NETRF’s Commitment to Excellence in Research Funding

At NETRF, our mission is to fund research that holds promise for advancing the understanding and treatment of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs). This is a commitment we do not take lightly: we understand that behind every research project we fund, there are individuals and families hoping for breakthroughs. Our dedication to transparency, integrity, and excellence drives our research grant review and approval process, a cornerstone of our efforts to ensure that we support the most impactful science. Here, we offer an inside look at the rigorous journey each grant proposal undergoes before funding is awarded.

  1. Cast a Wide Net through the Request for Applications

NETRF requests grant applications once per year from the research community in what is called the Request for Applications (RFA) process. The RFA casts a wide net to solicit applications globally across different types of NEN research so that we can source a wide variety of scientific ideas. The RFA is composed of two stages, where first, letters of intent (LOIs) are submitted by researchers explaining the aims of their project, why the research is important, and how it fits within the scope of the Foundation mission. The second stage involves NETRF inviting a subset of LOIs to submit full applications.

In the current 2024 grant cycle, LOIs were due March 18, 2024. We are very pleased with the innovation and breadth of the submissions, and in total, we received 33% more LOIs than in 2023! The LOIs are currently out for review with our scientific reviewers.

  1. External Expert Reviewers

Our Board of Scientific Advisors, along with additional external scientific reviewers, are experts in NEN research and make up the scientific review board. They conduct thorough evaluations of each application. These reviewers bring invaluable insights and a breadth of knowledge to the table, ensuring that every grant proposal is assessed with the utmost expertise.

  1. A Rigorous Peer Review Process

At the heart of our research program lies a robust peer review process designed to evaluate and score grant proposals. LOIs are reviewed first, and then those likely to be most impactful are invited to submit a full application. The full applications are then reviewed in a second review. Both LOIs and full applications are discussed on a review call as well to ensure that every project we consider for funding meets the highest standards of scientific excellence and has the potential to significantly impact NEN research.

  1. Focus on Scientific Excellence

Proposals are scored based on their scientific merit, with the review board considering criteria such as the significance of the research question, the feasibility of the proposed methods, and the potential impact on neuroendocrine cancer patients. Our aim is to fund research that not only advances scientific knowledge but also has a pathway to contributing to improved outcomes for patients.

  1. Ensuring Integrity: Conflict of Interest Management

Integrity in the review process is non-negotiable. To manage any potential conflict of interest, reviewers are screened, and any found to have a direct or indirect conflict with a proposal are recused. This step is crucial in maintaining an unbiased and fair evaluation process. Moreover, all reviewers are required to sign a confidentiality and conflict-of-interest statement, reinforcing our commitment to a process grounded in integrity.

  1. Grant Approval: A Mission-Driven Decision

The final step in our funding process involves the NETRF Board of Directors, who approve grants for funding based on recommendations from the review process through our Board of Scientific Advisors and our NETRF Research Committee of the Board of Directors. In making these decisions, the Board focuses on the alignment of the proposed research with NETRF’s mission and the potential of the research to make a significant impact. Additionally, the availability of funds is a practical consideration, underscoring the importance of our donors’ support in enabling groundbreaking research.

Our Pledge: Funding the Best Science

At NETRF, we are committed to funding the best science possible. Through our rigorous review process, we ensure that every dollar invested in research is directed toward studies with the highest potential to advance our understanding of NENs and improve patient outcomes. This commitment is at the core of our mission, guiding us as we work toward a future where neuroendocrine cancers are no longer a challenge to diagnose, treat, and overcome.

We invite our community of supporters, researchers, and advocates to join us in this vital mission. Together, we can accelerate progress and bring hope to those affected by neuroendocrine cancer.