The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has been granted the highest national honour in UK further and higher education for its innovative work on breast cancer.
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize recognises the transformational breast cancer research programme, which has not only improved outcomes for patients in the UK but also benefitted global healthcare systems and economies.
This is the second time The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) has won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recent years, and it follows international recognition last year of the impact of the ICR’s breast cancer research in improving the outcomes for patients worldwide.
Honouring decades of pioneering research at the ICR
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which “provides valuable external recognition to the institution as a whole”, acknowledges the significant contribution that the ICR has made towards advancing the understanding of how breast cancer grows and spreads, developing new methods of diagnosis and treatment, and leading clinical trials that have resulted in changes to clinical practice.
Scientists at the ICR, often working in close partnership with colleagues at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, have played a part in some of the most pivotal developments in the history of breast cancer research. The honour focuses on how these discoveries have improved the lives of people with, or at higher risk of, breast cancer:
Much of the research recognised by the Queen’s Anniversary Prize was funded by the ICR itself, the government, the UK charities Breast Cancer Now and Cancer Research UK, and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Centre at The Royal Marsden and the ICR.
A prize that "celebrates excellence, innovation and public benefit"
The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are granted every two years by The Monarch in recognition of outstanding work by UK colleges and universities.
To qualify, an institution must produce high-quality innovative work that benefits the public in a distinctive way.
Experts, specialists and organisations across the UK are involved in the independent review process, which takes several months. The Awards Council of the Trust considers a shortlist of entries, and The Monarch approves a final list of recommended institutions, on the Prime Minister’s advice.
The ICR was previously recognised with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2017 for its outstanding contribution to the discovery of new cancer drugs.
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"We remain fully committed"
Professor Andrew Tutt, Head of the Division of Breast Cancer Research and Director of the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
“We’re so honoured to receive a Queen’s Anniversary Prize and proud that our hard work has been recognised. This award is a testament to the trust placed in us by our funders and the strong partnership between the ICR and The Royal Marsden, and the wide national collaborative network of NHS cancer treatment teams which makes practice-changing translational research possible.
“The ICR has been behind many important discoveries in breast cancer research, and we have seen huge progress in our understanding and our approaches to diagnosis and treatment. However, we still have much work to do, and we remain fully committed to extending and improving the lives of people with the disease.”
Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
“The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes have been awarded to many exceptional institutions, and we are thrilled to be in their company. At the ICR, we aspire to excellence and innovation, and our work in breast cancer is a great example of these values. The team’s ‘bench-to-bedside’ strategy has allowed them to take fundamental basic biology concepts through to effective treatments that change lives.
“We’re grateful to the generous support of our funders, donors and collaborators for their contributions to the progress we’ve made in our breast cancer research. Everyone at the ICR is helping us work towards defeating cancer, and this honour is a motivational boost for us to keep doing what we do so well.”
Sir Damon Buffini, Chair of The Royal Anniversary Trust said: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education are an integral part of our national Honours system, shining a light on the groundbreaking work taking place in universities and colleges across the UK. All 22 Prize-winners demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact, with many tackling some of the toughest problems we as a society face today. They are to be commended for reaching this pinnacle of achievement in the tertiary education sector. Congratulations!”
The honour is granted to the whole institution, irrespective of the area of work being recognised and rather than to an individual or department. The non-monetary prize, which consists of a medal, a certificate, and use of the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes logo, will be presented by a senior member of the Royal Family at an investiture ceremony, which is likely to take place at Buckingham Palace.