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Professional and Career Advancement Sessions

The AACR gratefully acknowledges AbbVie for its support of the 2021 Professional Advancement Series

The AACR is dedicated to the education, training, and professional development of cancer research investigators and the Professional Advancement Series Sessions are an integral part of the AACR Annual Meeting experience. Organized as a collaborative effort by the AACR Science Education and Career Advancement Committee, Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council, Women in Cancer Research (WICR) Council, and Associate Member Council (AMC), these exciting sessions are available to Annual Meeting registrants free of charge and provide important skills to investigators at all stages in their careers. 


Participation in the Professional Advancement sessions is available exclusively to AACR Virtual Annual Meeting 2021 registrants. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required for all sessions. 

To register, log in to myAACR and select “Applications/Awards” across the top menu bar. After you click on Applications/Awards, find the section titled, “Professional Advancement Sessions at the Annual Meeting”. Click on the application link for each session to begin your registration.

Professional Advancement Series sessions at the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting

Annual Undergraduate Student Caucus and Poster Competition

With more than 200 undergraduate student participants every year, the Undergraduate Student Caucus Poster Competition continues to be the premier event for undergraduate students attending the AACR Annual Meeting. Now in its 16th year, this session gives undergraduates 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 monetary prizes while presenting research. Undergraduates at all levels are welcome to participate without cost. AACR members are encouraged to volunteer as judges. Learn more.

Navigating the Path to a Successful Career in Cancer Research

Monday, May 17, 11:45 am-1:45 pm ET

This exciting collaborative roundtable session and networking reception provide a forum in which students, early-career researchers, and early-stage investigators can discuss critical career development topics and survival skills with established researchers from a variety of sectors, including academia, government, and industry. This session is a must for all individuals pursuing careers in cancer research or other biomedical sciences. Learn more.

Important Strategies for Success in Cancer Science: Keys for Early-Stage Investigators

Monday, May 17, 11:45 am-1:15 pm ET

This professional advancement session is a unique opportunity for new investigators at the junior faculty/equivalent level to learn skills and strategies for addressing questions that can affect their success in the first independent leadership position. Designed specifically for those who have already made the transition from trainee to the next career stage inside and outside academia, this is a must-attend session for all early-stage investigators. Learn more.

Personalized Career Conversations 

Tuesday, May 18, 11:45 am-1:45 pm ET

This session provides a unique opportunity for early-career AACR Associate members to participate in 15-minute one-on-one conversations with one distinguished cancer researchers from across various sectors—including academia, government and industry. Participants will also have the opportunity to informally network with peers and members from the organizing groups to gain additional perspectives about various career topics. There is no cost to participate, but preregistration is required. Learn more.

Advancing Your Career in Cancer Research

Wednesday, May 19, 11:45 am-1:45 pm ET

This Professional Advancement session will be a highly interactive round-table session in which experienced AACR members will share their views on different career opportunities in cancer research with interested early-career scientists. Participants will have the opportunity to meet with AACR members who have extensive experience and insight into the various career opportunities available to the next generation of researchers. The ability to have personal discussions with experts will enhance the knowledge base of young scientists and will provide them with potential opportunities for the next steps in their careers. Learn more.

The Critical Role of Physician-Scientists in Advancing Cancer Science – Recommendations for Continued Success

Wednesday, May 19, 11:45 am-1:15 pm ET

This interactive panel discussion will explore the critical role of physician-scientists and strategies for their continued success in the face of increasing competitiveness in all domains of their professional service—scientific, clinical, educational, and administrative. The session will offer key insights and pointers from a diverse group of successful physician-scientists on career development and funding mechanisms as well as perspectives from a cancer center director. Learn more.

Communication Skills for Cancer Researchers

Thursday May 20, 11:45 am-1:15 pm ET

This session is for investigators at all career stages to discuss ways to efficiently and effectively communicate science to different audiences—both peers and the public. As specific communication skills are rarely directly addressed during the trainee setting, this Professional Advancement Session will introduce participants to the basic components of effective and concise communication while also defining the difference between “scientific” and “science” communications. Learn more.

Additional Career Advancement Opportunities 

Career Discussions 

Thursday, May 20, 11:45 am-1:15 pm ET

These informal networking and discussion sessions are designed for early-career researchers to interact with recently transitioned physician-scientist and junior faculty/equivalent peers around various career topics such as “Searching for the Right Postdoctoral Position.” Learn more.