Over the following half century the EACR has maintained its mission: to support cancer research, by supporting the researchers who play such an important role in fighting cancer. It has grown into a thriving community of over 10,000 cancer researchers, not just from Europe but from over 100 countries across the world.
Working as a community, cancer researchers have been the foundation of so many of the greatest lifesaving breakthroughs of the last 50 years, like the identification of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and the sequencing of genomes that together paved the road to targeted therapies, for example against chronic myeloid leukemia. More recently the knowledge accumulated over decades about how the immune system functions at the molecular level has resulted in effective immunotherapies for cancer patients who previously had no therapeutic options. Basic research also paved the way to new ways to diagnose and monitor cancer non-invasively, using simple blood tests. Very rarely are these breakthroughs made by a ‘lone genius’ – they come about due to the hard work of many scientists, many labs, and many scientific discussions, disagreements, results and replications.
Sometimes a research career can be hard – maybe you feel like you’ve been a postdoc forever, or you’re stuck on your current project, or you spend too much time writing grant proposals. But we know it can also be incredibly rewarding and exciting, especially when you realise that you are a part of something bigger – a global network of scientists all working towards a shared goal. Community is at the heart of the EACR, and a strong, open, cross-border scientific community is important now more than ever.
Over its lifespan the EACR has introduced many activities to support cancer researchers, particularly early-career researchers. Since the introduction in the 1970s of EACR Travel Fellowships, our longest-running and most popular award programme, we’ve provided over half a million Euros to help early career researchers to develop their careers through visiting other labs.
Since the 1970s, when we held our biennial meetings in small university lecture halls, we have now become known as the organiser of some of the world’s best cancer research conferences. Our Congress attracts both expert speakers and thousands of enthusiastic participants eager to share their findings, while the focused small meetings of the EACR Conference Series are praised for their friendly and highly interactive atmosphere as well as for the quality of the science.
Today, with over 10,000 members, the EACR is in a great position to build on our successes and launch ourselves into the next 50 years. Speaking jointly as President and President Elect, but also as cancer researchers and EACR members ourselves, we are proud to be a part of the European Association for Cancer Research and we hope that you are too. We have great plans for the future: we want to help you build the career you deserve in academia and industry; we know more than anyone else that research has no borders and will defend this concept; we will help you to count more, and through the EACR community make your voice heard.
The strength of our community lies in each of its members, and we rely on you to promote the importance of what we do. We strongly encourage all EACR members, at all levels, to share this letter with your colleagues, collaborators and wider networks.
Alberto Bardelli, EACR President 2018-2020 Anton Berns, EACR President 2016-2018
We think cancer researchers should be celebrated!
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