BRIGHT Run and the Costs of Research 

Hello BRIGHT Run Family, 

Happy July. 

I have a research update for you. In many of my letters to you, I have mentioned working on grant proposals. Grant proposals are documents containing research plans (typically having background, research questions, objectives, budget information, team information, and any other necessary information) submitted to an opportunity provided by a sponsor.  

Usually, these opportunities are competitive. Grant proposals undergo a review process to be finally awarded.  I am happy to let you know that our project on developing trustworthy AI systems for mammograms has recently been awarded a New Frontiers in Research Fund –Exploration award, from the Government of Canada. You can read more about it here: McMaster researchers receive $3.2 million in New Frontiers in Research Fund grants – Brighter World. I am thankful for this funding opportunity and grateful to the sponsor for funding our project related to breast cancer imaging. 

Every research project is unique in terms of the research question(s) it addresses. However, there are some steady expenses related to that project. These are divided into two parts: direct and indirect. 

A project’s direct costs are attributable to the specific activities of the project. This includes salary of the trainees and non-trainee research personnel, research equipment, data collection, related travel, publication and knowledge translation costs. 

On the other hand, indirect costs are expenses that support the research (in an institution such as university) and may not be fully attributable to a single project. Examples of these costs include administrative expenses related to research, regulatory compliance expenses, building upkeep, common equipment depreciation, communication network etc. 

While sketching a budget plan, researchers can include a percentage of the total costs, as permitted by the sponsor, or as permitted by the institution, to be added as indirect costs. 

As a sponsor of research, BRIGHT Run has funded 17 breast cancer research projects using the funds you raised.  

Many times, a research idea comes by joining two dots, meaning a simple thought that needs to be piloted (evaluating feasibility) before it develops into a full project. Feasibility studies also need funds to be executed and they are an important stepping stone for testing newer ideas. Therefore, a researcher might need funds to accomplish a particular goal at various levels.  

If I can compare research with nurturing a garden, it goes from acquiring land for the garden (research facility), to planting a seed in a specially prepared soil-bed (feasibility), to nurturing plants and trees (executing projects), and sharing the harvest (knowledge dissemination). A gardener (researcher) in this garden would benefit from having funds to carry out the necessary steps.  

Therefore, your yearly fundraising through BRIGHT Run is immensely important for researchers who are working hard to help and support breast cancer research. 

It is barely two months until our 17th BRIGHT Run! Enjoy the summer! 



Dr. Ashirbani Saha is the first holder of the BRIGHT Run Breast Cancer Learning Health System Chair, a permanent research position established by the BRIGHT Run in partnership with McMaster University.