Cancer Research Career Enhancement: The Importance of Education and Training in the CCSG

Ashley Toy
August 6th, 2019

Continuing education is critical for clinical research professionals, as the industry, the science and the methods are constantly evolving. In order to stay on the cutting edge of their field, researchers need to continue to grow their knowledge and understanding. In the cancer research world, education and training are not only important to individual investigators, but to the organizations at which they conduct research.

As part of the new requirements for the cancer center support grant (CCSG) laid out in 2017, the Cancer Research Career Enhancement and Related Activities component requires centers applying for the CCSG to showcase their education and training programs across the academic spectrum. Previously, centers focused mainly on education for clinical fellows or post-doctoral research associates. Now, the new requirements encourage expanding training to medical students, graduate and undergraduate students, and even middle and high school students, in addition to mentoring junior faculty and formally-funded training programs.

The intention of the new requirements is clear: By emphasizing the importance of training and education, the NCI is stating that cancer centers should invest in their researchers, thereby enhancing the quality of their research. For cancer centers looking to demonstrate their investment in training and education for their researchers, the new component gives an opportunity to assess the current state of their programs and see how they can improve.

Here are a few examples of what some cancer centers’ training programs look like:

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Training and Education
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Training and Education effort offers programs to individuals at different stages in their careers, including medical students, graduate students, postdoctoral students, residents and clinical fellows. From mentored training programs to trainee associate memberships, they offer a variety of unique programs for cancer researchers to further and develop their career.

Oregon Health and Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute Knight Scholars Program
Among other educational and community outreach programs, OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute offers a program for ninth- and tenth-grade students at select high schools in their area to receive up to a three-year introduction to a career in cancer research. Developing the cancer research career pipeline is critical to the future of research at organizations across the country and to the furthering of development of cures and preventions.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center Educational and Training Opportunities
The UW Carbone Cancer Center offers a range of training opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and post graduate students, as well as residency and fellowship options. One unique offering is their Grand Rounds lecture series, featuring an array of nationally-recognized speakers, both from the University of Wisconsin and across the country. The lectures are open to individuals at any level of their career in cancer research, and also give doctors, nurses and pharmacists Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits in order to keep both researchers and care providers up-to-date on the latest in their field.

Need a way to track Cancer Research Career Enhancement and Related Activities?

Forte’s Research Evaluation System (EVAL) allows you to store data related to members, grants, publications, educational enrollments and more so you can demonstrate your research, training and education return on investment to the NCI.