Private Funding Becoming Increasingly Important to Research Efforts

medical equipmentFunding is the lifeblood of cancer research. However, headline-grabbing large grants from the government are becoming less plentiful, more restrictive, and more competitive, making it difficult for current investigators with well-established research to sustain their projects, uninterrupted.

In this environment, donations from private sources are increasingly important. They keep us moving toward the pursuit of excellence by funding valuable, behind-the-scenes work such as:

  • Allowing researchers to compile the preliminary data required to apply for larger grants
  • Bridging gaps between innovative projects
  • Mentoring the best junior faculty
  • Attracting the best tenured candidates
  • Providing seed money to stimulate
  • Collaborations, or high-risk but high-reward exploratory projects

Private financial support can take several forms. Gifts that fund endowed professorships are perhaps the most essential tool for building a strong research program, because they give promising scientists the most flexibility to bring new therapies to the forefront.

The Wilmot Cancer Center also relies on donations to help maintain or launch pilot research projects, which are often difficult to support through traditional avenues. Seed money from philanthropists is vital and can have many practical applications, including purchasing new equipment, paying for additional laboratory technicians, or funding an experiment that may require collaboration with another research group. Gifts for seed grants can also tide a research program over between increasingly competitive federal grants. A privately funded seed grant can mean the difference between keeping or laying off a promising junior research scientist.

Indeed, as Wilmot scientists continually confront the mysteries of cancer and seek to bring to our patients the best care possible, additional funding can provide the stability they need to focus on cures.

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