In This Section

Professional Advancement Opportunities

In support of its mission to promote the education and training of cancer scientists and clinicians, and to cultivate a highly skilled and diverse cancer research workforce, the AACR provides AACR Annual Meeting attendees at all career stages—from high school and undergraduate students to senior investigators—with opportunities to advance their careers. For more information about any of the professional development opportunities that follow, visit

NextGen Stars

The AACR Annual Meeting 2024 marks the 10th anniversary of the prestigious and competitive AACR NextGen Stars program. Early-career scientists can apply to give a presentation in a Major Symposium or Advances Session at the AACR Annual Meeting 2024. Speaking slots are limited and are only available to AACR Associate Members and to AACR Active Members who are not above the level of assistant professor or equivalent. The NextGen Stars program provides an exciting opportunity to increase the visibility of early-career and early-stage scientists at the AACR Annual Meeting and to support their professional development and advancement.

The deadline to submit applications is 5:00 p.m. U.S. ET, October 3, 2023. Applications consist of an extended abstract (limit 8,000 characters), a CV, and a letter of recommendation from a P.I., department head, or another mentor who is familiar with the applicant’s work. Applicants selected as NextGen Stars for 2024 will receive travel support and complimentary registration for the meeting. Details can be found at under the “NextGen Stars” tab.

Professional Advancement

Series Exclusive Member Benefit

The Professional Advancement Series of sessions has long been an integral part of the AACR Annual Meeting experience and is dedicated to the education, training, and career advancement of cancer research investigators at all stages of their careers. A collaborative effort each year by the AACR Science Education and Career Advancement Committee, Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council, Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council, Associate Member Council (AMC), and the Publications Committee, these sessions provide several interactive and engaging professional development and career advancement opportunities to investigators at all levels, including students, early-career scientists, and early-stage investigators.

All Professional Advancement Sessions are free and exclusive to AACR members. There is no cost to join the AACR as an Associate Member (graduate students, medical students and residents, and clinical and postdoctoral fellows who are enrolled in education or training programs that could lead to a career in cancer research) or Student Member (undergraduate and high school students). If you are not an AACR member, you are strongly encouraged to join the AACR and take advantage of the opportunity to attend these sessions and receive the many other benefits of membership, including the privilege of sponsoring abstracts, significantly reduced member registration rates, and more. Visit Membership to apply today!

The full listing of sessions in the Professional Advancement Series to be held at the Annual Meeting 2024 will be announced in the fall. Space is limited and participation is available on a first-come, first-served basis for all sessions except the Grant Writing Workshop and Personalized Career Conversations, which require advance registration. Visit for session updates and to preregister.

Productive Peer Review: Improving Science while Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Moderated by Editors of AACR scientific journals, this interactive session will focus on how to become a proficient reviewer and how to effectively respond to reviewers’ comments.

Grant Writing Workshop

This session aims to provide new investigators (postdoctoral fellows and new faculty) with practical tools to write competitive grants. Focus is on how to write well for grants, how to structure an aims page to help the reviewer “get” all the information you want them to, and how to write an aims page that makes a reviewer excited about your grant. We will address different types of grants from NIH (Rs, Ks, Fs etc.) as well as grants from other countries. We will also discuss Summary Statements (“pink sheets”) and have a roundtable where participants can network and ask experienced scientists questions about the grants they are working on. Preregistration is required.

Personalized Career Conversations

This session provides a unique opportunity for early-career AACR Associate members to participate in 15-minute one-on-one conversations with distinguished cancer researchers from across various sectors—including academia, government, and industry. Distinguished session chairs will moderate informal discussions on important topics in the general session while one-on-one discussions are underway, and participants will have an opportunity to informally network with peers and members of the organizing groups to gain additional perspectives about various career topics. Preregistration is required to participate in one-on-one conversations.

How to Design a Successful Career Path in Cancer Research: The Do’s and Don’ts for Early-stage Investigators

This session is intended for early-stage investigators to acquire skills and develop key strategies in order to avoid “pitfalls” and develop “alternative” tactics to enhance the probability of success in their first independent leadership position. This session is designed specifically for those who have already made the transition from trainee to the next career stage inside and outside of academia. This is an absolute must-attend session for all early-stage investigators.

