- Irish Cancer Society commits €1 million to supporting career development for the next generation of cancer researchers in Ireland -
Dr Eva Szegezdi of Biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES) at NUI Galway was one of three researchers to receive an Irish Cancer Society fellowship at a recent awards ceremony held in Dublin where President of Ireland, Mary McAleese presented six of Ireland's most gifted young cancer researchers with inaugural Irish Cancer Society's Research Scholarship Awards & Research Fellowship Awards.
This new Scholarship award scheme is part of the Society's commitment to funding cancer research in Ireland, to cultivating the next generation of cancer researchers and rewarding exceptional people with outstanding research ideas in the area of cancer research.
Dr Eva Szegezdi is studying a new anti-cancer therapy, called TRAIL, which is currently in phase II clinical trials. "TRAIL is effective at treating 50% of cancers, but does not work in the other 50%. My research is trying to find ways to make TRAIL more effective in these resistant cancers" explained Dr Szegezdi.
Professor Afshin Samali, Head of Biochemistry at NUI Galway, said: "This is a major achievement for Dr Szegezdi and Biochemistry. Dr Szegezdi has achieved the highest level of scientific excellence and earlier this year was also awarded a Starter Investigator Research Grant (SIRG) for cancer research from Science Foundation Ireland".
In 2008, the Irish Cancer Society established the Research Fellowship programme to assist cancer researchers to develop their research ideas and offer them the support they need to direct their own research teams.
Following on from the success of this initiative, this year the Society established the Research Scholarship programme to fund young post graduate students starting out on a career in cancer research. The Scholarship programme aims to encourage the brightest and the best students in Ireland to complete PhDs in cancer research.
Commenting on the Fellowship and Scholarship scheme, Professor Cliona O'Farrelly, Chairperson, Cancer Research Committee, Irish Cancer Society said, "We are delighted with this new scheme which has attracted huge numbers of applicants from dedicated and enthusiastic researchers who are keen to dedicate themselves to cancer research."
"It was particularly challenging to select just six candidates to receive the awards, but we are optimistic that with additional funding we may be able to expand this scheme," continued Professor O'Farrelly.
The Fellowship and Scholarship scheme is open to all scientific, medical and paramedical disciplines that are committed to cancer research. Each Fellowship award is up to the value of €75,000 per annum for up to three years and each Scholarship award is up to the value of€40,000 per annum for up to three years.
The Irish Cancer Society is the single largest voluntary supporter of cancer research in Ireland and is responsible for evaluating grant applications from scientists and doctors conducting this research. This research focuses on identifying risk factors for various cancers so that the disease may be prevented, identifying the cellular mechanisms of cancer in order to unravel the mystery of why some cells behave normally and some become cancerous and identifying the most effective combination of therapies in treating cancer.
The Health Research Board (HRB) through the Medical Research Charities Group (MRCG) and the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) are acknowledged for their support in co-funding some of these research projects.
The Irish Cancer Society is now inviting applications for the 2010 Fellowship and Scholarship Awards Scheme. Closing date for entries is Wednesday, 10 February, 2010. Applications must be submitted online at www.cri.cancer.ie