Welsh Government

Access to patient Samples for Translational Research Award (ASTRA)

13 December 2017

The Wales Cancer Research Centre has launched its Access to patient Samples for Translational Research Award (ASTRA).

This innovative funding stream is open to all cancer researchers in Wales, irrespective of field of study, seniority and geographical location. They have introduced the awards to build research capacity based around biological samples. They will award funds for access to and analysis of samples from Welsh cancer biobanks. These include, but are not limited to, those sourced through the Wales Cancer Bank (WCB). 

The awards will support researchers in delivering world-class outputs and projects which deliver the greatest impact from cancer patients’ donations. Cancer researchers in Wales are invited to apply for awards on a competitive basis. They conduct our work across four themes: Pre-Clinical, Translational, Clinical, and Community research. They would like the awards to reflect this broad working, across the full spectrum of cancer research and they hope the awards will maximise future benefits for cancer patients in Wales and beyond. 

There will be a minimum of three calls to apply for the awards over the next eighteen months, with the first call deadline being 14 Feb 2018. The likely value of each award will be in the region of £3,000 to £15,000. Awards are primarily intended to cover costs associated with various aspects of the usage of donated samples, which include:

  • Patient consent, collection and processing of samples
  • Linkage of clinical and research data
  • Molecular analysis

Funding cannot cover salary costs. Costs associated with sample collection and linkage with data from the Wales Cancer Bank are provided with the application form. These costs are in line with Cardiff University Biobanking, Biobanking Wales, and other UK Biobanks. The WCB is also able to provide bespoke sample collections, including longitudinal sampling, fresh and frozen tissues, bloods, saliva, DNA and RNA. 

They encourage applicants to ascertain sample availability prior to submitting their project proposal. If using the Wales Cancer Bank for your samples, please contact them to ensure they can provide the samples needed.
Applications from collaborative projects (including but not limited to the Wales Cancer Partnership’s MDRGs), activity that makes the best use of individual samples and/or the collection(s) as a whole, and/or former WCB Pilot Projects are also encouraged. Projects should be aligned to the priorities of the Wales Cancer Research Centre, which is funded by Health and Care Research Wales. 
Click here to download the application form. Completed applications should be submitted to wcrc@cardiff.ac.uk by 17:00pm on 14 Feb 2018. They will announce the first successful bids on 7 March 2018, with a view to projects starting on 1 April 2018Applicants will be judged by an expert panel on scientific merit, feasibility of sample access, and potential future patient impact. Project applications should include an expected completion date but must be completed before 1 April 2020. Successful applicants should submit a report outlining the results of the project within one month of the completion date.
If unsuccessful this round, the panel will return feedback to the applicants with the view to inviting resubmissions to the next round.
Please help them in their goal to promote translational research through sample dissemination throughout Wales, by passing this communication on to any colleagues for whom the call might also be appropriate. If you have any questions, please contact Jo Baker on wcrc@cardiff.ac.uk.

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