ICGC Goals, Structure, Policies and Guidelines (February 2010)

ICGC Goal: To obtain a comprehensive description of genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic changes in 50 different tumor types and/or subtypes which are of clinical and societal importance across the globe.

D. Structure of the Consortium

The ICGC is a confederation of members that share the common goals and principles described in this document and have agreed to work in a coordinated and collaborative manner within a defined structure.

Members consist of Funding Members and Research Members, each of which are individual or allied groups that provide a level of funding or scientific expertise sufficient to undertake at least one Cancer Genome Project. Most projects involve the characterization of a minimum of 500 unique cases of a cancer type or subtype. More than 500 samples may be required for tumors that demonstrate considerable heterogeneity. There are circumstances when 500 samples of a tumor type or subtype may be impractical (such as a rare cancer) or unnecessary (such as a tumor subtype that is known to be relatively homogeneous, based on pre-existing molecular studies). In March 2012, the ICGC formalized the status of smaller projects to encourage the launching of studies of rare forms of cancer: Affiliate Status will be granted to projects that are funded to study a minimum of 100 tumors (see below). ICGC Research Members proposing to tackle smaller projects should provide the rationale for the choice of sample size. Each member will have the responsibility for financially or scientifically supporting a minimum of one Cancer Genome Project. Research Members will need to have existing or committed funds from an ICGC Funding Member.

It is recognized that, at the outset, potential Funding Members may not yet have designated funds available to support a Cancer Genome Project and thus may be unable to immediately commit the requisite funds. Funding agencies with a prior record of funding large-scale cancer and/or genome projects will be provided an opportunity to join the ICGC as Observers in the absence of a qualifying research project for a period of approximately a year to allow them sufficient time to follow their normal policies and procedures to secure funds, to plan initiatives of this magnitude, and to make a firm funding commitment.

Categories of membership are defined as follows.


The ICGC is a confederation of members that share the common goals and principles described in this document and have agreed to work in a coordinated and collaborative manner within a defined structure.

Members consist of Funding Members and Research Members, each of which is an individual or allied group that will provide a level of funding or scientific expertise sufficient to undertake a Cancer Genome Project involving characterization of a minimum of 500 unique cases for each cancer type or subtype. More than 500 samples may be required for tumors that demonstrate considerable heterogeneity. There are circumstances when 500 samples of a tumor type or subtype may be impractical (such as a rare cancer) or unnecessary (such as a tumor subtype that is known to be relatively homogeneous, based on pre-existing molecular studies). ICGC Research Members proposing to tackle such projects should provide the rationale for the choice of sample size. Each Member will have responsibility for financially or scientifically supporting a minimum of one Cancer Genome Project. Members wishing to support Cancer Genome Projects with fewer than 500 samples per tumor type should do so by clustering projects together. Research Members will need to have existing or committed funds from an ICGC Funding Member.

It is recognized that, at the outset, potential Funding Members may not yet have designated funds available to support a Cancer Genome Project and thus may be unable to immediately commit the requisite funds. Funding agencies with a prior record of funding large-scale cancer and/or genome projects will be provided an opportunity to join the ICGC in the absence of a qualifying research project for the first year to allow sufficient time for them to follow their normal policies and procedures to secure funds, to plan initiatives of this magnitude, and to make a firm funding commitment.

Categories of membership are defined as follows.

The ICGC is a confederation of members that share the common goals and principles described in this document and have agreed to work in a coordinated and collaborative manner within a defined structure.

Members consist of Funding Members and Research Members, each of which is an individual or allied group that will provide a level of funding or scientific expertise sufficient to undertake a Cancer Genome Project involving characterization of a minimum of 500 unique cases for each cancer type or subtype. Each Member will have responsibility for financially or scientifically supporting a minimum of one Cancer Genome Project. Research Members will need to have existing or committed funds from an ICGC Funding Member.

It is recognized that, at the outset, potential Funding Members may not yet have designated funds available to support a Cancer Genome Project and thus may be unable to immediately commit the requisite funds. Funding agencies with a prior record of funding large-scale cancer and/or genome projects will be provided an opportunity to join the ICGC in the absence of a qualifying research project for the first year to allow sufficient time for them to follow their normal policies and procedures to secure funds, to plan initiatives of this magnitude, and to make a firm funding commitment.

Last Updated on: 23 May 2013