Ten million euros for cancer research07/04/2018
The German Cancer Aid will set up one of five Mildred Scheel Junior Research Centers in Würzburg. The center aims to provide ideal working conditions for young cancer researchers.
Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne/Bonn and Würzburg – These five cities will soon enable young researchers to contribute to keeping cancer research in Germany competitive in the future. The German Cancer Aid will establish its new Mildred Scheel Junior Research Centers in these cities. Each will be funded with ten million euros over the next five years, as the non-profit organization announced on 4 July 2018 at its annual press conference in Berlin. According to the press release, the initiative is set to counteract the severe lack of young cancer researchers.
In Würzburg, the Mildred Scheel Junior Research Center will be coordinated by the Medical Department of the University of Würzburg. The application was masterminded by Professor Martin Eilers, a cancer researcher at the Biocenter of the University of Würzburg. He expects the first research groups of the new center to start working in autumn 2018.
Center aims to encourage work-life balance
The new junior research centers (27 applications had been submitted from all over Germany) seek to provide talented young researchers ideal working conditions and allow them to achieve a good work-life balance.
To accomplish this, highly flexible working hour schemes will be introduced according to Eilers. Moreover, the researchers are exempted from any other obligations in hospital and teaching. He says that the center could use the funds from the German Cancer Aid among others to finance childcare during holidays or conference trips.
Groups share common research question
"We want to establish up to eight research projects and groups with 35 members in total," Eilers says. One priority is to have young talented researchers from natural sciences and medical disciplines research collaboratively.
The groups will work together under one roof on the medical campus in Grombühl. They will all tackle one research question: How do tumour cells manage to hide actively from the immune system? And how can the immune system be put back in charge? It is hoped that answering these questions will bring further progress in treating cancer.
Excellent research environment in Würzburg
Würzburg provides an excellent environment for the Mildred Scheel Junior Research Center: Several groups at the Biocenter and at the Rudolf Virchow Center are conducting research on deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying tumour genesis. The recently established Max Planck Research Groups have specialized in systems immunology. Moreover, work groups of the Medical Clinic and Policlinic II, the Dermatological Clinic, the Gynaecological Clinic and of the Paediatric Clinic of the Würzburg University Hospital are developing new immunotherapy strategies. The Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research also studies questions which are closely related methodically.
The new junior research centers are named after Mildred Scheel (1931-1985), a German physician. She founded the German Cancer Aid in 1974.