Head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. These tumors are commonly diagnosed at advanced stages and mortality rates remain high. Even cured patients suffer the consequences of aggressive treatment that includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. In the past, in clinical trials, HNSCC was considered as a single disease entity. Advances in molecular biology with the development of genomic and proteomic approaches have demonstrated distinct prognostic HNSCC patient subsets beyond those defined by traditional clinical-pathological factors such as tumor subsite and stage [Cho W (ed). An Omics Perspective on Cancer Research. New York/Berlin: Springer 2010]. Validation of these biomarkers in large prospective clinical trials is required before their clinical implementation. To promote this research, the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Head and Neck Cancer Program will develop the following strategies-(i) biobanking: prospective tissue collection from uniformly treated patients in the setting of clinical trials; (ii) a group of physicians, physician-scientists, and EORTC Headquarters staff devoted to patient-oriented head and neck cancer research; (iii) a collaboration between the basic scientists of the Translational Research Division interested in head and neck cancer research and the physicians of the Head and Neck Cancer Group; and (iv) funding through the EORTC Grant Program and the Network Core Institutions Consortium. In the present report, we summarize our strategic plans to promote head and neck cancer research within the EORTC framework.