After 10 years as the Chair of our Research Grants Advisory Committee, today we farewell Professor Lin Fritschi.
As the largest charitable funder of cancer research in Western Australia, our funding is highly sought after, and all grant applications go through a competitive process to ensure we only fund the highest quality research.
Professor Fritschi has been an integral part of this process, ensuring the research we fund informs practice and results in real improvements in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for West Australians affected by cancer.
"Lin has been involved in our Research Grants Advisory Committee since 2001, first as a committee member and then as the Chair. This is a voluntary role, so her commitment to ensuring the best cancer research is funded by Cancer Council WA has been so important for us. Lin has been a strong advocate for cancer research and has worked hard to ensure cancer researchers have the opportunity to conduct world-class cancer research in WA. Her contribution will be missed, but we are so grateful to her for her long term commitment to our work," said our Cancer Research and Prevention Director, Melissa Ledger.
Before farewelling Lin, we caught up with her to chat about her experience as Chair of our Research Grants Advisory Committee.
Q. What has been the highlight for you as the Chair of our Research Grants Advisory Committee?
A. A highlight for me has been watching the research program grow over time from a stand-alone project grants program, to an integrated program which supports research and researchers at all stages of their career - from undergraduate degrees to senior researchers.
The development of how we involve consumers in making the funding decisions and the increasing value we place on their input has also been a highlight.
Q. What has been your most memorable moment as Chair of our Research Grants Advisory Committee?
A. The research lunches are always a highlight for me. It's great to catch up with all the researchers and meet new ones, and to hear the donors' stories and be able to thank them in person.
Q. Why do you think the Research Grants Advisory Committee is important?
A. The committee ensures that Cancer Council WA donors get value for money and their donations are used to support cancer research projects that are making a difference.
Thank you for your commitment, dedication and passion and knowledge over the past 10 years, Lin.
You have guided us effectively through many program changes including - but notwithstanding - the introduction of the new committee structure, the development of our monitoring and evaluation framework, the new community review process, and three new and continuing funding schemes. You have played an integral role in our research funding program and will be greatly missed.
Introducing Professor David Preen
"We are excited and delighted to introduce the new Chair of our Research Grants Advisory Committee, Professor David Preen. David is a world-class researcher and epidemiologist, and has been a member of the committee since 2013.
"Cancer research is such an important part of our work at Cancer Council WA and the Chair and committee are key in helping to determine our funding decisions and the new directions for our funding program," said Melissa Ledger.
Professor Preen is actively involved with a range of clinical and epidemiological cancer research programs, primarily focused on investigating cancer-related services and outcomes at a population level.
His work targets areas including: colorectal cancer prevention; integrating personalised genomics into population cancer screening; the use of breast cancer therapies in real-world clinical practice; improving therapeutic protocols and outcomes in adolescent and young adult cancer patients; optimising clinical cancer staging systems; and reducing inequity in cancer treatment and survivorship.
Professor Preen has received funding for this work from agencies including the NHMRC, Australian Research Council, Cancer Australia, National Breast Cancer Foundation and Cancer Council WA.
"Cancer Council WA has a long history of prioritising research and importantly ‘putting its money where its mouth is' to fund important cancer-focused research in Western Australia. Their funding program is crucial to supporting senior and emerging cancer researchers in the state.
"The Cancer Council WA Research Funding Program comprises of a range of competitive grant schemes which are governed by robust mechanisms. Chief among these is the role of the Research Grants Advisory Committee, who determine where research funding is needed most, and coordinate the peer-review process which underpins the funding process.
" Importantly, the Committee also incorporates the consumer and community perspective into their decision making. This process ensures that the highly-valued bequests and donations made to Cancer Council WA are used appropriately and directed toward initiatives that will build cancer research capacity in WA, as well as support innovative and priority research across the entire cancer spectrum from laboratory to translational research," said Professor Preen.