Two charities which fund research into bowel cancer and other bowel diseases have announced their intention to merge.

A joint announcement by Bowel & Cancer Research and Bowel Disease Research Foundation says they share the same values and goals and will have a stronger voice if they work together.

“Our shared aim is to fund the best science and to strive towards a world where no one should die of bowel cancer nor live with chronic bowel disease. It makes sense to work towards these goals together,” said Paul Reynolds, a Trustee of Bowel & Cancer Research.

“Together the two charities have awarded grants totalling £9 million in the last 10 years and more than £3.5 million in the last five years towards research into bowel cancer and bowel disease. That positions us as the leading charity dedicated to funding research into both bowel cancer and bowel disease in the UK.” 

Chair of Bowel Disease Research Foundation, Asha Senapati, said: “Both boards of trustees wholeheartedly support this merger as the most effective way to fund and support the best science.

“By combining our individual strengths we are confident that we will be able to raise more money and fund more research aimed at ending the scourge of bowel cancer and chronic bowel disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, for which there are currently no cures.”

The charities are seeking a Chief Executive to lead the new organisation.

The CEO of Bowel & Cancer Research, Deborah Gilbert, has recently left the charity. The CEO of Bowel Disease Research Foundation, Peter Rowbottom, will take up the role of Director of Fundraising in the new organisation.

A new board will include six Trustees from each charity.

The official launch will take place in 2020 when the new charity brand will be unveiled. Until then, both organisations will continue to operate individually and all obligations and commitments will be met.

Bowel & Cancer Research has a wealth of public support from charity fundraisers, as well as close ties with the National Bowel Research Centre in Whitechapel which opened in  2013 and was largely funded by the charity.

Bowel Disease Research Foundation has close ties with the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland. It devised The Delphi Project which brought together surgeons, consultants, physicians and patients to establish the top 25 priority areas in bowel disease research.

Both charities pride themselves on funding the best science, particularly in areas of research which are often neglected by other grant funders. Their annual joint income in 2018 was more than £1.5 million.

Bowel Disease Research Foundation was set up in the 1990s and has invested more than £2.7 million in research projects which have improved treatments and helped set  national guidelines for medical practice in the UK. It has two members of staff, based at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in London.

Bowel & Cancer Research was founded in the 1990s. Its six staff are based at the National Bowel Research Centre in London. In the last 10 years it has invested more than £6.2 million in research into bowel cancer and other bowel-related diseases.

Staff will be based at both centres for the time being.

Both charities fund projects based at universities, hospitals and science start-ups across Great Britain and Ireland.

They have also been instrumental in brokering partnerships with other charities to help fund and deliver research projects.  It is anticipated that the new charity being created will become the go-to organisation to lead further collaborations across the sector.

Patients and members of the public play a key role in shaping and implementing the research which is funded by each organisation.

Both charities are currently engaging with stakeholders to implement the merger and develop the strategic direction of the new organisation. Further details will be released in 2020.