Institutional activity

Supporting Research

By investing effectively every single Euro donated to AIRC and FIRC, we honor the trust placed into our Organizations by millions of people every day, and we ensure competitiveness and innovation in oncological research taking place in Italy.

In over fifty years of history, AIRC has refined the method by which the most deserving cancer research projects are selected. This merit-based, internationally recognized method, called peer review, relies on the expertise of international scientists, devoid of any conflict of interest.

The Office of the Scientific Director guarantees the utmost rigour and professionalism in the selection process for both research projects and fellowships.

117 million euro to fight cancer

In 2019, AIRC and FIRC have funded 535 research projects and 115 fellowships, along with 22 special research programmes.

At the end of 2019, AIRC and FIRC approved a total expenditure of 117,047,916 Euros to support cancer research. Such a sum includes, among other things, 20,321,843 Euros for the ‘5 per mille’ programme dedicated to the study of metastases and 3,667,986 euros to support 13 Accelerator Awards.



What we fund

Awarded mainly to newly graduates, these training grants may help a young researcher to learn the basics of research and gain experience at a leading Italian laboratory.
Awarded to young researchers who have already gained experience in a laboratory, these grants allow for a further period of training in a foreign country whose facilities are considered at the forefront of oncological research.
ICARE-2 fellows carry out a scientific project led by a mentor. They also have the opportunity to learn the managerial and administrative aspects of research by taking part to workshops and training activities. The iCARE-2 fellowships, co-funded by AIRC and the European Union, last three years and are of three kindes: Outgoing, Incoming and Reintegration.
Awarded to researchers who have already gained cancer research experience in Italy or abroad, this type of funding provides researchers with the opportunity to run their own project in a state-of-the-art Italian facility, becoming progressively autonomous and independent.
Awarded to excellent researchers who have already matured a significant scientific experience in a foreign laboratory, these grants will allow them to establish a new laboratory in Italy and manage their research activities in full autonomy.
The Investigator Grants are aimed at established researchers and cover the cost of research and personnel in training that work on the project.
The Multi Unit programmes funded with pre-tax donations last up to seven years and put the very best of Italian oncology research at work, with the aim of identifying more effective therapies and new prevention and early diagnosis methods, and to better understand metastatic disease.
Co-funded in partnership with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the Fundación Científica - Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (FC – AECC), these grants are aimed at boosting translational research projects carried out at research centres in any of the three countries.
IFOM is a state-of-the-art research centre devoted to studying the formation and development of tumours at the molecular level, in the perspective of a rapid transfer of scientific results from the laboratory to patient care.

Dissemination and communication

Knowledge is a fundamental weapon to beat cancer, and AIRC knows it well. Over the years, we have been increasingly communicating the results achieved by research, as soon as laboratories made new data available.

AIRC's communication activities include the dissemination of scientific results and awareness-raising projects focused on prevention, as well as the promotion of fundraising campaigns and schools projects, both through our own channels and with the essential support of the media.


Online presence

For many years, AIRC and FIRC have been committed to strengthening the relationship with donors and engaging with a younger demographic through digital channels.

New technologies allow us to target a wider audience and increase the effectiveness of our communication efforts.

* unique visitors represent the number of visitors counted once for the period 1 January to 31 December 2019.
** as of 31 December 2019.


In addition to supporting the progress of oncological research by financing projects of excellence, AIRC is committed every day in disseminating scientific information through its channels and with the essential support of the media.

The media are a strategic ally in this dual mission, because they help keeping the audience up-to-date with the results of research and emphasize the importance of the contribution everyone can make to make cancer ever more treatable.

* The figures referring to the press and the web include quotations of AIRC, FIRC and IFOM on national newspapers, regional newspapers, magazines and websites collected by ‘Eco della Stampa’

** The figures referring to radio and TV account for the total number of media passages including editorial quotations, dedicated airtime space with testimonials, scientific insights with researchers and their replicas collected by ‘Eco della Stampa’

The future of research starts from the classroom

We need the help of everybody to make cancer more and more treatable, and schools are undoubtedly a privileged place in which to build this awareness.

AIRC and FIRC have long had an intense collaboration with schools, from preschool up to secondary schools, with the aim of bringing children closer to science and the world of cancer research, working together on topics such as solidarity and active citizenship. In order to expand our audience, in 2019 we participated in major Italian science festivals. We also staged a theatrical show—“DNA”—that combines music and science to make people discover the value of scientific research.


AIRCampus: the university project goes on

Knowledge, innovation, passion, a good cause, future: these are some of the values that guide the work of AIRC researchers, who are relentlessly at work in our country's laboratories. The same principles inspired AIRCampus, a project launched in 2016 to let AIRC meet up with Italian university students: together, for the future of research.

The goal of AIRCampus (which in 2018/2019 was hosted by the University of Padua, by the "Federico II" University of Naples, by the University of Palermo, and by "La Sapienza" University of Rome—the latter collaboration has now ended) is to introduce the students to the work of AIRC, its mission and its values, spreading awareness of the "cancer problem" while familiarising the students with the world of volunteering. Together with AIRC, the universities organised moments of in-depth classroom analysis on issues related to AIRC’s activity that pertain, at the same time, to the various courses of study. With the consent of professors, AIRC involved other professionals (including researchers, journalists, communication and non-profit experts) who met the students in class and discussed topics connected to their study plans, giving all students the opportunity to delve into subjects that kindle their interest.