We hope that you find the answers you need in the list below. However, if you have other questions, please contact the Breast Cancer Now office at catalyst@breastcancernow.org.

We will continue to add to the list as new questions arise, so please keep checking this page.

1. Eligibility
2. The remit of the funding scheme
3. The application process
4. List of investigational agents
5. Assessing your proposal
6. Intellectual Property
7. Ethics and governance
8. Other

1. Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply for a Catalyst Grant?

This funding scheme will support Principle Investigators based in an eligible institution within Europe. However, international collaborators are welcome.

All investigators should be based in an academic institution, such as a university, hospital or research institute.

Can studies involve teams working at more than one site?

Yes. In this situation, one of the investigators must be selected as the Principal Investigator (PI). The PI’s host institution will be the coordinating site for all the financial, regulatory and reporting responsibilities for the grant.

Can an institution submit more than one application?

Yes. Institutions may be involved in multiple applications, including being the lead site on more than one application. However, each application should be scientifically distinct. 

Catalyst Programme funding may not be used to cover the same work as that of another current or pending grant.

Do I need to have a permanent contract in order to apply?

The leaders of each team involved should be employed by an eligible academic institution and should have a permanent, open-ended or long-term rolling contract, salaried by the host institution.

I work in industry, can I apply for a Catalyst Grant?

No, this funding scheme is not intended for industry partners.

2. The remit of the funding scheme

Are there any scientific areas that are outside the remit of this initiative?

We will not fund applications solely based on health economics, but we will accept applications that address these types of questions as part of a larger proposal.

If my application doesn’t fit the remit, what options do I have?

If your application does not fit the remit of Catalyst Grant Scheme, then you may still be eligible to apply for funding from our other funding schemes. Find out more about applying for funding.

Can I submit an application which involves a collaboration with another company?

Research proposals that are led by commercial organisations, or where a co-investigator and their team is based in a company, are not eligible for the Catalyst Grant scheme. However, applications may include collaborations with commercial organisations. This could be, for instance, where the research involves both a Pfizer drug and a drug from another supplier. In such a case, it is your responsibility to agree such a collaboration with the other company, and to ensure that any necessary contracts or agreements are in place with that company before the full application is submitted.

How long can my grant be?

This depends on the nature of the research. We expect that most grants will be for up to three years. We will accept proposals for longer than three years but this must be clearly justified in the proposed timeline in the Expression of Interest.

If my proposal is outside of the budget guidelines what can I do?

We have set limits of £400,000 for most projects, and up to £1.5 million to support larger or longer projects if a strong case can be made. However, Breast Cancer Now will consider innovative proposals that fall outside of these limits if there is a strong scientific rationale and if the budget can be justified. In this case, you should contact the Breast Cancer Now office to discuss this before submitting your Expression of Interest.

Can I submit research which has previously been submitted to a Breast Cancer Now Grants Committee and was not funded?

Yes, but please state in the application form the title and reference number of the proposal that was previously declined. 

3. The application process

Do I need to include full economic costs (FEC) in the application?

No, you do not need to provide details of full economic costs.

In line with other members of the Association of Medical Research Charities, we will pay only the direct costs of research. Catalyst Grants will be eligible for charity support funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and similar schemes in other UK nations.  

Do I need to cost my proposal in line with AcoRD (Attributing the cost of health and social care Research and Development)?

AcoRD is a mechanism for the Department of Health to meet some of the costs of charity-funded research in the NHS. As a registered member of the AMRC, we will not be expected to pay for certain costs, such as data collection or preparing for regulatory approval. Where applicable applications should be costed in line with the AcoRD framework for attributing the costs of clinical research where a full list of exempt costs are listed.

When will the awards be announced?

You will be informed of the outcome of your applications by July 2021, subject to any clarifications requested by the Grant Committee.

4. List of investigational agents

What level of information will I receive about the drugs before I write the full proposal?

You will have access to the following information about the investigational agents. More comprehensive information about the drug that you propose to use in your research can be requested from Pfizer. This will be subject to completion of a Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA).

If my proposal is successful, will Pfizer ensure that they will provide the amount of the drug(s) I need and for the entire duration of the project?

Pfizer will aim to provide as much drug as necessary. However some supplies are limited. For this reason we will share details of the amount of drug you request with Pfizer when you submit your proposal to ensure they can meet the needs of your project. Please note that Pfizer will have no further obligation to supply drugs beyond the duration of the awards.

Is there a limit to how many drugs I can request in my application?

There is no limit as to how many drugs can be requested in an application. However, two of the criteria that proposals will be judged against are feasibility of the project and the novelty of the idea and therefore the use of multiple drugs will need to be adequately justified.

When will the drugs be available from Pfizer?

The Pfizer drugs will be available after relevant contracts have been signed between you and Pfizer. 

Which drugs on the list may be used in humans?

All drugs listed may be used in humans.

Are studies that combine a Pfizer drug with an approved drug from another company eligible for this award?


5. Assessing your proposal

How will my application be assessed?

