Despite ample opportunities in urological research there is a lack of sustained interest from promising urologists which leads to a gap that could slow down the development or delay awaited progress in urology that are expected by many.
“There is a low number of grant applications in urological research in several European countries compared to other disciplines. Moreover, there is insufficient participation in European Union (EU) research activities,” said Prof. Zoran Culig, former chairman of the EAU Section of Urological Research and professor of Molecular Pathology at Innsbruck Medical University, Austria.
Culig spoke at the 16th Central European Meeting (CEM16) held in Vienna where he gave an overview of the opportunities in urological research across Europe and assessed the current state of both clinical and translational studies conducted by urological researchers.
“A key or important topic is urological oncology and there opportunities for research in prostate, bladder and renal cancers,” he said as noted that it is important for researchers and potential scholars to establish a network.
Asked what he thinks could be the reasons for the low interest, Culig said many young researchers have not established the proper links and connections.
“Many are not well-connected and they don’t get in contact with the right people. Guidance is certainly needed for them to link up with their peers,” he said.
Among the research areas that Culig has identified as “critical issues” are those in androgen and androgen receptor signaling, development of novel tumor models, new models for imaging and experimental therapieas. Saying that translational researchers are required in these fields, he said discovering numerous targets, for instance, need sufficient numbers of translational research.
He advised potential researchers to be part of a larger group and collaborate with other specialists such as pathologists and avoid “fragmentation” in their work since laboratory development is a long-term process.
“One should actively apply for scholarships such as those offered by national societies, the EAU and grant agencies. Attending meetings of specialized societies (research, pathology) are also helpful. Showing initiative is certainly important,” said Culig.
He also mentioned that those already active in translational research also need to effectively interact with patient advocacy groups and members of pan-European bodies and organisations such as EU representatives.
“The opportunities are there, we only need to step forward and pursue the research goals that are essential for further growth,” he added.