Update from the International Cancer Research Partnership Annual Meeting

Guest blog post from Stephanie Reffey, Director, Research Evaluation

Recently, I had the privilege of Chairing the International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP) Annual Meeting, which included 40 other individuals representing 57 cancer research-funding organizations around the globe (There are more member organizations than representatives because the UK and Canadian member organizations are represented by the National Cancer Research Institute and the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance, respectively).  I look forward to this meeting each year because it is an opportunity for ICRP members to network, exchange ideas and information, and share lessons learned and best practices in order to improve our effectiveness as grant-makers.

In keeping with the theme of this year’s meeting, “Translational Rean search Strategies”, we had the chance to hear about several strategies for supporting and encouraging translational research – research that moves laboratory discoveries into the clinic. This topic is near and dear to Komen since our Research Evaluation and Scientific Programs place an emphasis on translating knowledge and basic science discoveries into treatment, early detection and prevention strategies for breast cancer.  This session included a discussion of funding models from Australia, France, Germany, and a European network for translational cancer research called TRANSCAN.  Such sessions are invaluable to the partners, including Komen, because they allow organizations to learn from each other and exchange ideas for how we, as grant-makers, can more effectively solicit, identify, and support those grants that will have the greatest impact for patients.

We also explored a number of tools and resources available to assist organizations with the identification and tracking of research outcomes – things like research publications, patents, collaborations, career advancement, and a variety of other items that can be used to measure research “success”.  This is an area of growing interest to the Partnership in general and to Komen specifically, as we strive to find more meaningful ways to evaluate the impact of our research funding.  By sharing these ideas and resources, we can learn what works (and what doesn’t) and can improve our own efforts in evaluating the research we fund and communicating about our impact.

In addition, cross-partnership analyses of the research being funded in particular topic areas were presented. Topics included an analysis of the research being done on obesity and cancer, led by Komen’s own Kari Wojtanik, and another on environmental influences on breast cancer.  (These analysis are similar to Komen’s Research Fast Facts , but on a much larger scale.)  Such reports are quite valuable because they not only let us know what is (and isn’t) being investigated in these areas across a large number of funding organizations, but also because we can learn from the methodology used to do the analyses and make our own individual searches more efficient. 

All in all, the ICRP Annual Meeting was a resounding success.  I have been honored to represent Komen and Chair this organization for the past 2 years.  From my perspective, Komen has benefitted significantly from being a part of this organization since its inception in 2000, but I am proud to say that the organization has also learned from Komen.  As one of the larger non-profit members of this partnership, we have had opportunities to lead initiatives and, in some cases, drive the agenda.  I look forward to the coming year to see what we can accomplish, together.

About the ICRP:

The ICRP is a unique alliance of cancer organizations that work together to enhance global collaboration and strategic coordination of research. Partners aim to improve access to information about cancer research being conducted through each member organization and enable cancer organizations to maximize the impact of their independent efforts, for the benefit of researchers and cancer patients worldwide.

  •  ICRP includes organizations from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  
  •  ICRP organizations share funding information in a common format (known as the Common Scientific Outline or CSO) to facilitate pooling data and evaluating data across organizations.  
  • The ICRP database contains information on 57,452 grants, totaling some $13,160,448,975 in cancer research from 56 organizations. 
  • Researchers can search the ICRP database to avoid duplication of efforts and identify collaborators.


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About the author

Susan G. Komen has written 343 articles for Susan G. Komen® | Blog

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.