Your application will initially be assessed by the Breast Cancer Now Research Funding team to check that your application is eligible. Applications will then be sent out for international peer review and assessed by the Catalyst Grant Committee, who will make funding recommendations to Breast Cancer Now. The Catalyst Grant Committee, includes researchers with experience in pre-clinical and clinical drug development, as well as patient advocates.

The Catalyst Grant Committee will determine:

  • Whether your proposal fits within the scope and remit of the Catalyst Programme.
  • Whether your proposal is technically feasible, particularly with regards to the availability of the selected Pfizer drugs.
  • Whether your proposal is novel, including whether it has already been undertaken or whether your study is already on-going within Pfizer.

The Grant Committee will assess eligible applications in the following areas:


  • The strength of the proposal, including the ability of the team(s) to deliver the work, and the suitability of their research environment.
  • The appropriateness of the balance of risk and benefit for patients enrolled in any proposed clinical studies, based on known safety and tolerability profiles of the drugs to be used.
  • The extent to which the proposed team presents a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to the stated problem.
  • The clinical significance of the research and its potential benefit for patients.

Will Pfizer be involved in the review of applications?

A key aspect of the Catalyst Programme is the independence of the peer review and decision making on the applications. Pfizer will not be involved in the review of proposals or any decisions on funding.

However, it is important to ensure that applications are not repeating studies that Pfizer may already have carried out; that the proposed research is technically feasible using Pfizer’s drugs; and that there is sufficient stock of any requested Pfizer drug to be able to support all awarded grants. Therefore, we will share the title and abstract of the proposal with Pfizer to determine if there is any overlap with ongoing studies. We will also share with Pfizer the information about the Pfizer drugs that have been requested. We will seek Pfizer’s advice on such matters before deciding which applications are eligible for review by the Grants Committee.

This step is to confirm that a project is feasible and novel. As long as this is confirmed, the discussions at this stage in the process will not be taken into account when the Catalyst Grant Committee makes its funding decisions.

Will I be given the opportunity to respond to the Catalyst Grant Committee’s comments?

You will not be not be allowed to respond to peer reviewer comments or those of the Catalyst Grant Committee.

What happens if Breast Cancer Now receives two or more proposals with the same idea requesting the same drugs?

All proposals will be considered by the Catalyst Grant Committee and judged in open competition with all other applications. 

When is the project expected to start by?

You should aim to start the research as soon as possible, and no later than 12 months after the awards have been announced.

6. Intellectual Property

What about Intellectual Property (IP) arising from these research projects?

Pfizer will retain ownership over any of its background IP, including the chemical composition of the drugs. Ownership of, and access to, results and intellectual property generated during the grant will be negotiated between Pfizer and the researcher and their Host Institution. These negotiations will take place after the grant has been approved by Breast Cancer Now and before the drugs are provided by Pfizer. 

How is my IP/know-how going to be protected at the application stage?

We will share the title and abstract of your application with Pfizer to check for any overlap with ongoing studies. In order to protect your IP at this stage of the process, please do not insert confidential information in this section of your application form. If you need to exchange information with Pfizer at this stage, you will need to sign an individual confidentiality agreement with Pfizer. 

Who signs any agreements with Pfizer?

The investigator’s Host Institution, usually through their Technology Transfer Office, will sign the agreements with Pfizer. This will include confidential disclosure agreements, materials transfer agreements or investigator-initiated research agreements, where applicable. Please ensure you include the details of your Technology Transfer Office in the Expression of Interest form.

How are you going to decide who gets what in the emergent IP between Pfizer and the investigator?

Breast Cancer Now will not be dealing with the IP arising from research funded grants. Ownership of and exploitation of IP generated during the grant will be negotiated between Pfizer and the researcher and their Host Institution.

7. Ethics and governance

Do I need full ethics permission and regulatory approvals for any human studies in the grant proposal? If so, when should I apply for this?

We do not need ethics permissions and regulatory approvals to be in place when you submit your application. However, you will need to provide proof of any necessary ethics and regulatory approval before the grant is activated.

It is the responsibility of the Host Institution to ensure that the appropriate approvals have been obtained and that no research requiring such approval is initiated before this has been obtained.

Who will be the sponsor for my study?

It is expected that your Host Institution will be the sponsor for any clinical studies funded through the Catalyst Grant Scheme. Breast Cancer Now and Pfizer will not act as the sponsor.

Who has liability and indemnity responsibilities for clinical studies?

It is expected that the responsibilities for the conduct of the study will lie with the Host Institution as outlined in the Terms and Conditions.

8. Other

If my query is not answered by the FAQs, or I have a scientific query regarding my application, who do I contact?

Please send any queries to catalyst@breastcancernow.org

We are working with a group of senior scientific advisors who are helping Breast Cancer Now deliver this exciting new initiative. We may need to consult them about your query, which means that we may not be able to give you an immediate answer. However, we will aim to reply as soon as we can.

Are there restrictions to publishing data resulting from these studies?

The publication rules follow those outlined in the Terms and Conditions