While big international funding initiatives might be the most eye-catching science funding sources, local foundations often play an equally pivotal role. They are often more in touch with the local scientific landscape and patients. VIB research would not be where it is now without their support. Here you can find a small sample of generous givers and their interactions with VIB researchers.
Stichting Alzheimer Onderzoek (Foundation Alzheimer’s Research)
For World Alzheimer’s day (September 21st), SAO organizes an annual cupcake sale during the entire month of September. Since 2016, the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research actively participates in the sale (and consumption) of cupcakes. With the money, raised in the most delicious way, Stichting Alzheimer Onderzoek can support Alzheimer research throughout Belgium by awarding grants to promising researchers.
1000 km Kom op Tegen Kanker
For the past three years, VIB has been represented by several teams in the 1000 kilometers of Kom op Tegen Kanker. This annual 1000 km cycling challenge for teams of volunteers is organized to raise funds for cancer research. Each year, the VIB cyclists and their colleagues have set up various fundraising actions to sponsor their trip. The most remarkable one was organized by the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology: a charity concert with the winner of the International Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition 2016, Lukáš Vondráček. Jean -Jacques Cassiman, professor of human genetics and chairman of ‘Kom op Tegen Kanker’ hosted the evening. Members of the center also participate in the annual flower sale to support the charity. In addition to the fundraising activities, Kom op Tegen Kanker organizes lab visits.
Stichting tegen Kanker (The Belgian Foundation against Cancer)
Stichting tegen Kanker is an important national funder for cancer research. Its donors often visit the labs whose research their donations support. Many of the donors are (former) patients. Their visits allow the scientists to show them the latest research, while the donors can talk to the scientists about the realities of living, or having lived with, cancer.
Vlaamse Parkinson Liga (Parkinson Liga)
Vlaamse Parkinson Liga often receives donations which it funnels into research funding. One of the beneficiaries is VIB’s top research into neurodegenerative conditions. The interaction between patients and VIB researchers is something that is actively pursued and leads to an increased mutual understanding of living with Parkinson as well as the scientific work being done. This leads to both an enduring motivation for the researchers and hope for the patients.
Following the success of the ‘cool’ ice bucket challenge, the ALS Liga organized the ‘hot’ pepper challenge last year. The Ludo Van Den Bosch group (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research) confidently took on the challenge together with several actors on the set of the soap Thuis. They made it onto national television.