Nearly 170 teams submitted ideas for this round of awards and the IC-PIECE team, co-led by Professor Ann McNeill and Dr Peter Shields, from King’s College London, UK, and Ohio State University, US, is one of 11 shortlisted groups. The team draws together a unique set of expertise and unites researchers from the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Mexico and Pakistan.

They will now receive seed-funding to draft their full research proposal and compete for a £20m Cancer Grand Challenges award, which would provide the scientific freedom to come together and think differently in pursuit of solving one of cancer's toughest challenges. Up to four winning teams will be announced early 2022.

If successful, the CANCAN team would seek to tackle the challenge of e-cigarettes and determine the potential benefits and risks of their use.

“By bringing together a community of investigators with very different perspectives, who’ve never worked together, we’ve enabled blue-sky thinking and triggered some really creative ideas,” say McNeill and Shields, IC-PIECE team leads.

“This round of Cancer Grand Challenges has demonstrated the fresh thinking that can be sparked when global teams unite across disciplines to bring new perspectives to tough challenges,” says Dr David Scott, director of Cancer Grand Challenges. “We were thrilled to receive such a strong response from the global research community.”