Rules & Regulations

Download a PDF of the Rules & Regulations here

1. The Grant:

Although the prognosis of patients with blood cancer such as multiple myeloma, types of lymphoma or leukemia has improved substantially over the last decade, many remain incurable and are associated with severe morbidity and increased mortality. SAKK’s HEM Pioneer Grant is funded by Celgene and aims to support projects and research that could potentially pave the way for a game changing outcome in the field of blood cancers.

Impactful discoveries are often the result of pioneering work in research areas with limited evidence. Therefore, the potential magnitude of impact of projects shall weight more than the likelihood of success assessed on the current basis of evidence. In other words, the grant shall foster explorative projects and research in rather uncharted waters that potentially offers significant advances for patients or subgroups of patients suffering from blood cancer.

The grant is endowed with CHF 50’000.- and recurring on an annual basis. It is announced at the SAKK semi-annual meeting in November and is awarded at the Swiss Oncology and Hematology Congress (SOHC) in June.

2. Eligible Projects:

Eligible projects should intend to pave the way for a potentially game-changing impact in the field of hemato-oncological diseases including their premalignancies.

Projects shall have a research character and may include, but are not limited to:

  • prospective clinical research
  • translational research
  • registry, database or “Big Data” research
  • novel patient care models
  • supportive care
  • assessment tools

Note that no basic science projects will be considered for evaluation.

Aspects under investigation might be related to, but are not limited to:

  • treatment approaches and methodological aspects
  • mode of action of drugs/treatments
  • mode of disease
  • enhancement of interdisciplinary communication and collaboration between oncologists, hematologists, nursing staff, patients, relatives, etc.
  • psychological and social aspects

Eligible projects shall be conducted mainly in Switzerland, can be planned or ongoing, and might be even a part of a larger trial, research or project. In the latter case, the submitted project must contribute to a substantial part of an overarching research project.

In the case that the submitted project is a clinical trial or part of it, the execution shall not be dependent on study drugs whose access is not yet approved/secured. If such trials include commercially available drugs in approved or unapproved indications, only a minor and non-substantial amount of the grant may be used for clinical drug funding. This rule is explicitly not applicable for translational research.

3. Eligible Applicants:

Practicing physicians, researchers and professionals in patient care institutions/societies may apply for the HEM Pioneer Grant. Applicants must have a primary place of business in Switzerland and must finance their project via an institutional banking account. Grant payments will not be paid to private accounts.

4. Application Process and Timelines:

Applications must be submitted electronically via this webpage. Only complete submissions can be considered. Please refer to application page on the mentioned website for all requirements. Briefly, your application must:

  • be written in English language
  • include project title, rationale/background, aim of the project and how this may have a significant impact in the studied blood cancer type
  • include a detailed description of the project encompassing the project plan, methodology incl. statistical methods (if applicable), timelines/duration of the project, financial plan.

CVs of all applicants must be included.

The application window opens with the official announcement of the award at the semi-annual SAKK meeting in November and closes on April 30th of the subsequent year (~5 months).

5. Jury:

The jury acts and decides independently on the proposals and is composed of three individuals:

  • SAKK chairperson of the jury with 1 vote
  • Medical oncologist or hematologist from Swiss university hospital or large institution, member of the jury, 1 vote
  • Member of the Swiss Society of Hematology (SGH/SSH), 1 vote

For each grant period of 1 year, the SAKK president appoints the members of the jury.

Each jury member has one vote per project to score the proposals. The winning project is selected based on the scoring sum of a project.  In case of a draw, i.e. a consensus cannot be reached, the chairperson has the final decision.

If a jury member encounters a conflict of interest, i.e. is directly or indirectly participating in a submitted project, the jury member is not allowed to vote on this very project.

6. Criteria for Project Evaluation:

Project proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria, each graded from 1 (worst) to 6 (best):

  • Estimated magnitude of impact in the field of the respective blood cancer type
  • Robustness of project and financial plans

7. Notification of the Winner, Grant Ceremony and Follow-Up

Notification and grant ceremony
All applicant(s) will be notified in writing by the SAKK typically within 3-4 weeks after the application deadline.

The grant winner will be announced at the annual SOHC and will be requested to present a short exposé on the planned project/research. Further announcements may follow in the SwissCancer Bulletin, the first SAKK newsletter after the grant ceremony and on this website.

Bank transfer of the grant sum to the grant winner will be accomplished by the SAKK within 2 months after the grant ceremony. Payments will only be processed to institutional bank account holders. The grant winner is obliged to inform the SAKK in case of a job change that includes the change of the current institution. In the latter case, any residual grant money has to be transferred within 30 days to the institution at which the grant winner is newly employed.

The grant winner must provide a brief update on the progress or the final results of the project at the next SOHC or the semi-annual SAKK meeting in summer. The winner must further provide a written summary of the project no later than 2 years after the grant ceremony. The written summary is sent to a coordinating person of the SAKK, will be forwarded to the jury president and shall be published by the grant winner. The coordinating person at the SAKK will be nominated before and/or during the call of the grant.

8. Contact details

Questions about this grant can be addressed to:

Flurina Hoffmann
SAKK Coordinating Center
«HEM Pioneer Grant»
Effingerstrasse 33
3008 Bern
Tel +41 31 508 41 75