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The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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The SWOG/Hope Foundation Impact Award

Feb 7, 2014 - At a time when federal funds for cancer research are shrinking, The Hope Foundation -- SWOG's philanthropic arm -- provides crucial support to ensure that the Group's research continues uninterrupted. Hope offers a number of both competitive and non-competitive funding programs, with a primary goal of bringing cutting-edge research proposals to fruition. Prime among these has been our own Development Award, which since 2011 has committed more than $3 million in support of 14 research projects.

Late last year, the SWOG Development Award Review Committee, concerned in part that the grant was perceived solely as a "career" development award, convened a ground-up review of the entire program. What emerged as the successor to the SDA is now named the SWOG/Hope Foundation Impact Award, and it is substantially better.

The central goal of the award remains largely unchanged: to foster novel scientific ideas, agents, targets, and technologies that have the potential to substantially advance the practice of clinical cancer research within the Group. The new award still reflects this goal while driving home the point that we are trying to attract the most innovative science to our Group, science that will have maximum impact on the health of our patients. More simply, the new name also recognizes the central role of The Hope Foundation in making the award possible, giving the Foundation the credit it's due and some visibility that will help foster its long term health and possibly help in its fund-raising mission.

Impact Award projects may be funded for up to $250,000 in total over a two-year award period. The grant may also go to support smaller feasibility projects that are deemed critical to the conduct of future SWOG trials. We expect that earning an Impact Award will help a project garner additional support from other sources. This is one way we will measure the success of the program; to better track its effectiveness, winners will report back to the Group on their research, possibly with dedicated time at Plenary II.

The review committee accepts Impact Award applications twice per year, with the next deadline coming up March 15. You can download an application from the SWOG website (click on the "Research Support" menu item in the Members or Visitors section). If you've got a ground-breaking research project gestating, we've got the support that will let you make a real impact on the lives and well-being of cancer patients. Feel free to contact me or Jo Horn, Foundation President, if you have questions about Impact or any of our many awards.


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