Want to know more about where your money is going if you buy a ticket for Race for Science? I asked our CEO Oliver Kemp to tell us about the innovative new research Race for Science will help fund.
Where is my money going if I buy a ticket to Race for Science?
All of the money from all the ticket sales from Race for Science will go directly towards our new projects that we are launching. We have just launched a grant call where different universities from around the country submit bids to us, and we have to work out which ones are the best of those bids and which ones are the most likely to make a significant difference to people with prostate cancer. So, this will fund one of those brand new three projects out of the 25 applications that we have received.
What is a grant call?
A grant call is where we advertise the fact that we would like to fund some new research and any scientist in the country can submit a bid to that particular grant call. In this specific case, we are looking for people to have a PhD, to be from a UK university and that they submit a bid that meets the research criteria that we have set.
Why did PCRC launch one?
In order to find the best possible science and to find the people that are capable of making the most amount of change to people with prostate cancer. We wanted to ensure that the best scientists at the best universities in the country knew that we existed and were submitting bids to us. The best way to do that in our case was to phone up the universities, get in contact with the administrators and through them let the researchers know that we have money that we would like to spend on the best possible science.
What are you looking for from the applications?
We are looking for people who first of all have good science contained within their applications. Does the data that they have submitted stack up? Do they have good collaborations? Are they capable of doing what they say they can do? Our scientific advisory committee and peer reviewers help us to assess that. We are also looking for people who are going to work well with our current researchers, so it’s not just one person sitting in a lab doing their own work, it’s also about how they will work with other scientists and getting constructive, critical feedback on what they are doing.
We always knew that we wanted the money raised from Race for Science to fund brand-new innovative research into advanced prostate cancer. How does the grant call help to accomplish that?
We have particularly asked people to submit bids that are innovative and we will use innovation as part of the criteria. We realise that so many of the breakthroughs in the past have come from people thinking creatively about how to tackle this vicious disease.
What are some of the other ways that PCRC is growing and changing?
We have done a few interesting things in the last few months. Firstly, we have integrated patient voice into our full grant cycle, trying to make sure that the patients and the people that we should ultimately be accountable to help establish what kind of grant calls we would be launching. At the end of the day these are the people that benefit from the work, raise the money and go out and run events for us. We need to be an organisation that is listening, understanding and responding to what they are requesting of us. Another change worth mentioning is that we also want to collaborate more with other cancer research organisations that are doing similar things to us. There is no reason at all why we should be repeating the same things so we need to be making sure that we’re working together with them to make the whole ecosystem work slightly better.
Click here for more information about the PCRC grant call, and click here for my other interview with Oliver about the origin of Race for Science.