The UNITE School of Neurooncology promotes advances in neurooncology through innovative research and concerted education and training.
The UNITE school provides a tailored education program for scientists and physician-scientists in neurooncology research and medicine. Whilst there are strong career pathways and comparatively good funding opportunities for MD or PhD students and PostDocs, the current structure of medical schools and universities does not cover for the later career path of physician-scientists. The UNITE school therefore particularly focuses on recruiting physician-scientists to provide protected research time.
All UNITE fellows are fully integrated into the laboratories, meetings and scientific communications of the responsible departments and groups. Their interdisciplinary research projects aim at the efficient translation of research findings into clinical application. The research focus is on understanding brain tumor biology and overcoming resistance in primary brain tumors by applying high-throughput molecular profiling, radiomics, and bioinformatics. Accompanying education and mentoring programs support and foster the academic development and qualification of all UNITE fellows.
The training and education program of the school encompasses clinical & research training and career development activities within individualized curricula. All UNITE fellows:
- Pursue a 3-4-year interdisciplinary cancer research project mentored by UNITE research groups. The research projects focus on understanding brain tumor biology and overcoming resistance in primary brain tumors by applying high-throughput molecular profiling, radiomics, and bio-informatics.
- Are personally mentored by the work package leaders within a structured mentoring program.
- Are assessed in yearly reviews by the UNITE supervision committees.
- Are supported to submit abstracts and to attend at least 1 (inter)national neurooncology-focused conference per year. For this purpose, travel grants will be competitively granted by the UNITE school.
- Are encouraged to attend a defined number of educational events, i.e. neurooncology focused symposia, lectures on good scientific practice, clinical research and basic cancer biology as well as soft skill and career guidance seminars. An individualized training log will be worked out for all candidates.
Mentoring and Supervision
A dedicated UNITE mentoring and supervision program provides support for all fellows to pursue a career in translational cancer research. All fellows are personally supervised and mentored by their work package leaders.
The UNITE mentoring program is based on individual advice and support from the work package leaders. Mentoring meetings between the work package leaders and fellows are performed at least once a year. They provide a forum to address relevant issues and discuss future steps and career development opportunities. In addition, all fellows are encouraged to attend career guidance seminars to learn about various career options in both academic and industrial sectors.
Within the UNITE supervision program, all fellows are assessed in yearly reviews by the UNITE supervision committees. The committees consist of the work package leaders (mentor 1 and 2), one further UNITE principle investigator (mentor 3) and a PhD representative. The yearly reviews provide a platform to monitor and receive feedback about the progress of their research projects. In prepartation for the review meetings, fellows have to submit a written annual progress report. At the review meetings, fellows are asked to present their achievements of the last 12 months as well as aims and next steps. Mentor 1 will complete the annual UNITE Review Report to document the progress, indicated adjustments and advice.