How Early-Career Research Grants Help Emerging Researchers

How Early-Career Research Grants Help Emerging Researchers

Last week, our Research Project Manager Kate Christian attended the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) National Conference, which saw Cure Cancer Australia alumna Dr Tracy Putoczki take home the inaugural ASMR Peter Doherty Leading Light Award.


Every year, the ASMR Research Awards offer two postgraduate student members of the ASMR nearing completion of their studies, or recently graduated postdoctoral members the opportunity to undertake a short period of research in a laboratory outside of Australia.

This year, ASMR also launched the ASMR Peter Doherty Leading Light Award, which recognises the outstanding work of mid-career researchers in Australia and provides an opportunity present a 10-minute seminar at the ASMR National Scientific Conference, alongside a cash prize.

We were delighted to see Cure Cancer Australia alumna Dr Tracy Putoczki, Laboratory Head of the Inflammation Division at Walter and Eliza Institute of Medical Research take home the award, presented by Professor Doherty, Nobel Laureate. Tracy was chosen in recognition of her outstanding work on the links between inflammation and cancer, as detailed in her paper ‘Interleukin-11 is a dominant IL-6 family cytokine in gastrointestinal cancer.’

Tracy was funded as an early-career researcher by Cure Cancer Australia and Cancer Australia in 2010, supported by Tour de Cure, when she was at the Ludwig Institute.

It is so wonderful to see our funded researchers going on to achieve such truly amazing things. Cure Cancer Australia offer more than start-up funding for young researchers, we also invest in their professional development.

We fund early-career researchers working in any aspect of cancer research, providing one or two years of ‘start-up’ project funding for researchers up to 7 years postdoc or MBBS. Over the years, we’ve learnt that the value of our grants is greatly enhanced when we give more than just money. With a minimal additional investment, we’re able to enrich the value of receiving our funding. We provide:

• Annual Researcher Symposium

Our annual Researcher Symposium, attended by grantees past and present, provides current grant recipients an opportunity to meet their peers, start to establish networks and present their work as an invited speaker. The program includes talks on aspects of professional development such as communicating your research or involving consumers in your work. Importantly, the grant recipients also hear from and meet the community fundraisers who enable us to fund their research.

• Mentoring Program

In 2017 we established a Cure Cancer Australia mentoring program, offering two mentors from our alumni group for every new grant recipient.

• Researcher of the Year Award

Our annual Researcher of the Year Award is offered to the recent grantee with the highest productivity in past 3 years.

• Travel Grants

From 2018 we will offer travel grants to the strongest applicants for Researcher of the Year.

• Grant Review Committees

Once our alumni have gained a little more experience, we can offer the opportunity to sit on the Cancer Australia grant review panels to assess the next round of applicants.

• Consumers

We can assist our grant recipients with finding consumers to help with their research. This also provides our supporters with enriching, purposeful involvement with those researchers and their work.

• Community Engagement

Thoughtful community engagement such as lab tours, our Researcher Showcase or focussed corporate events gives early-career researchers opportunities to engage with non-scientists so that they can communicate their research and why it matters.

If you would like to find out more about our research grants, head to our website or email Applications will open via RGMS and the Cancer Australia Priority-driven Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS) in December 2017.

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