Thank you for the chance to come and talk today. My name is Simon Vincent and I am responsible for the training grants for Cancer Research UK. This is a great opportunity to hear about what you might do in the future, and I hope I can give you a flavour of the opportunities that might be open to you if you decide to go down a career in cancer research. I am going to quickly cover three main areas. First, I’ll give you a bit of background to Cancer Research UK, then I’ll tell you about the way that we fund clinical academic careers, and then I’ll explain a little bit about how where our fellows come from and what they do.
So first of all, a bit about who we are.
Cancer Research UK is not the largest funder of medical research in the UK, but it is certainly a major player, and for those of you who are thinking about a career in cancer research, we are going to be an important resource for you. I hope that you have heard of us already ….. But in case not, let me tell you a bit about where we have come from. We have been around for over 100 years. The Imperial Cancer Research Fund started in 1902, and the Cancer Research Campaign started in 1923. The two charities worked together, but in 2001 they began to discuss whether a formal merger should take place. The result was the formation of Cancer Research UK 5 years ago. Since the merger we have continued to increase our fundraising and the amount that we provide for research. We are now the largest fund-raising medical research charity in the world, and the largest cancer funder of any sort in Europe. One immediate impact of the merger was that there was now a single large voice from the cancer charity sector. This has meant that we can have a major influence on all areas of cancer policy in the UK, in research, in funding, in public health, in service delivery and in long-term planning. But we are careful that we don’t dominate the debate by our size. There are lots of other cancer charities, and we make sure we work with them where we can. This is why we often work through umbrella bodies, such as the National Cancer Research Institute on funding issues, and the Cancer Campaigning Group for policy and lobbying.
A key reason that we can be such a powerful voice is that we represent such a large group of people. We have 2.5 million people that we are regularly in touch with, because they run Race for Life for us, raise money for us, volunteer in our shops, or carry out research. And that is not including all the other contacts through people that come into our shops, or come into contact with our doctors and nurses when they are cancer patients, or read our website. This is a powerful group of people and we can mobilise them to make a real difference with the government and the NHS.
There is a danger that we will end up spreading ourselves too thinly. We are big, and we can do lots, but we can’t do everything. We have to think where we can have most impact. This is why we have spent a long time developing a really clear vision and purpose, and making sure that everything we do is in support of one of these four areas.
Some facts about us. Institutes is separate point Also include: This is what we deliver, and this is the important part for the clinical and research communities. But of course, we need to raise the money for all of this work. Another key part of what we do is to link our fundraising with our research, which is perhaps something that is not quite so crucial for other funders. About 90% of the people in the UK live within 30 miles of a Cancer Research UK research team – and we want to make the most of this local link. One key way of doing this is to think about our strategy.
Three key areas of the strategy. Some highlights …..
Early detection – reducing the avoidable deaths because of late presentation (includes social factors) Imaging – finding out what drugs are really doing in the body, being able to find out where the cancer is more accurately so that you can target the therapy to it. Biomarkers – mention the Chris Parker work Models – and other good and appropriate models for different cancers at different stages.
The majority of people still treated and cured by radiotherapy and surgery. Well established, but could be improved. Specific cancers, with poor outlook but little research. These are two specific examples but there will be more.
And this is where our Centres come in. Centres will be a way of getting more out of all the work that we fund in a particular location. They are not going to be new buildings, but they will be partnerships with other charities, other funders and the local university and NHS trusts. This is where we will build the link between our research, our supporters and the public. These centres will provide the glue that links: Patient care – more rapid delivery of new therapies Public engagement – information about cancer, encouraging people to take up careers in cancer Prevention – health messages
So that is who we are – let’s look at what we do.
Clinical careers are much more complicated! I can’t cover all aspects of a clinical career in the short time left, so what I will do is give an overview of some of the fellowship options that there are. Discuss Walport posts One of the things which Cancer Research UK takes into account is that there is no such thing as a typical academic clinical career, in spite, perhaps, of the current trend to have you all in boxes and going through the system in exactly the same way. We know that this is not what actually happens in the real world. This means that the most important thing about our fellowships is that they are flexible. In general, the main criteria are that you need to have your GMC registration, you need to be eligible to work and do specialist training in the UK, and you should be able to demonstrate that you have long-term plans for a career in the UK. Apart from that, we can more or less work around you. That doesn’t mean you can do what you like – our panels will still say, for instance, if they think that you are too early in your career for a particular fellowship, even if you meet the criteria on paper. Or they may suggest that you delay the next stage of your research career until you have done more of your training. Our panel members contain people who are active clinicians and also doing research, and should in theory know the pressures you are under. They are all training people in their own departments. And you can also apply for project and programme grants.
This slide provides more detail about what is on offer for each of the schemes. If you want to know more, I have lots of leaflets that you can take away, or you can have a look at our website.
When we split into two sections, Matthew is going to go into a lot more detail about the individual funding schemes, particularly those for fellows. But I wanted to give a quick overview of most of our regular funding streams, and to cover the clinical funding here.
Notes 70% figure is 10% that want to do this straight away, 60% will do this after completing training This includes people who Note that this is a cohort pre-Walport, so there are now far more opportunities to combine clinical research and training.
So that is Cancer Research UK!
How can Cancer Research UK help you? Simon Vincent
Who are we? A brief history of Cancer Research UK
We will establish a network of Cancer Centres that will:
Become a focus for all local cancer research
Support research training
Be the way to deliver future initiatives
And the Centres will link our research to:
What do we do? Our support for clinical fellows
Clinical research support F1 and F2 Specialist training programme Consultant CCT Project and programme grants Clinician Scientist Fellowship Senior Cancer Research Fellowship Clinical Training Accounts Research bursary for clinicians
Clinical research support F1 and F2 Specialist training programme Consultant CCT
Up to £25,000 for any costs
Up to 1 year
Not for work leading to MSc, MD or PhD
Clinical Training Account posts
Usually 3 years
Full time research for PhD
Must be post-registration, most are specialist trainees
Supported through Cancer Research UK Centres
Clinician Scientist Fellowship
4 years, renewable
Combine post-doc training with specialist training
Must have less than 2.5 years training to complete
Senior Cancer Research Fellowship
Up to 2 research assistants, 1 technician, 1 student
Aim to build up research group
Need CCT and 2 years’ postdoctoral research experience
ACF SCL CL
Who do we support? A bit about our clinical fellows