Cancer Research UK Graduate Scheme

Cancer Research UK are offering graduates a unique opportunity to join their graduate trainee scheme and help them beat cancer sooner. You will be joining an inspiring and innovative place to work, filled with talented and dedicated professionals, all whom are 100% focused on their goal: to accelerate progress and see 3 in 4 people survive cancer within the next 20 years.

What makes their scheme special?

As a Cancer Research UK graduate you will be joining one of the best schemes available in the UK – currently ranked No. 2 on The Guardian’s 300 best places for graduates to work. From the beginning you can work for an organisation that is accelerating progress to beat cancer sooner, making a real difference and improving people’s lives. With such a variety of schemes available, you will be able to find the scheme that suits you. You will be able to select which specialism you would like to join when you start the application process.

Over 90 trainees have completed the scheme since 2000. Many of those remain with the charity; having since progressed to senior roles across the organisation.

Could their scheme be for you?

Cancer Research UK are looking for applicants with the maturity, intelligence and interpersonal skills to quickly adapt in a fast-moving environment. The company adhere to the following beliefs, which guide the way they work:

  • Be Brave
  • Be Sharp
  • Be United

So, if you are bright, ambitious, a people person, and want to help them achieve their vision, then we’re sure that Cancer Research UK is the right choice for you.

Cancer Research UK is a diverse organisation which is they offer a real variety of avenues that you can explore in their Graduate Schemes. You will have the opportunity to apply for up to two different streams from the following six:

Fundraising & Marketing:

This stream works across both Fundraising & Marketing and Philanthropy & Partnerships, nurturing a wide range of skills and disciplines in marketing, fundraising and philanthropy. Over the 2 years you will be involved in a hugely diverse portfolio of work; from strategy setting and building innovative new fundraising ideas to working with our marketing and partnership teams to engage with a range of audiences across the UK, encouraging their involvement with Cancer Research UK’s cause of beating cancer one and for all.

Wherever you are placed, you will use your energy and talent to drive the company’s fundraising success.


Take on this unique opportunity working in the world of charity finance. You will take part in a 3-year programme with 3 yearlong placements to give you an opportunity to see the whole finance lifecycle each year, so Cancer Research UK can support you to study for a professional accountancy qualification and gain the relevant experience to become qualified.

As a Finance Graduate you will have the opportunity to work across a variety of different areas and work with the business to transform their strategic objectives into financial budgets and forecasts, making the most of donations to fund high quality research.

Policy, Information and Communications:

On this stream you will have the opportunity to work in an innovative environment, in business-critical roles, across the 2-year programme. During your four placements you will have the opportunity to; use your skills to keep cancer at the top of the political agenda, research and write for all Cancer Research UK’s key audiences, including the public, patients, health care professionals and key opinions leaders; and apply creativity and fresh ideas to ensure a well-rounded, innovative approach to our communications, shaping the way the company interacts with everyone.

Your fresh, creative ideas and approach will help shape the way Cancer Research UK interacts with everybody – from the public to Parliament.

Scientific Strategy and Funding:

On this stream you will have the opportunity to get involved in a variety of different areas to help balance strategic priorities with emerging opportunities including: working across a diverse range of teams to ensure each of the company’s vital research projects receive appropriate direction and resource; applying communication skills to build relationships across the research community, and ensuring that Cancer Research UK stay at the cutting-edge of scientific research; and developing your scientific career away from the lab bench in a dynamic office environment that fosters growth.

By working collaboratively across the organisation, you’ll ensure vital research projects have all the resources and direction they need.

This stream is open to applicants who have a degree in a natural, physical or life science.


On this stream you will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of teams in the Technology directorate. You will build relationships with and understand the vision of teams across CRUK, ensuring that everything done delivers the most value for both the company’s audience and the organisation. 

You will have the opportunity to deliver award winning and cutting-edge infrastructure and internal systems. You will work with talented digital professionals across user experience, content, web development and other areas of expertise to create best-in-class digital experiences and help upskill other colleagues across the organisation. You will gain experience in managing multiple data sources, understand database quality management and learn to use tools that ensure a high standard of business reporting and data selection.


On this stream you will have the opportunity to develop a diverse range of skills, working in a fast-paced environment. During your two-year placement, you will be working within a generalist HR function to gain an exceptional overview of the organisation and develop your business partnering skills. You’ll gain an excellent understanding of how CRUK recruit and develop talent to ensure that the company can deliver its strategy, along with building your people management and communication skills.

Am I eligible to apply?

You’re eligible to apply for one of Cancer Research UK’s graduate schemes if you can answer ‘yes’ to the following:

  1. Do you have, or expect to achieve, a minimum of a 2:1 in your undergraduate degree (in any discipline)?
  2. Do you have the permanent right to live and work in the UK without restriction? Or are you entitled to apply or have an outstanding application for a valid work permit?
  3. Have you achieved success outside of your academic career through work experience, internships, summer placements, voluntary experience or positions of responsibility at university?
  4. If applying for the Scientific Strategy and Funding stream, do you hold a degree in a natural, physical or life science?
  5. Do you have a Grade C or above in GCSE Maths and English?