Identification of common research and innovation priorities
The identification of common research and innovation priorities is a key element in the TRANSCAN-3 decision-making process to select the topics for the joint transnational calls. To that end, the same approach successfully implemented in the TRANSCAN and TRANSCAN-2 phases will be followed:
a) Collection of the most relevant information from relevant stakeholders
A leading role in the definition of the priorities will be played by the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB, composed of distinguished scientists with high level of expertise in cancer (from basic biomedical to clinical research), will provide guidance and recommendations on translational cancer research needs. The recommendations are intended to provide a framework that will allow TRANSCAN-3 funders to support translational research critical to patient outcomes, across all cancer types.
In addition, common research and funding priorities within the TRANSCAN 3 consortium, as well as those defined at national level, will be identified and duly take into account for each call. TRANSCAN-3 members will integrate within this decision-making process all available information on the cancer research landscape, through continuous interaction with European and international partners (such as the European Research Infrastructures, patient representatives, leading European cancer institutes, etc.).
The planned scientific symposia that will be organized involving the coordinators of the projects financed in the different phases of TRANSCAN, will be an additional opportunity to network, mobilize knowledge and dialogue exchange with leading actors in the field of cancer research as well as to identify and select the most outstanding topics for the calls to be launched.
b) Identification of the most prominent topics on translational cancer research
After collecting relevant information on the translational cancer research landscape, an analysis will be conducted by TRANSCAN-3 partners to identify and select areas of common interest for the definition of candidate topics for joint transnational calls. This selection process will take into consideration the research priorities identified and promoted by the European Commission, which include the Cancer Mission, established in 2019 within DG Research and Innovation.
Leveraged funding, through transnational collaborative research and innovation on cancer, based on a common strategic research agenda
A collaborative approach in cost-intensive fields of research, like translational cancer research, is essential to reduce funding overlap and optimize the use of available resources. TRANSCAN-3 is expected to integrate further into the existing research funding landscape, providing opportunities for transnational networking of small- to medium-sized research consortia and focusing joint activities on areas of demand.
A collaborative approach in high-cost research fields, such as translational cancer research, is essential to reduce funding overlap and optimize the use of available resources. TRANSCAN-3 is expected to further integrate into the existing research funding landscape, thus providing opportunities for the creation of transnational networks of small to medium-sized research consortia and focusing joint activities on areas of demand.
With 31 member organizations from 20 different countries, TRANSCAN-3 has a relevant critical mass and an integrative character for participant organizations . It fully involves them into its activities, reinforces their research capabilities, and provides opportunities for transnational benchmarking processes for efficient operational procedures underlying complex research programmes. The existing relationship of trust amongst all partners will ensure the efficient management of EU and national/regional contributions.
A widening strategy will be developed with the aim of boosting involvement of researchers from underrepresented countries, i.e. countries with a low performance in allocating their funding, with the expected results of increasing the chances of success for the TRANSCAN-3 partners in the joint transnational calls.
Streamlined national, regional and foundation or charity-based practices in organizing research and innovation funding
The collaboration among funding organizations in TRANSCAN-3 will ensure the launch and implementation of four joint transnational calls by pooling national/regional resources and contributing to the establishment and strengthening of the cooperation between their national/regional research programmes.
Most of the partners in the current consortium have participated in TRANSCAN and TRANSCAN-2. They have gained a solid experience in streamlining part of their national funding to the joint calls. While participation will be based on variable-geometry, it can be anticipated that a high financial commitment for all the calls will be guaranteed. The high quality of the consortium and its diversity is an added value and a challenge to further align the national, regional and charity-based procedures for implementing joint calls.
Information exchange on existing national funding programmes and best practices will continuously ensure the successful implementation of coordinated multilateral activities, with particular regard to those areas of translational research that could most benefit from transnational coordination and collaboration. The exchange of information about the funded translational cancer research programmes and projects will also be useful to identify gaps, strengths and weaknesses. Based on this knowledge, synergies will be created to fill the gaps and avoid overlapping in funding strategies.
Monitoring of the project’s activities will contribute to improve the performance of the collaborative network. It will also ensure the alignment of TRANSCAN-3’s expectations and priorities with the accomplishment of the overall project work plan (milestones, deliverable, etc.). In addition, this will consolidate relationships between the participating funding organizations and lay out a solid platform for a sustainable collaboration, through the reinforcement of mutual understanding and trust among all TRANSCAN-3 community members.
TRANSCAN-3 activities that support capacity building within research projects will have a positive impact on both the quality of research and the strength of scientific cooperation across borders.
TRANSCAN-3 will have a strong impact on the setting up of a sustainable European network for the funding of translational cancer research by promoting integration and efficient use of resources concerning research policies.
Demonstrated sharing of data and analyses of funded cancer research and their impact
Data sharing and exchanges for mutual learning and practice are substantial issues in health-related research. Regarding the research consortia to be funded, the call documents will explicitly recommend applicants to harmonize their data and link them to existing data bases and patient registries, whenever applicable, as well as to use Open Access in research publications. Similarly, the use of European Research Infrastructures will be encouraged, as the researchers will benefit from this collaboration in terms of exchange of knowledge and sharing of data.
The openness of well-documented high-quality research is expected to produce a great impact on innovation. Research groups will benefit from sharing their resources and expertise.
The scientific results from the funded projects will be analyzed and assessed within the monitoring activity. The outputs, outcomes and impacts will be disseminated through the TRANSCAN-3 website and other dissemination tools (newsletters, scientific symposia, social media, etc.) oriented to different target groups like scientists, funders, policy makers, as well as patients and the general public.
Exchange of knowledge and sharing of data will aim at producing and disseminating high-quality results.