The survey response rate was 77%, with 119 respondents completing it from 46 different countries. The vast majority of fellows work in hospitals, treatment centres and research institutes, and are cancer professionals and/or clinicians, with the majority working in the fields of cancer biology, early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
90% of fellows were awarded an ICRETT fellowships (now known as Technical fellowships), with the remainder receiving YY Study grants, ACSBI fellowship and Chinese Fellowships. The main reasons for their applying included UICC’s reputation and the opportunity to be mentored by a renowned host supervisor, as well as the wide range of possible cancer control learning and training opportunities.
Over 57% of respondents rated the training they received during their fellowship visits as “extremely effective” and 79% found the host institution working environment “extremely positive”. Challenges experienced by fellows during their visits included the perceived short duration of one month to achieve all the objectives in addition to the language barrier.
97% of fellows were still in contact with their host supervisors one year after their fellowship, with 28% having already co-authored a journal publication with them. Over 85% of fellows estimated that their skills in cancer control had improved “a lot” or “a great deal” thanks to the fellowship training.
Upon returning home, several fellows launched new initiatives in cancer control, such as the setting up of a new cervical cancer screening program, the founding of a national cancer society and the organisation of a conference with the host supervisor as an invited speaker. 72% of fellows were able to apply the skills they learned on their fellowship “extremely or very effectively”, and only 9% “slightly effectively”.
Fellows desseminated the knowledge learned by giving presentations to members of their home organisation, organizing workshops and giving personal demonstrations. Over 43% of fellows established new collaborations in their country, 45% experienced professional growth and 27% increased their supervision of students “a great deal” as a result of their fellowship.
Over 90% of fellows would like to apply for another fellowship themselves and would recommend it to their colleagues, indeed over 25% of the fellows surveyed applied in the first place because other fellows had recommended the programme to them.
The majority of fellows were satisfied with their fellowship experience, and have been able to apply the knowledge gained and disseminated it to colleagues at their institutions. 92% of all respondents found the Fellowship experience to be a unique opportunity for international training. Fellowships have resulted in long term collaborations and have allowed fellows professional growth. Overall, the UICC fellowship programme is successful in providing successful knowledge transfer to cancer professionals.
In 2013, over 600 Fellows were surveyed to measure the perceived impacts of their fellowship experience regarding research capacity, skills, knowledge and professional influence. An evaluation of the impact of the fellowships programme, based on this survey, was conducted by UICC Fellowship Chairs Prof. Nicol Keith, Dr Robert Jones and Prof. Marie Chow with support from UICC office.
The survey spanned years 1997- 2010 and over 600 Fellows reported on the perceived impact of the Fellowship on their research capacity, skills/knowledge & professional influence levels. Furthermore the role of the Home and Host environment in training was assessed. UICC has a range of Fellowship schemes. These can be viewed as a portfolio and the evaluation to date highlights the power of the portfolio as each has unique features which together deliver training relevant to gaps in skills and knowledge.
The following map displays a geographical representation of survey respondents.
Key Findings UICC Fellowship scheme operates across all areas of common scientific interest in cancer research
Home Institutes benefit through:
UICC Fellows come from around the globe and work in all areas of cancer research. As a result of their Fellowship, grantees mentioned that they have increased knowledge, an expanded professional network and that their new skills are valued by their Home Institute. 92% of all respondents find the Fellowship experience is a unique opportunity for international training and 81% were extremely satisfied (16% moderately) with the Fellowship experience. The main reasons for applying are the international scope and the wide range of skills/advanced training in experimental methods or special techniques supported. 50% mentioned that their knowledge increased greatly, and 41% a lot. 84% of ACSBI, 73% of YY and 38% of ICRETT fellows mention that they have published with their host supervisor. Regarding ICRETT, 97% mentioned that technology/skills transfer fellowships were either extremely or very useful. 98% reported they were very or extremely likely to recommend the fellowship to others.