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Industry-related research

The Task Force on Industry–Related Research was constructed in order to formulate recommendations regarding the policy and guidelines that should govern the conduct of the Canadian Cancer Society when reviewing and supporting cancer research in which the research itself, the investigator or the context in which the work is carried out has, or may develop, a commercial interest. Such instances are likely to increase in frequency with the growth of industrial support for biomedical and other research and the burgeoning programs for joint action between government agencies, research entities and commercial ventures. The Task Force strongly believes that such activities are to be encouraged: the successful application of basic discoveries (to yield benefits for all) will in many cases require the participation of the corporate sector.

This mix between industry and academia, however desirable, also has the potential to generate conflicts of interests that may undermine the manner in which research is conducted, communicated or viewed by members of the public. These situations require special attention for funding agencies such as the Canadian Cancer Society whose mission is centered on the support of high-quality cancer research. Unlike those of Federal Government agencies, for example, the mission and mandate of the Canadian Cancer Society do not include providing seed money for commercial ventures, creating employment opportunities in the private sector, or facilitating technology transfer to the private sector. Furthermore, since the Canadian Cancer Society's revenues derive completely from charitable donations, there is accountability to the Canadian public.

It was the goal of this Task Force to provide recommendations that are consonant with all of the following:

  • the Mission Statement of the Canadian Cancer Society
  • the values and principles that anchor that Mission Statement
  • the sensitivities specific to a not-for-profit charitable-based organization
  • the spirit of investigator-driven, peer-reviewed research of the highest quality
  • the desire for investigators (and their Host Institutions) to forge interactions and partnerships with the for-profit sector

Based on the recommendations of the Task Force, the following policy statement on industry-related research has been approved:

  • As is the case with all Canadian Cancer Society supported research, a Host Institution must take full responsibility for the conduct of the research being funded, according to all existing Canadian Cancer Society policies. These include, but are not limited to, maintaining integrity in research and scholarship, full ethical review and surveillance, compliance with accepted biohazard and animal care regulations and full financial accounting and control.
  • For-profit organizations are not eligible to be Host Institutions for grant applications to the Canadian Cancer Society.
  • The Principal Investigator on any Research Grant or Program Project Grant administered by the Canadian Cancer Society must be based in, or be formally affiliated with (but not necessarily receive salary support from), a Canadian Host Institution which will take responsibility described above, for the duration of the funding period.
  • Research may be performed at the collected premises of the Host Institution, but also at any other locations as needed or as appropriate for the efficient conduct of the research. This includes the facilities of a for-profit organization, subject to the provisions above.
  • The Canadian Cancer Society reaffirms that it does not wish to own or have a vested interest in Intellectual Property (IP) which may emanate from any of the research projects it is supporting. Neither does the Canadian Cancer Society wish to dictate terms to Host Institutions as to how they handle such IP. The Canadian Cancer Society does, however, continue to insist that the Host Institution have a clear policy regarding IP, such policy to be in force at the time any award is made. Note, however, that it is the intent of the Canadian Cancer Society that the primary objective of funded research must not be the promotion of commercial interests.
  • Full disclosure of any existing or intended funding of the applicant’s research and any agreements that pertain to that research, by any other source, whether not-for-profit or for-profit, must be made by the applicants to the Canadian Cancer Society to support any application for research. The details and mechanism of such disclosure must be sufficient to allow the Canadian Cancer Society to make a determination of the amount of overlap, if any, with projects being submitted for support. Moreover, during the period of a Canadian Cancer Society grant, any changes in funding status that pertain to overlap are to be disclosed to the Canadian Cancer Society. The Canadian Cancer Society is prepared to have such disclosure made to a limited group of its senior officials, under an agreement of confidentiality, if necessary, to protect the rights of third parties.
  • It is the policy of the Canadian Cancer Society that investigators should be free to disseminate advances arising from its funded research to other researchers, practitioners, policy makers and the public without undue delay.

Last modified on: October 20, 2017