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New Club Allows AACR Grantees to Meet – Virtually

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, conferences and meetings worldwide are being canceled or moved to virtual mode. This loss of in-person interactions has significantly reduced the number of opportunities for researchers to share ideas, present research, learn career advancement skills, and establish connections with peers, colleagues, and potential collaborators.

To help mitigate these detrimental effects of the pandemic, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)’s Scientific Review and Grants Administration (SRGA) team has formed a Virtual AACR Grantees Club, to offer a platform for AACR grantees to share knowledge, foster networks and cultivate research collaborations no matter where they are located.

The Club has been meeting virtually every two-three months since the inaugural session in August 2020, successfully providing resources and encouraging new connections within the grantee community.

The December 2020 meeting included a panel discussion on “Career Development: Hacks and Tips” moderated by Dr. James V. DeGregori, University of Colorado Denver. Panel members, Dr. Sidi Chen, Yale University; Dr. Channing J. Der, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Sarah J. Hill, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Dr. Shobha Vasudevan, Massachusetts General Hospital, shared their expertise and answered questions from attendees on several topics including effective mentorship, navigating the faculty application process, and establishing a lab. After the highly engaging panel discussion, attendees dispersed into smaller groups to give grantees the opportunity to share their personal experiences and ask questions “in-person.”

From left, Dr. James V. DeGregori, Dr. Sidi Chen, Dr. Channing J. Der, Dr. Sarah J. Hill and Dr. Shobha Vasudevan.

“I think the club is a fantastic idea. It’s great to build the research community & network with the grantees; It’s a very original plan & it will create long-lasting connections.  I enjoyed the one I attended.” said one of the grantees who attended the meeting.

Challenges may offer new opportunities, and we are proud to see the formation of this Virtual AACR Grantees Club as a silver lining of this global health crisis. We look forward to providing future meetings as valuable resources for our AACR Grantee community as they continue working together to combat cancer.