHR Clinical Research Network team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study. This will enable you to fully benefit from the support available through the NIHR Study Support Service. 

To find out more, please visit: 

If your study involves NHS sites in England you will need to apply for Health Research Authority Approval.

For guidance on submitting an application please 



Separate from our normal annual grants programme, and in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, ABC UK set up a special small grants fund.  We are currently keeping this fund open for expressions of interest.


Covid-19 has had a serious impact on everyone - but has significantly impacted those with cancer - whether just diagnosed, undergoing treatment or living with cancer.  ABC UK knows, both from patients themselves and from the health professionals treating them, that bladder cancer patients have been seriously affected by: delays in diagnosis; delays in treatment; delays in surveillance testing and monitoring; changing treatments and treatment pathways; changing patient behaviour.

Our COVID-19 Patient surveys demonstrate some of this impact and we shall be using follow up surveys to continue monitoring this situation.  You can read our summary report from our survey here:Covid - 19 Survey Summary Results .pdf 

Aim of the Fund

Action Bladder Cancer UK wants to help the NHS and research community respond to the continuing impact of Covid-19, for any future wave or crises, and to improve the treatment and experience of those with bladder cancer.  We are also aware that there have been positive lessons learned about patient treatment pathways and processes resulting from the necessary changes made due to the pandemic.  We want to help support the development of these benefits and lessons.    

ABC UK has launched a modest fund to help achieve this and welcomes applications.  The scope of this fund is deliberately broad to avoid limiting ideas.  There is no application deadline and we shall keep this Fund open until we feel it is appropriate to close it.

Details and how to apply here:ABC UK COVID Impact Fund Guidelines.pdf

Please note this grant fund is aimed at work relating directly to bladder cancer patients - it is not intended that the fund will be used directly on Covid-19 services.

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