Transplant Research, Funding, and the AST Research Network: An Overview
Research is one of the AST’s core pillars, and the Society strives to offer increased funding opportunities to transplant scientists each year. In our diverse Society, many members outside of transplant science may not be aware of these efforts, so I encourage you to check out the AST Research Network and our current grant opportunities.
I’ve invited Dr. Jonathan Maltzman to write a guest blog post on transplant research, funding, and the AST Research Network to discuss this further.
Transplantation research is one of the foremost pillars of the AST. Since 1995, with the help of our partners and donors, the AST has awarded over $14 million to more than 200 outstanding basic, translational, and clinical scientists. This support has proven to be instrumental for the grant recipients. Of those who responded to a recent survey, greater than 90% say are still involved in research and credit their AST grant with having had a significant impact on their career.
The AST has supported transformative, multidisciplinary transplantation and immunology research since its founding and the Society has taken additional steps over the past 8 years to ensure continued funding. In 2014, the AST established the Transplantation and Immunology Research Network, now the AST Research Network, as the society’s mechanism for identifying, funding, and providing ongoing support to the most innovative research.
However, by 2019, the AST Board of Directors recognized that grant funding by our partners had dipped drastically, significantly decreasing the number of qualified individual researchers we were able to fund. In response, the AST Board made the decision to insure awarding at least $300,000 toward career development awards for fellows and faculty and has subsequently revised that the original commitment so that no matter what additional funding is received, $300,000 out of every annual budget will be allocated to research initiatives. The Board will reassess this commitment every three years and adjust the budget as resources permit.
In addition to this annual commitment and despite all of the uncertainty during the past 12 months, donations from our members and giving from our partners have risen substantially. These dollars have funded not only our traditional career development portfolio but also several topically directed grants available to both junior and senior investigators. Because of this multi-pronged effort, we have quadrupled our research giving from $225,000 in 2019 to OVER A MILLION dollars in 2021!
The AST is committed to continuing to support all areas of transplantation research in our attempt to develop new therapeutic approaches that are safer and more effective, develop new diagnostics to personalize therapy, improve equitable access and improve transplant and patient survival. With our partners, donors, and you, the future of transplantation is bright.