Studies into how tumours develop, grow and survive are being supported by £3 million of Cancer Research UK funding.
Two scientists will receive financial support for projects in Edinburgh and Dundee as part of the charity's development fellowships fund.
Dr Noor Gammoh has been awarded £1.64 million by the charity to study the most common type of brain tumour - glioblastoma - at the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre.
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Dr Constance Alabert will be supported by the rest of the fund to study how tumours develop at the University of Dundee.
The fellowships are given to outstanding scientists to support them in establishing their own independent cancer research group, Cancer Research UK said.
Dr Gammoh is to investigate whether glioblastoma cells grow, survive and become resistant to treatment by using a "self-recycling system that allows them to recycle old, damaged parts of the cells that are no longer needed".
She said: "If we find that this 'self-recycling' mechanism is important in glioblastoma, we could use this information to develop new treatments for the disease that target this mechanism.
"We urgently need to find new treatments for brain tumours that will improve survival.
"I'm so pleased to have been awarded this fellowship because it will allow me to test my ideas in the lab, and potentially find new ways to help more people survive this disease."
Dr Alabert and her research group in Dundee are to study how cancers develop and grow after cell division.
She said: "We know that epigenetic 'tags' are important in controlling when cells grow and divide.
"But little is known about how these 'tags' are replaced after cell division or about the role - if any - this 'replacing' plays in tumour development.
"By understanding the mechanisms that replace these tags, we are hopeful we can identify new players in tumour development that have the potential to lead to new therapies."
Karen Noble, the charity's head of training and fellowships, said: "To ensure we make a real difference in our fight against cancer, particularly hard-to-treat cancers like brain tumours, we need to recruit the best people and help them develop at every stage of their career.
"Our fellows make crucial discoveries that increase our fundamental understanding of cancer and help develop innovative new cancer medicines, tests and treatments.