Research strategy

Targeted funding

KWF will shift to a more targeted funding approach in thematic tracks that were identified in close collaboration with the oncological field. 

Depending on the goals in each track and the capacity of the oncological field, we will develop appropriate funding types to maximize our research impact.

Regular calls

In our Programme Research & Implementation you can apply for funding several times a year, in open calls for basic research (Exploration) and more patient-centered research (Development).

KWF also offers other funding options such as theme calls, calls for public-private partnerships and proof of concept funding.

Watch our presentation

On March 5th 2024 we organized an information event for the oncological field in the Jaarbeurs, Utrecht. KWF director prof. Carla van Gils presented our funding strategy. You can find a recording of the entire presentation here. 

4 Clusters, multiple Tracks

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Prevention: Lifestyle and Environment

Our ambition is to prevent cancer wherever we can, and to improve the recovery and course of the disease. Therefore, we will focus on influencing lifestyle and environmental factors that play a proven role in cancer. Within the cluster Prevention, KWF is working on four tracks aimed at prevention to reduce cancer risk and to support cancer patients with lifestyle changes as part of treatment. 

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Early detection & Minimally invasive techniques

In order to start timely and personalized treatment, early detection of cancer is crucial. Preferably using non-invasive  techniques.  In this cluster, we will develop several tracks to improve diagnostic and treatment possibilities.

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Cancer drugs

We believe that each patient should get the treatment (s)he needs. Researchers have extensive knowledge of drug research, but often lack the tools to translate their research results from bench to bedside. In this cluster, we develop several tracks to support researchers and maximize their impact!

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Quality of life

To improve quality of life during and after cancer, it is important that patients (and their support network) have access to a top-quality range of psychosocial care. Extra investments are made in tracks to enhance the accessibility and quality of psychosocial and palliative care.


(New) Funding options

Each track will have long-term funding available to achieve the track goals. Depending on the needs and capacity within the research field, different types of funding will be available for each track. Some of these funding types (such as thematic calls) are already developed, others are still in development. 

More info on the funding options coming soon.

Funded projects in tracks

In 2022 and 2023, we funded projects in the first tracks:

  • Advancement of Biomarkers to Daily Practice (2023)
  • ATTRACT: International research on treatment options for rare cancers (2023
  • Smart measurement technologies (2022 and 2023)

Apply for funding

List of all the funding possibilities that are currently open, or opening in the near future (both targeted funding as well as open calls).


KWF fully depends on donations. Increasing financial uncertainty in society also affects us. Nevertheless, we commit to spending over 80 cents of each donated euro on achieving our goals, and we will continue to maintain this proportion in our new plans. However, there is a change in the way we allocate funds: in addition to our open calls, we will be funding research in a more targeted manner.

In 2022, we conducted surveys and interviews with researchers in the field and other relevant stakeholders. This input led to the formulation of tracks within clusters.

Yes, we will continue our open calls for research that does not fit a track. 

Yes. Fundamental research is the source of innovation. It is not currently defined as a strategic area of focus or track. Basic science is undirected and curiosity-driven and we want to give researchers the opportunity to gain new insights. We will continue to fund this type of research in our open calls and through direct funding of Oncode Institute and NKI. 

Open calls will continue to be reviewed by existing committees. For thematic calls, specific committees will be formed. For each funding instrument we rely on independent experts and patients.