Since 1967, IARC’s learning and capacity-building activities have made a substantial contribution to the development of human resources for cancer research in many countries. The two main areas of activity are capacity-building through:
- fellowships and through young scientists’ participation in collaborative research projects
- the provision of training courses, increasingly through remote and e-learning means
Learning and capacity-building activities are expected to continue to inspire and shape IARC’s research portfolio, to further broaden the Agency’s network of collaborators, and to promote IARC as an international cancer research organization.
IARC’s capacity-building activities were restructured in 2005, with the goal of ensuring that IARC’s resources were devoted to providing a unique contribution to training in cancer research. As a result, IARC Fellowships have been uniquely tenable at the Agency since 2005, and target scientists from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) or those with research projects relevant to these countries. Previously, the Agency’s resources were primarily focused on one Summer School on Cancer Epidemiology held every year at IARC. Increasingly however, Groups in the Agency have organized courses specific to their research programmes, mainly using extra-budgetary funding.
Recognizing the importance of education and training activities as part of the Agency’s mission, the Education and Training Group (ETR) was established as a distinct structure within the Director’s Office in 2010 with the mission to coordinate the various IARC training initiatives and promote them both internally and externally. In 2021, the Education and Training Group (ETR) was restructured to become the Learning and Capacity Building Branch (LCB) within the Pillar IV Knowledge Mobilization of the Agency in order to further strengthen its coordinating role of IARC’s various training initiatives and activities. The specific aims of the Learning and Capacity Building Branch are the following:
- To strengthen global knowledge as well as global and national capacities for cancer research and science
- To strengthen professional skills of cancer scientists and researchers in: surveillance of cancer, understanding of the evidence of causes, interpreting evidence with regard to national settings, and the design and implementation of effective, quality-assured, and affordable interventions
The major approaches/areas of activity of the Learning and Capacity Building Branch (LCB) are:
- Provision of mentored training to researchers at different levels of their career, through collaborative research projects, exposure to field studies, and laboratory work – IARC Research Training and Fellowship Programme
- Supporting the lifelong learning of researchers and health professionals – IARC Courses Programme
- Coordination of IARC training in scientific units