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The Translational Cancer Faster Forward doctoral programme – CanFaster

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CanFaster (The Translational Cancer Faster Forward doctoral programme – CanFaster)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2019-05-31

CanFaster is a joint venture among industry, health care and academia to enhance and accelerate innovations and clinical implementation within oncology. The vision of CanFaster is to prolong and save lives of cancer patients through integrated development and commercialization/implementation of diagnostic/treatment alternatives, thus reaching the market and patient more rapidly. CanFaster will save lives of cancer patients, not for future generations, but for today´s.

The CanFaster programme is enabled by an intimate collaboration between industry, health care system and academia (in total ~7 million Euro will be invested), and will contribute to the Europe 2020 strategy, where one million new research jobs are needed to reach the Innovation Union flagship initiative. The collected track record of all partners in the proposed CanFaster programme demonstrates an impressive history of entrepreneurial spirit, state-of the art medical care but also truly world-class scientific excellence within translational cancer research. The CanFaster regional doctoral programme, has recruited 16 ESRs, that are hosted within CREATE Health, a translational cancer research programme with broad international collaboration partners and excellent out-put for the last 10 years.

The main objectives of CanFaster program are (i) increased international and intersectoral mobility, (ii) intensified collaboration within oncology between different sectors including academia, industry and health care, (iii) acceleration of innovation, attracting international investors leading to increased number of SMEs in the region and (iv) education of a new generation of excellent multidisciplinary, entrepreneurial scientists. This is achieved through the attraction of the MSCA program for industrial partners to add-on to the EU and public national funding of the programme with financial and in-kind contribution.
The PhD programme was advertised through international channels, including EURAXESS. The recruitment process followed the Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers (EURAXESS, Researchers in motion), and was based on the Open, Transparent and Merit based Recruitment of Researchers (the OTM-R principle) within the European Research area (ERA). The program has recruited 16 ESR.

The doctoral training within CanFaster is divided into four parallel work packages, e.g. scientific training in cancer research, CanFaster specific training, intersectoral, international training and LU specific mandatory training. The work packages are tailor-made to each ESR. However, the basic framework is provided by LU to ensure that the ESRs fulfill the criteria for doctoral degree defined by the Higher Education Ordinance in Sweden. The CanFaster programme will offer several courses within IP, commercialization and clinical implementation as well as secondments in industry or clinical setting.
During the first year of their appointment at the Lund University, the ESRs have started their scientific training in cancer research as well as the CanFaster specific training and LU specific mandatory training. Approximately half out the mandatory course credits were taken by the students during the first year of studies. The majority of the students has also initiated their intersectoral and international training, including attending international conferences, interdisciplinary courses and secondments. Many of the ESRs has initiated the drafting of their first manuscripts, although the majority of the students remain to publish peer-review articles of their work, which is mandatory for finishing the doctoral studies in Sweden. In the following reporting period, the ESRs will perform secondments within the clinic or hosted at industrial partners.