Cancer Research Trust and Breast Cancer Cure – Joint Press Release

Cancer Research Trust NZ (CRTNZ) and Breast Cancer Cure (BCC) are proud to announce that they are working together to support and fund impactful, innovative breast cancer research in New Zealand in 2022.

CRTNZ is the country’s second-largest philanthropic funder of cancer research, dedicated to funding research on all types of cancer, across all stages of disease. BCC is a charity dedicated to funding high quality breast cancer research in Aotearoa New Zealand. Both organisations have a proud history of funding cancer research: BCC has funded over $11M of research dedicated to breast cancer in the last 25 years and CRTNZ has funded over $20M of research across all types of cancers in the last 20 years.

BCC and CRTNZ are excited to be exploring partnership opportunities and hope to offer a new, dedicated BCC funding category in 2023. This will be in addition to CRTNZ’s annual funding round focused on all types of cancer research.

However, with the impacts of covid on researchers and New Zealand’s growing incidence of breast cancer, the organisations have decided to offer an initial co-funding opportunity as part of CRTNZ’s current funding round (closing date 1 September 2022). This initiative will add BCC’s dedicated breast cancer research funding to CRTNZ’s current funding round to enable at least two breast cancer research projects to be funded in addition to the research projects across the cancer spectrum that will be funded by CRTNZ.

Long-term the planned partnership will create opportunities for New Zealand scientists and researchers focussed on breast cancer. It brings together BCC’s deep commitment to supporting the research sector and improving inequities and outcomes for those diagnosed with breast cancer in New Zealand, and CRTNZ’s commitment to funding a broad range of cancer-control research, training and education.

From 2013 - 2022, BCC partnered with the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC). As the HRC reviews its partnership programme, BCC looked for an organisation focussed on cancer research providing objective assessment and international peer review and found CRTNZ was executing just such a model with a keen awareness on impact.

The initiative will be managed through CRTNZ funding rounds administered by the General Manager Michelle Sullivan. Breast cancer researchers should apply under the Research Project Grant category and CRTNZ will work with BCC on co-funding opportunities after the peer review process. To help identify the best proposals, CRTNZ maintains an Assessing Committee of 10-12 cancer researchers with expertise in a range of disciplines, across the spectrum of cancer care.

Why is this important: Aotearoa New Zealand has one of the highest breast cancer rates in the world with 1 diagnosis every 3 hours, and this rate is increasing. Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women in Aotearoa, affecting 1 in 9. Each year 3,549 New Zealanders are diagnosed with breast cancer. 89% of breast cancer patients survive 10 years, however, 20-30% of breast cancers recur or become advanced. 672 New Zealanders die from breast cancer each year (double the annual road toll). Research from 2003-2020 shows, after adjusting for age, wāhine Māori are 33% more likely and Pasifika women 52% more likely to die from breast cancer than New Zealand European women, while survival was higher in Asian women. We in New Zealand need to do what we can to help solve this problem, recognising its complexity and our responsibilities as Te Tiriti partners.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for the breast cancer funding?
Researchers interested in applying for funding should submit a Project Grant application through CRTNZ’s grants portal. Closing date for applications is 1 September through CRTNZ’s grants portal: 

Does this mean there is less funding available for other types of cancer research?
No, BCC is adding their funds to CRTNZ’s funds. This means CRTNZ will continue to fund as many research project grants as possible.

Are there special breast cancer funds in any of the other funding categories?
No. BCC’s funds are ring-fenced for the project grants category only. CRTNZ will continue to invest in other types of research funding and support training and education of researchers and cancer care professionals. CRTNZ has the following categories:

·         Post-Graduate Scholarship
·         John Gavin Post-Doctoral Fellowship
·         Murray Jackson Clinical Fellowship
·         Nursing Fellowship
·         Professional Development Awards
·         Professional Development Event Awards
·         Special Purpose Grants

How will the breast cancer proposals be reviewed?
Breast cancer proposals will be managed in the same way as all other cancer research proposals – including international peer review and evaluation by CRTNZ’s expert assessing committee.

Is CRTNZ still funding breast cancer research?
Yes, CRTNZ will retain its focus on funding all types of cancer research through the annual round, including breast cancer research.

What will happen next year?
BCC and CRTNZ intend to develop a formal partnership to continue to fund breast cancer research. The details of this are being worked through and will be announced in due course.

Why isn’t BCC offering funds through the HRC process this year?
HRC is currently reviewing its partnership programme. Therefore, BCC is very pleased to develop a partnership with CRTNZ.

Do you fund overheads?
No, as charitable funders of research, CRTNZ and BCC do not allow funds to be used for institutional overhead costs.

Contact details 
Breast Cancer Cure                                                                         Cancer Research Trust NZ
Sonja Demari                                                                                     Michelle Sullivan
Chief Executive Officer                                                                  General Manager
Email:                                   Email:
Phone: 021 446 693                                                                         Phone: 0274340926