Grant round process
The Cancer Research Trust has an Assessment Committee comprising clinical and radiation oncologists, biomedical researchers, a psychologist and a senior palliative care nursing specialist.
About six weeks after receiving and reading all the applications this committee meets to discuss which should be entered into the second stage of the review process. This is decided by a majority vote – and a tied vote results in the application being forwarded to the next stage. Past experience indicates that the majority of applications will pass through this stage. Those applications that enter the second stage of the review are divided up amongst the Assessment Committee members according to their expertise and over the following six weeks they write reports on each of their assigned applications. Where applicable (primarily research projects) two or three external reviews will also be obtained.
For the August and October grant rounds the second Assessment Committee meeting will take place in early December and the reports on each application are presented and debated. After the debate each member applies a confidential ranking to the application (1 to 10). At the end of the meeting a list of applications ranked from highest to lowest is produced and this is presented to the Cancer Research Trust Board in early December. A cut off for funding is suggested by the Assessment Committee, but the final decision is made by the Board.
Applicants are notified of outcomes by email in the first instance, followed by a letter with feedback if appropriate.
The current Assessment Committee membership is:
- Dr Scott Babington (chair)* – radiation oncology, research, teaching
- Prof Bruce Baguley – biomedical cancer research, drug development
- Dr Mike Berridge – biomedical cancer research, immunology
- Dr Brian Cox– epidemiology, public health
- Dr Nuala Helsby – pharmacology, research, teaching
- Dr Jackie Robinson – palliative care delivery, research, teaching
- Dr Katrina Sharples – clinical trials, statistics
- Dr Sheridan Wilson – clinical oncology, research, teaching
* also member of Trust Board
Management of Conflict of Interest for the CRTNZ Assessment Committee (CaRTAC)
The members of CaRTAC are aware of the potential for conflict of interest, and follow the protocol below for managing these.
Grants will be reviewed according to the following principles:
1.Funding approved by the CaRTAC must be for the promotion and support of the scientific study of cancer or cancer-related end-of-life care, or the professional development of those working in cancer control and cancer research and will follow the stated purpose of the Trust.
2.Any potential conflict of interest will be declared prior to an application being discussed. Assessment of the impact of this potential conflict of interest will be undertaken as documented below.
3.When CaRTAC is considering an application from one of its members, the grant must not receive special consideration beyond that given to other applications.
CaRTAC members are expected to review grant applications without fear or favour. They are expected to review and comment on the grants solely on the basis of the quality of the science or benefit to the training and/or career advancement of individuals and not be influenced by their relationships with grant applicants.
The relatively small size of the cancer control and research community in NZ means that most of the applicants will be known to members of the CaRTAC, and many will be work colleagues; this means that there must be an element of good judgement and common sense when a CaRTAC member is considering the possibility of conflict of interest.
1.Clear conflict of interest: any member of the CaRTAC who is an applicant or close collaborator, actively working on a current joint project or grant, has published with the applicant(s) in the past 3 years, or has close personal ties with the applicant, will not participate in discussion or vote on a grant. They will leave the room for the duration of discussion related to that conflict.
2.Subjective conflict of interest: any member of the CaRTAC who feels unable to remain objective and unbiased for a grant application for professional, personal or financial reasons will refrain from discussion or voting on a grant. They may remain in the room to provide advice, depending on the member’s perception and chair’s direction.
Both potential and actual conflicts declared will be recorded, along with the decision, in the meeting minutes.