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DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

The absence of a control group and appropriate benchmarks makes assessment of the Damon Runyon fellowship’s impact on the careers of awardees impossible. However, the survey did provide a wealth of new information about the accomplishments of former fellows and trends in postdoctoral training over time. The foundation considered four findings from the survey to be positive indicators of the program’s value:

  • a strong commitment to research (96 percent of survey respondents stayed in research),

  • a high success rate in competing for subsequent funding (90 percent of appropriate survey respondents had obtained an R01 or R29),

  • a high degree of participation in cancer relevant research (83 percent of survey respondents are engaged in cancer research), and

  • the strong perception by recipients that the fellowship had a positive impact on their careers.

Additional value was provided by the responses to several open-ended questions about fellowship recipients’ decision to pursue cancer research, contributions to their field, and involvement in the development of cancer therapeutics. Although the voluminous nature of this information precluded any efforts to summarize or present the material effectively, the material did provide useful quotes for foundation publications and enabled a more complete assessment of each individual’s experience.



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