PROGRESS REPORTS

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THE ROLE OF PROGRESS REPORTS IN THE SEEDS4HOPE GRANTS PROCESS

By: Dr. Michael Dufresne, Seeds4Hope Administrator

The application process adopted by the Cancer Centre Foundation for its Seeds4Hope Cancer Research Grant Awards program to fund local cancer researchers uses a rigorous expert peer-review mechanism adopted by all nationally and internationallhttp://windsorcancerfoundation.org/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=pagey recognized grant agencies. This mechanism reflects an extensive roster of internationally recognized, active cancer researchers with expertise in areas commiserate with the Seeds4Hope applications and ensures that only the most excellent proposals are funded. In short, because of rigorous peer-review, any research proposal recommended by the Foundation’s Research Grants Advisory Committee (RGAC) for funding is excellent, adheres to the Seeds4Hope objectives, and has high potential of advancing cancer care in the community and beyond.

Once funding has been approved, Seeds4Hope Principal Investigators (PIs) are required to submit formal progress reports to the Foundation through its RGAC at the end of each year of the grant tenure. Submission of a completed Formal Progress Report demonstrating that the research project is on track is a pre-requisite for release of Year 2 funds. Demonstrated need for continued funding is also a pre-requisite for release of Year 2 funds. Specifically, that the PI has committed at least 70% of the Year 1 funds for eligible research expenses as evidenced by the University of Windsor’s official S4H grant holders’ financial statements submitted to the Foundation at the end of the Year 1 tenure. In addition to the official financial statements submitted by the host institution (e.g., University of Windsor) and the signed formal Progress Report Forms submitted by the Seeds4Hope Principal Investigators, each PI is asked to submit a brief summary of progress in lay terms. All the information is reviewed by the Foundation’s Research Grants Advisory Committee while the official financial statements are forwarded to the Foundation’s treasurer.

To provide context, the public progress report summaries should be read along with the relevant project summary information (e.g., Research Team; Proposal Summary for Public; How this Research Helps Advance Cancer Care in the Community) released at the media conference the year the grants were first awarded. For example, Dr. Siyaram Pandey’s Year 1 progress report summary prepared from the formal report submitted to the Foundation in November 2014, should be read after reading her original research project summary that precedes it. [NOTE: As far as possible, the information released to the public is presented in lay terms. However, in some cases there is no appropriate substitute for scientific terms. Fortunately, in view of the web access and search engines such as Google and Yahoo, readers can make use of these search engines to get an idea of even the most obscure scientific terms. I can assure you that even those of us in the field use this helpful tool.

With respect to the interpretation of the progress reports, it is important to emphasize that since different types of research study require different experimental approaches, methodologies and timelines, progress made in different research areas cannot be compared. For example, laboratory studies at the cellular and molecular level typically generate significant results within the first year of funding. In contrast, extra-laboratory studies involving recruitment of select human participants subject to availability and approval by the appropriate Research Ethics Board before data can be collected and analyzed typically require relatively more time to generate meaningful results. In short, the measurable determinants for progress in different research studies of equal excellence and cancer care relevance are necessarily different and cannot be compared. Finally, it is important to realize that all the advances in cancer care we benefit from today are the result of research conducted in the past decades; the practical impact of the research being conducted now will be realized in the significant advances in future cancer care – care for our children and grand children. As long as research is conducted, be assured that progress will be made.

To summarize, the application process and the progress reports serve different objectives. The application process determines what applications submitted by local cancer researchers merit funding as determined by rigorous peer review, adherence to the Seeds4Hope objectives, and high potential for advancing cancer care in the community. The application process ensures that the research funded is both excellent and relevant to cancer care. In contrast, the end of year progress reports and corresponding financial statements ensure that Seeds4Hope funded research is progressing and that funds provided by the Foundation are being spent on eligible research expenses. The progress report information ensures that the funded research project is active and compliant.

It is my hope that the information presented in this document helps everyone involved to better understand the contexts of these very different, but complementary and essential, elements in the Seeds4Hope process.

*Progress reports for each research project can be found on the Grants Awarded page, under each grant awardee description.

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