The Cancer Research Foundation's mission is to raise funds to fund early-career cancer scientists and new directions in cancer science research with the goal of contributing to "Transformational Events" in the prevention, treatment and cure for cancer.
Throughout its history, the Cancer Research Foundation has made a point of taking "long-shot" bets with relatively small amounts of grant money, leveraging the collective knowledge and experience of the Foundation, its allies, and its past grantees to make grants that increase scientific knowledge more than an average grant of the same size. We view ourselves as "cancer research venture capitalists," making early investments in ideas that are often difficult to fund through more traditional sources.
The Cancer Research Foundation does not exist to have its name inscribed on laboratory buildings or complex pieces of machinery. We invest in the ideas and minds of the researchers we fund. Our ultimate goal is to bring about the day when the world is celebrating the scientist who has finally unraveled a key to stopping this terrible disease--and when that person steps to the podium, he or she credits the Cancer Research Foundation with providing support when no one else would.
One way the Cancer Research Foundation acts as an early-stage investor is by funding young investigators. We often hear from new scientists that they find themselves in a "Catch-22" situation: they cannot apply for funding without presenting data which indicates that their research has promise, but they cannot gather the needed data without funding. Funding young investigators and even occasional post-doctorate students with a significant interest in cancer is one way that the Cancer Research Foundation can create significant opportunity and potential with relatively small-sized grants. If a young investigator does not find funding, he or she might never get the chance to make the next great breakthrough in cancer science. To read more about the Cancer Research Foundation's Young Investigator Awards, click here.
Another avenue for CRF funding is a new idea or concept presented by more seasoned scientists. In many ways, new ideas that come to scientists who have been following other research are more fragile, yet they are often likely to bear significant fruit. Without funding from a flexible, interested and private source, a seasoned scientist who has a new idea that is not consistent with the course of the work he or she has been pursuing is negatively incented to follow that idea as it may bring about the withdrawal of current support or may endanger the future support of the current course of work. Fertilized by a scientist's experience and past work, new directions like these are good bets to produce transformational events in cancer science. As in the case of young investigators who cannot gain traction for their research, these promising ideas would be lost for lack of funding. To learn more about the CRF's support for senior scientists and novel ideas in cancer science, click here.
Concurrent with our policy of creating the greatest opportunity for major breakthroughs in science by leveraging grants where money is needed most, the Cancer Research Foundation is run in the most efficient way possible. We strive to keep overhead operating costs to an absolute minimum and to maintain a distinct focus on research while using the highest standards of assessment and oversight possible. In addition, CRF acts as a valuable liaison between donors, funded scientists, and other potential funding sources.
"I owe a great deal to the Cancer Research Foundation for giving me a head start. This financial help made the difference between my getting a fast and successful start, and my other wise struggling to obtain the necessary funds to get my research program started."Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D.
Professor, Departments of Medicine and Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and Human Genetics University of Chicago
April 30, 2010