Strategic Plan

The Cancer Research Fund Committee approved the University Cancer Research Fund Strategic Plan. The overall strategic planning process began in May, 2008 with broad input on UCRF goals and directions. In addition to listening sessions held around campus, the strategic planning consultants (AltshulerGray) conducted interviews with 50 key stakeholders, surveyed more than 200 UNC faculty and met with the UNC Lineberger Program Planning Committee.

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Based on the stakeholder interviews the following guiding principles were developed:

  • The UCRF should fund breakthrough innovation and excellence in cancer research, propelling UNC to national and international leadership
  • UCRF research should focus on areas of great concern to the citizens of North Carolina
  • UCRF research should have a real and tangible impact on the health of the state of North Carolina and beyond

A clear set of ground rules was established for determining how UCRF funds should be best spent:

  • Focus major resources on a limited set of opportunities in order to have the greatest impact
  • Fund initiatives where UNC has the opportunity to establish a leadership position
  • Be catalytic, self-sustaining, and provide leverage for additional funding from extramural sources
  • Build fundamental cancer-related research capabilities that benefit UNC research programs
  • Enhance North Carolina’s economy by creating jobs, intellectual property, and start-up companies

At the same time, it was agreed that UCRF funds should not:

  • Invest diffusely in an attempt to make incremental improvements everywhere
  • Provide in perpetuity funding that would limit future flexibility
  • Undermine faculty innovation and competitiveness by eliminating the need for extramural grant funding
  • Substitute for existing university or health system funding or new philanthropy
  • Make expenditures based upon institutional or other needs outside cancer research
  • Negatively impact other research on campus, for example by appropriating shared research infrastructure or resources

As a result of extensive analysis and faculty feedback, including a faculty-wide survey, three interconnected thematic research priorities were identified as key strategic focus areas:

  • Understanding Genetics and its Role in Cancer Causation and Treatment,
  • Developing New Cancer Treatments, and
  • Optimizing NC Cancer Outcomes.

In addition, the UCRF planning process recognized that outstanding clinical cancer research requires an equally strong clinical program that can reach out across the state to share its expertise and research opportunities. The Fund, therefore, should invest in building clinical excellence and outreach by:

  • Recruiting and retaining outstanding clinical investigators
  • Developing the clinical research infrastructure
  • Developing relations across the state through videoconferencing, outreach, and research partnerships