$5.3 million sought for innovative cancer research

Wednesday 14 March, 2007

The Cancer Council Victoria is seeking $5.3 million from visionary, philanthropic individuals with the desire and capacity to fund five exciting new cancer research initiatives that push the conventional boundaries of research and have the potential to significantly advance our cancer knowledge.

The Cancer Council today announced it had set up the Venture Grants Scheme to address a lack of resources and funding available, in Australia, to investigate highly imaginative research ideas.

Cancer Council Director Professor David Hill said the Venture Grants Scheme is the Cancer Council's response to consistent complaints from some of our most original scientific thinkers that it has become increasingly more difficult to get funding for big research ideas.

"Conventional schemes fund relatively safe proposals with the high likelihood of generating new knowledge but the gain may be quite small," Professor Hill said. "The gain is less predictable with innovative research but the magnitude may be very substantial."

"All five initiatives, awarded seed funding as part of the Venture Grants Scheme, have the capacity to considerably progress the cancer fight."

Professor Hill said all selected applicants have exceptional research track records and are based in institutions conducive to research success in Victoria.

"Competition for our grants is always fierce with only the highest quality applications being successful following a rigorous peer review process," he said." Those selected for the Venture Grants Scheme are no exception."

Professor Hill said the Cancer Council has provided $758, 250 for the first milestones of the projects.

"The only way to advance cancer treatment and prevention is to increase the scope and scale of quality research," Professor Hill said. "We need to include venturesome approaches in an effort to hasten the rate of discovery."

"We are seeking generous donations from individuals who understand our vision for bold, adventurous research and would be prepared to fund subsequent stages of these outstanding projects."

An exceptional committee of medical scientists, including Professor Tony Burgess, Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne, has overseen the candidate selection process.

"Venture Grant Scheme applicants were required to present a case to be funded for a maximum amount of $500,000 per annum for one to five years," Professor Burgess said. "Projects needed to demonstrate that the grant could significantly advance their research program and could yield important new knowledge in their field."

The Cancer Council is the largest non-profit provider of cancer research in Victoria. In 2006, it invested around $21 million.

"The application of research leads to better treatment, earlier diagnosis and prevention benefiting cancer patients now and generations to come," Professor Hill said.

For further information on the Cancer Council's Venture Grants Scheme including detailed summaries of each research project, contact The Cancer Council's Major Gifts Manager, Jennifer Bennett on 9635 5236 or Jennifer.Bennett@cancervic.org.au

Media contact

For more information or to arrange media interviews please contact:

Amanda Millington
Mobile 0402 317 418 Office03 9635 5355 Email amilling@cancervic.org.au

Or

Anna Jones
Mobile 0412 704 608 Office03 9635 5670 Email anna.jones@cancervic.org.au