First international collaborative analysis of cancer research funding by ICRP

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Lynne Davies from the International Cancer Research Partnership describes their latest report on cancer research funding.

Last week the International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP) launched the first co-operative international analysis of the cancer research landscape, based on data from over 50 current member organizations about their individual projects and programs.

The analysis is the result of a major collaborative effort among cancer organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan to implement an international cancer research classification system (the CSO or Common Scientific Outline) and to set up an international freely available database containing over 54,000 awards to date.

The first report, based on analysis of this powerful dataset, reveals that ICRP member organizations funded over 20,000 active awards in each of calendar years 2005 to 2008.  Annual investment in cancer research ranged between $4.6 and $4.8 billion (US Dollars) over this period.  The report highlights trends in funding for specific cancer types and illustrates how awards are distributed across the research spectrum: biology, etiology, prevention, early diagnosis, detection and prognosis, treatment, cancer control and survivorship.

ICRP members are very diverse, ranging from organizations focusing on a single cancer type to some of the largest funders of cancer research in the world. For the first time, all of these organizations are using the ‘common language’ of the CSO classification system to compare and contrast their investments in cancer research with the goal of identifying what is being funded and working together more efficiently to address gaps in research funding. Sharing award funding data in a common format allows organizations to track the impact of their own strategic investments in the international context and sets a benchmark for future analyses.

Part of the dataset is openly available to the public and organizations that contribute data have full access in a password-protected site to the latest funding information submitted by member organizations, including many awards funded in 2012.  Member organizations also enjoy access to analytical tools, collaborative forum areas for information exchange in addition to joint evaluation reports and analyses.

The ICRP plans to release periodic updates to this report, which will include additional data from new partners in the Netherlands, Australia and Japan.  The ICRP is actively seeking additional cancer funding organizations from around the world to join the Partnership, to contribute their portfolio information to future analyses and be part of a new era of collaboration in cancer research.

Lynne Davies is the Operations Manager of the International Cancer Research Partnership (operations@icrpartnership.org). The ICRP website can be found here

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