Navigating the Path to a Successful Career in Cancer Research

This exciting and interactive session and networking reception provides a forum in which students, early-career researchers, and early-stage investigators can discuss critical career development topics and survival skills during informal mentored roundtable discussions. Tables with predetermined professional development topics are facilitated by established scientists from a variety of sectors, including academia, government, and industry

Building an Effective Mentorship Team: Essential Strategies at Every Stage in Your Career

Navigating a successful career in cancer research, whether in academia, industry, or government, can be daunting. Establishing a team of mentors to guide you along the way is an essential step as you begin your journey. In this highly interactive session, cancer researchers with a strong commitment to mentoring and supporting the professional development of cancer research investigators, will share their knowledge and experience leading mentoring teams. Hear their stories and learn how to build and take full advantage of an effective mentoring team, whether you are a trainee, an early-stage investigator, or a later stage investigator considering a career change.

Additional Professional Development Opportunities

Professional Development Workshop: Women and Power—Advancing and Securing Your Career in Science
Sponsored by The Victoria’s Secret Global Fund for Women’s Cancers, in partnership with Pelotonia and AACR-Women in Cancer Research

This highly interactive, professional development workshop will focus on leadership training for women in science, at all stages of their careers. The four-hour workshop will consist of a plenary session and small group exercises where attendees will hone their ability to recognize their sources of power, understand and leverage their circles of influence to achieve audacious goals, and deepen their connections with female colleagues. The workshop will be led by hfp consulting, a globally-recognized firm that specializes in career development and leadership training exclusively for scientists. Pre-registration is required as space is limited for this special workshop. Visit for session updates and to preregister. Email [email protected] with questions.

19th Annual Undergraduate Student Caucus and Poster Competition

With more than 250 undergraduate student participants every year, the AACR Undergraduate Student Caucus and Poster Competition continues to be the premier event for undergraduate students attending the AACR Annual Meeting. Now in its 19th year, this program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to learn more about current research in the cancer field, hear from investigators about educational pathways and career development, explore career options in the cancer field, and compete for the Margaret Foti Foundation Undergraduate Prizes for Cancer Research while presenting research. Undergraduates at all levels are welcome to participate in this highly anticipated program at no cost. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, please visit or send an email to [email protected].

Abstract Submission Deadline (presenting): February 29, 2024.
Registration Deadline (nonpresenting): March 15, 2024.

AACR Special Program for High School Students: The Conquest of Cancer and the Next Generation of Cancer Researchers

The Special Program for High School Students promotes interactions between senior cancer scientists and promising students in order to facilitate the contributions of these students to scientific research and the conquest of cancer. Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to learn about cancer research and careers in biomedical research and medicine. The session is free, but space is limited. Learn more at

Registration Deadline: March 15, 2024.

AACR’s is a year-round career development resource center. The Center provides an unparalleled opportunity for cancer and biomedical research scientists, at all professional levels, and for clinicians who are seeking to advance their scientific careers to be provided with career development resources. Employers who are seeking to recruit highly qualified scientists are offered the opportunity to utilize the resources available to them on as a premier recruiting tool. For more information, visit or email [email protected].

AACR Annual Cancer and Biomedical Research Career Fair

The AACR Annual Cancer and Biomedical Research Career Fair will take place at the AACR Annual Meeting in San Diego, California on Saturday, April 6, 2024, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Visit for more information or to register for the 2024 Career Fair (, or email [email protected].

Employers will:

• Meet with candidates at all scientific levels

• Post open positions

• Review CVs/resumes

Job seekers will:

• Meet with employers face-to-face from academia, industry, and government institutions

• Upload CVs/resumes on

• Sign up for Job Alerts Hub Hub

The AACR provides Career and Professional Development opportunities to scientists at all career levels at the Hub. AACR will host several Career Development and recruiting events at the AACR Annual Meeting 2024 beginning on Sunday, April 7 through Wednesday, April 10, 2024, in the CancerCareers Hub, located in the San Diego Convention Center.

The CancerCareers Hub is open during the following hours:

Sunday, April 7: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Monday, April 8: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday, April 9: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Create your FREE jobseeker profile account to search for positions, post your CV/resume, create Job Alerts, and take advantage of other features. For more information, visit or email [email protected].

Networking Hubs

Taking place on Sunday, April 7, from 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m., the AACR Networking Hubs will once again offer a “can’t miss” opportunity for young investigators. The Hubs will target several rapidly advancing areas of research. There will be no formal program, but the Hubs offer a fun opportunity to socialize and network with colleagues, potential collaborators, and some of the most respected investigators in the cancer research community. Look for more information in the coming months on the Professional Development Opportunities tab on