The Gotham Prize for Cancer

According to Reuters, medical researchers got together with hedge fund managers to institute the Gotham Prize for Cancer Research, a new private prize for innovative cancer research.

Announced on its own website, the prize was deemed necessary to stimulate new cancer research and to recognize innovative approaches that may come from outside mainstream scientific research:

Though billions are spent each year on cancer research, promising research and novel ideas may still not receive the support and recognition that they deserve. Research out of the mainstream may not be funded or accepted for publication, while, for competitive reasons, preliminary research and ideas are rarely shared.

In addition, scientists and researchers who do not fit a specialized profile or carry traditional credentials are unlikely to be funded to pursue new theories or follow controversial avenues.

One of the spokesmen for the Prize also faulted federal and institutional funding of research:

Federal funding of cancer research has been flat, and is in fact lower than in recent years when inflation is taken into account, said Dr. Gary Curhan of Harvard Medical School. And the system of seeking grants — money to do research — is based around pleasing either National Institutes of Health supervisors or gatekeepers at the advocacy organizations that pay for research on specific types of cancer, he said.

We’re glad to see more private prizes to stimulate innovation — here’s a previous post about the X-prize. And about an African leadership prize.