In 2019, the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) embarked on an initiative to support world-class academic investigators who have made notable contributions to immunotherapy and have the greatest potential to propel the field forward. This program, the CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR Program—Scientists Taking Risks—provides long-term funding to mid-career scientists, giving them the freedom and flexibility to pursue high-risk, high-reward research at the forefront of discovery and innovation.
Rooted in CRI’s exceptional track record of identifying and supporting people who have had a major impact in immunotherapy, these new grants are not tied to a specific research project, but rather support outstanding researchers based on the quality and promise of their overall work. The Lloyd J. Old STAR program provides up to $1.25 million over a five-year period to tenure-track assistant professors (minimum 3 years) and associate professors (maximum 3 years).
Meet the inaugural CRI Lloyd J. Old STARs
Named for CRI's founding scientific and medical director, whose vision and expertise guided CRI's programs for forty years, earning him the title "Father of Modern Tumor Immunology," the CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR Program supports today's scientific visionaries.
Candidates selected for this award are expected to be the future leaders in the field of cancer immunotherapy, and this sustained funding will enable them to carry out transformational research. Because the funds are not restricted to a particular project, the award allows the recipients to follow new and promising lines of investigation, which often lead to unanticipated scientific breakthroughs. This long-term funding provides a degree of flexibility and freedom to explore out-of-the-box and disruptive avenues of research.
The profile of a recipient investigator would be a scientist who takes risks with the expectation of high rewards, even in the face of potential failure. They will use their expertise, scientific acumen, and visionary curiosity to ask important, significant, and often non-obvious immunological questions. They will be the rare researcher who connects disparate pieces of discoveries, often from multiple disciplines, to develop and test new hypotheses that lead to step changes in our understanding and innovation to the field of cancer immunotherapy.
It is expected that their discoveries in basic or translational research will ultimately influence the development of new immune-based therapies that will be effective for more cancer patients. CRI Lloyd J. Old STARs will be at the forefront of discovery and innovation and will be viewed as the leaders in scientific thought and invention.
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