The goal of the Career Development Program is to prepare new investigators for independent careers in translational lung cancer research. It is expected that awardees will spend 1 to 2 years in a productive scientific environment with SPORE support and mentoring, after which time they will establish independent programs in research related to lung cancer. The Career Development Committee annually reviews the progress of each awardee by reviewing written reports, attending research presentations and through discussions with the awardee and the awardee's mentor. The Committee also solicits applications for new awardees. This is done by campus-wide communications, by personally approaching promising candidates, and by soliciting input from SPORE investigators. Applicants submit a proposed course of research that is reviewed by the committee. The committee also interviews applicants and mentors. The central criterion for selection of candidates is that they be junior investigators who are likely to develop independent careers in lung cancer research. Awardees are selected primarily for their potential for a successful career in independent research, secondarily for the mentor's laboratory or clinical project in which they propose to work (if not their own laboratory), and finally for the quality of the research proposal. All factors are critical for selection. However, as the ultimate goal of the program is to develop new investigators for independent careers in lung cancer research, an outstanding mentor and project cannot make up for a candidate with lesser personal and academic characteristics. Efforts are made to attract minority and female candidates. Awardees present yearly at the SPORE Program Seminar Series, with the mentor and SPORE Executive Committee members present. The presentation is followed by a discussion between the awardee, mentor and the Executive Committee. The SPORE Executive Committee which makes the final selection of awardees based on the CDP Committee's recommendations. For the renewal period we are requesting $50,000 grant support which will be matched with $50,000 of institutional funds to allow on average funding of two awardees per year. We believe the program has been successful. In the past 2 grant cycles, we have supported 10 awardees, in addition to two recent awards. All of the 10 continue in lung cancer research;3/10 are under-represented minorities and 3/10 are women. Of 26 awardees since 1993, 14 continue work on lung cancer, 6 continue cancer research and 2 continue other academic research;4/26 are minority and 10/26 are women.
Recruitment and retention of young translational researchers in lung cancer is critical to making progress in reducing the morbidity and mortality of this disease. The Colorado Lung Cancer SPORE Career Development Program is committed to selecting and supporting the most promising individuals who will make future advances in lung cancer research.
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