Spotlight on the Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR)

A special report from the Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR)

Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR)

The Irish Association for Cancer Research (IACR) is an All-Ireland (Republic and Northern Ireland) non-profit organisation for cancer researchers across all disciplines. Our aim is to advance cancer research across the island, by bringing together experts in cancer research, so that patient survival can be constantly improved, through cancer prevention, earlier diagnosis, and new and optimised treatments to ultimately reduce the burden of cancer. The patient is at the heart of everything we do from diagnosis, through to treatment and survivorship. This is reflected in our annual conference which, in addition to a strong biomedical representation, includes a growing allied health component and several public and patient involvement (PPI) initiatives.

The Professor Patrick Johnston IACR Award for Excellence in Cancer Research Outreach

At IACR we are very passionate about PPI and for the past few years have been determined to fully embed PPI in our organisation at several levels. We strongly believe in synergy between researchers and people affected by cancer in driving better quality cancer research which will ultimately result in improved outcomes for patients. Traditionally IACR has always been very supportive of junior researchers such as PhD students and postdocs. To marry our passion for PPI, science communication and support for junior researchers, in 2019 we launched The Professor Patrick Johnston IACR Award for Excellence in Cancer Research Outreach, a science communication award, as part of our annual conference.

PPI roundtable

Each year six early career researchers are selected based on their lay abstract submissions to the conference. Those selected take part in a patient communication workshop prior to IACR conference where they are asked to prepare a lay presentation on their work. During the workshops, researchers are paired with people affected by cancer to work together on the final presentation for the conference. Many participants over the years have highlighted how beneficial this experience was for their personal and professional development, encouraging them to actively seek patient participation in their research going forward.

IACR Early Career Research Symposium

PPI champion – Kay McKeogh

Our three-day annual conference is usually opened by one day dedicated to and driven by junior researchers. Over the years, our members have had the opportunity to attend talks and workshops focusing on career development, grant writing, science communication and other topics of interest for early career researchers. As part of these initiatives, attendees can participate in networking round-tables where they have informal chats with experts who can offer advice on their research, career and professional development. In keeping with our commitment to PPI, in 2023 we held an early career researchers PPI workshop, driven by our PPI champion Kay McKeogh, in collaboration with the IACR junior council.

Networking session

Attendees discussed the role of people affected by cancer (patients, families, carers and advocates) in biomedical research and ways to give meaningful contributions, focusing on challenges, advantages and rewards. If you are looking for tips and advice on PPI in your research, we have compiled a useful list of resources available on our website.

IACR 60th Anniversary

IACR is turning 60 this year! We are delighted to celebrate this important milestone with a special conference in collaboration with EACR and AACR. Join us in Dublin on the 27-29 of February 2024 for our special conference on ‘How to Bring Basic Science Discoveries to the Clinic’. Make sure to register for what promises to be a stimulating scientific meeting. In addition to an exciting scientific programme, we will ensure that you experience our proverbial Irish welcome!

About National Societies affiliated with the EACR

IACR is one of the 14 National Societies that have chosen to affiliate with the European Association for Cancer Research and give their members EACR membership at no extra cost to each member. Click here to find out more about these affiliated National Societies.