Research support and career enhancement in hematology

Shalini Roy Choudhury

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) Global Research Award is a career-development award open to early-career scientists and doctors working globally in the field of hematology. It supports their research careers during transitioning from training to independent leadership roles in hematology. The deadline for this year’s application is 31 August 2021.

ASH Bridge

Since its inception in 1958, the American Society of Hematology (ASH) has been pivotal in developing hematology as a discipline of scientific and clinical importance. As blood disorders plague millions around the world with some of the most serious unmet medical needs, ASH established the ASH Global Research Award in 2018 to nurture future leaders in the field of hematology through global collaborative research.

The ASH Global Research Award supports early-career scientists and doctors in the field of hematology during the progression between their training and establishing independent careers.

Neeraj Jain, the first Indian recipient of this award in 2020 and a Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellow at CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, shares his insights on the intricacies of this award. He says, First, the award prioritizes a project’s novelty, whether it is doable at an applicant’s institute and home country, and if the desired resources are available. Second, ASH examines the applicant’s candidature to undertake the proposed project. I am presently trying to identify molecular signatures in Indian B‑cell lymphoma patients. In my case, ASH had expressed concerns if I will have sufficient clinical samples for my work and what is my alternative plan if my project does not go as expected.”

The ASH Global Research Award is a career-development award that supports the awardees and not the institutions they work at — Neeraj Jain

The award is open to applicants around the world except for US and Canadian citizens (who are eligible only upon fulfillment of specific criteria) and investigators employed by pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. An applicant must have an MD, PhD or MD-PhD. At the time of application, MD and MD-PhD applicants must be within 16 years of MD graduation, and PhD graduates must have at least one year and not more than 10 years of postdoctoral experience.

The award tenure can last anywhere between six to thirty six months. For projects of up to 12 months and those exceeding that, applicants can request up to $100,000 and $150,000 respectively. The award supports projects and mentorship in basic or translational research, patient-oriented clinical research, outcomes-based research and clinical trials. Applicants may propose support for instruments, manpower, consumables and other essentials for their research.

The electronic application occurs in two steps: (1) Submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) and (2) Selected candidates are invited to submit a full proposal.

For the LOI, applicants need to submit a narrative of the proposed project, initial plans of the mentorship team, funding amount, project timeline, applicant’s career details and plans, and curriculum vitae. Vonnie Calemine, Awards Program Manager at ASH says, The LOI should be thorough and well thought out. It is important to emphasize what impact this project will have on science, regional health and the applicant’s career. If a person is invited to submit the full application, we highly recommend creating it with the assistance of their local and global mentors, since not all full applications are funded.”

In order to apply, the applicants must have a local mentor in their country of residence and a global mentor outside their country of residence, one of whom must be an ASH Active or International member. ASH also helps invited applicants for the second step, to identify mentors if they have not already done so.

About the award, Neeraj says, the ASH Global Research Award is a career-development award that supports the awardees and not the institutions they work at. He adds that projects with novelty that propose to answer broad confounding questions in blood disorders including blood cancers and other associated genetic diseases have higher chances at being successful.

The deadline for this year’s Letter of Intent call is 31 August 2021.