On Friday 8 April 2022, FHMRI Cancer research leaders, consumers and partners met in person at the Flinders at Victoria Square campus to take initial steps to develop a cancer research strategy for the Flinders Precinct. This event was the first of a number of planned events in 2022 for the FHMRI Cancer Program, as we work to collectively develop and implement a cancer research strategy for the Flinders Precinct. A full summary of the day is being prepared to communicate the priorities and actions, but below is a short summary.
The day started with an overview of FHMRI and the contribution of cancer research within FHMRI by the FHMRI Director, Prof Peter Eastwood.
This was followed by one of our consumers, Shona Edwards sharing her cancer journey with us; the challenges for patients to access and coordinate their treatment and recovery, being traumatised by treatment and why she doesn’t identify as a ‘survivor’.
A/Prof Michael Michael, FHMRI Cancer Program Lead, then introduced speakers who had been invited to present on some successes within the FHMRI Cancer Program. The purpose of this session was to identify where FHMRI Cancer fits within the research landscape, highlight areas of strength, identify opportunities and share what FHMRI Cancer needs to build additional capacity in these areas. We heard from Prof Bogda Koczwara (Survivorship), Prof Chris Karapetis (Clinical Trials), Prof Billie Bonevski (Public Health), Prof Michael Sorich (Big Data and Machine Learning) and A/Prof Luke Selth (Cancer Biology).
After lunch, the group reconvened to watch a presentation by Prof Geraint Rogers on building capacity for MRFF support, sharing tips on how to bring a team together for a successful multidisciplinary application. Then we jumped straight into the first workshop, breaking into groups to harness the major questions in cancer research. What are the questions we can address and the opportunities for addressing them? Stepping away for afternoon tea, individuals then voted on which opportunities they see as key priorities or areas they would like to be involved in.
We then welcomed our consumers, Chris Trethewey, Co-Chair of the FHMRI Consumer Advisory Board and Shona Edwards, along with Dr Jean Winter for our Consumer Engagement Panel. This was an opportunity to to discuss how we can best engage with consumers and build strong relationships to work together more efficiently, a very engaging session. Ending the afternoon was a group workshop looking at infrastructure, bottlenecks, resourcing priorities and support from FHMRI. Many then capped off the busy day with a social gathering.
We expect to follow this initial meeting with both a subsequent planning meeting, to which all cancer researchers will be invited, and their ideas sought. We will also hold an E/MCR Symposium to hear from our valued young researchers, with a view to better supporting them and their aspirations.
For Friday’s event, we are indebted to the planning committee and especially Brooke Williamson, Evelyn Bennett and Jacqueline Morey for organising the event…. and hurdling the obstacles presented by these challenging times. Also, huge thanks to Dr Rebecca Keough, Institute Manager (FHMRI) for stepping in at the last minute to facilitate the afternoon, as unfortunately Sally Wheldrake was unable to attend.
Click here to access FHMRI Cancer Retreat 2022_Booklet pdf , containing program for the day, invitees, and some of the international priorities in cancer research.
Michael and Brooke,
On behalf of the planning committee