“Most advocates always have important and significant information to convey. They may not know the science, but they remind us all of what our end point should be.”
- Generally, CBCRP's year 2000 reviewers agreed with CBCRP's approach
to funding breast cancer research including:
- Current priority areas
- Current award types
- Current scoring procedures ( i.e., scoring elements separately, topics)
- Inclusion of Advocate reviewers in the process.
- There was no clear mandate about new directions for the CBCRP. Reviewers
have diverse opinions about what priority issues:
- Deserve more funding o Deserve less funding o Are adequately funded
- Will have the most impact on breast cancer in the future.
- There is some evidence that breast cancer advocates and scientist reviewers have different ideas about which award types will contribute the most to defeating breast cancer over the next 5-10 years. The advocates valued collaborative research while the scientists valued traditional R-01 type research.
- Breast cancer advocates play an important role in the peer review process. Both breast cancer advocates and scientist reviewers highly value the inclusion of advocates in the review process. The advocates valued the opportunity to learn about breast cancer research and have an intimate influence on grant funding decisions. Many of the scientists felt that the advocates' presence helped them to remain focussed on the human side of breast cancer research.
Uses of this Report
- Both the qualitative and the quantitative data gathered from this study will go to our advisory council to inform future decisions about evaluation efforts, priority setting, and award types.
- Lessons learned from the process of collecting data using focus groups and written questionnaires with reviewers will help inform future evaluation efforts conducted by staff.
- The data gathered will add to increasing information available to the public about how to improve CBCRP's grantmaking and the impact of our efforts.
Role of Breast Cancer Advocates
Respondents expressed overwhelming support for the inclusion of breast cancer advocates participating in the peer review process. Many of the scientists said that the advocates provided a much need presence and helped to keep the committee focussed on the human side of the research proposals they reviewed. Many advocates expressed enthusiasm for CBCRP's program and said they learned a tremendous amount as a result of their participation in the review committees. While most scientists support full participation from the advocates, one said that their input should be kept in “proper perspective” and another suggested that the advocates have little say on technical merit but full input on the rest of the review.