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Patient Care and Research

Advancing-Medicine-Together
Scientific Challenges 

Background

Collaborations across the biomedical research ecosystem are critical to advance medicine. In the 2017 ASTRO Strategic Plan, the ASTRO Board prioritized elevating the profile of the field and retaining and fostering the research talent entering the field. It further described a vision in which cancer care would be characterized by the significant role of radiation oncology in this evolution of care and would be well understood by the House of Medicine. Key innovations in cancer medicine are driven by partnerships between basic and clinical researchers, and industry. ASTRO encourages more radiation oncology researchers serving as PIs for industry supported studies.

Scope

The ASTRO Advancing-Medicine-Together Scientific Challenges (“Challenges”) program aims to introduce and catalyze new collaborative research opportunities for the ASTRO membership, and to facilitate radiation oncology leadership in scientific discovery and engagement with industry partners.

Description

  1. Potential Partner and ASTRO discuss the alignment with ASTRO’s strategic goals/priorities and feasibility to design a new ASTRO-Partner Challenge. Partnership agreements will define the scope and implementation plan for a specific Challenge. ASTRO staff would seek Science Council Steering Committee’s guidance and consensus before ASTRO and potential Partner enter into any formal agreement. For any specific Challenge, a Partner must commit a minimum of $100,000.00 (direct costs) for research funding to support at least one of the three best-scored researchers of the specific Challenge, as ranked and recommended by the specific Challenge’s Judging Panel (outlined in section 2 below). ASTRO and Partner would then collaborate to design and finalize the Challenge Program Announcement (PA).
     
  2. ASTRO would manage Challenge advertising, application submission and review processes, judging, and recognition. ASTRO would:
    • publish and advertise the PA to the community of experts and researchers and develop FAQs for the PA and answer questions from potential entrants
    • assemble an independent Judging Panel (“Panel” hereafter) with needed expertise relative to the scope of the Challenge. Partner may send up to three non-scoring observers to the Panel discussions to observe and share perspectives and insights they may have about the scope of the specific Challenge
    • coordinate with Panel to facilitate review and fair/open competitions for submissions.
    • organize Panel’s scoring and recommendation for Challenge winners
    • announce and celebrate Challenge winners in ASTRO’s media channels
  3. Partner would provide resources to collaborate with Challenge winner(s).

Win/Win Model

Value to ASTRO Members:
  • Opportunities to forge new collaborations
  • Increases funding opportunities for radiation oncology researchers
  • Enhances visibility, opportunities to demonstrate scientific research capabilities and excellence
Value to Partners:
  • Identifies best scientific research solutions and/or proposals through a fair and open competition organized by a premier medical specialty society
  • Accesses the brainpower of leading radiation oncology experts and researchers
  • Has potential to broaden the scientific base of a specific field of research, such as increasing studies that explore new indications or combinations