The “Provocative Questions” initiative. Identifying Perplexing Problems to Drive Progress Against Cancer. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)

The “Provocative Questions” initiative. Identifying Perplexing Problems to Drive Progress Against Cancer. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)

Here there is a very interesting initiative which I believe is worthy of being published around the media, by means of form and content. I really like the approach applied in this initiative and I wonder how many fields of research could benefit from similar initiatives.

The “Provocative Questions” initiative. Identifying Perplexing Problems to Drive Progress Against Cancer.

Due to recent technological advances in many fields, especially in genomics, molecular biology, and computational sciences, there has never been a better time for doing cancer research. We have made large leaps in our basic knowledge about cancers – especially about the genetic and biochemical mechanisms by which they arise. Now we have an opportunity to take a step back from the momentum of these discoveries and make sure we have left no stone unturned and no important but perhaps non-obvious question left unexplored. Leaders at the NCI are eager to influence the state of cancer research by attempting to define more potentially game-changing scientific questions that could influence the directions taken by NCI-sponsored research in the future.

The collaborative process of formulating the provocative questions should engage the NCI’s scientific community in serious debate and energize the NCI’s many constituencies (advocacy groups, health professionals, Members of Congress, and others) about the prospects for improving the welfare of cancer patients through research. These other constituencies are encouraged to take part in the “Provocative Questions” enterprise through discussions and activities on this Web site.

The provocative questions initiative has assembled a list of 24 important questions from the research community to stimulate the NCI’s research communities to use laboratory, clinical and populations sciences in especially effective and imaginative ways to answer the questions. The questions are not simple restatements of long-term goals of the National Cancer Program, which are to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of all forms of cancer. Instead they:

  • Build on specific advances in our understanding of cancer and cancer control;
  • Address broad issues in the biology of cancer that have proven difficult to resolve;
  • Take into consideration the likelihood of progress in the foreseeable future (e.g. 5 to 10 years); and
  • Address ways to overcome obstacles to achieving long-term goals.

The questions are categorized into 5 themes:

About Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.

Data policy The products processed by "Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD" are made available to the public for educational and/or scientific purposes, without any fee on the condition that you credit "Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD" as the source. Copyright notice: © Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD 2013-2019 orcid: and the link to its source at diegofdezsevilla.wordpress or permanent DOI found at Reearchgate. Profile and verified scientific activity also at: Should you write any scientific publication on the results of research activities that use Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD products as input, you shall acknowledge the Diego Fdez-Sevilla's PhD Project in the text of the publication and provide an electronic copy of the publication ( If you wish to use the Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD products in advertising or in any commercial promotion, you shall acknowledge the Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD Project and you must submit the layout to Diego Fdez-Sevilla PhD for approval beforehand ( The work here presented has no economic or institutional support. Please consider to make a donation to support the means for making sustainable the energy, time and resources required. Also any sponsorship or mentoring interested would be welcome. Intellectual Property This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. By Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD. More guidance on citing this web as a source can be found at NASA webpage:! For those publications missing at the ResearchGate profile vinculated with this project DOIs can be generated on demand by request at email: d.fdezsevilla(at) **Author´s profile: Born in 1974. Bachelor in General Biology, Masters degree "Licenciado" in Environmental Sciences (2001, Spain). PhD in Aerobiology (2007, UK). Lived, acquired training and worked in Spain, UK, Germany and Poland. I have shared the outcome from my work previous to 2013 as scientific speaker in events held in those countries as well as in Switzerland and Finland. After 12 years performing research and working in institutions linked with environmental research and management, in 2013 I found myself in a period of transition searching for a new position or funding to support my own line of research. In the current competitive scenario, in order to demonstrate my capacities instead of just moving my cv waiting for my next opportunity to arrive, I decided to invest my energy and time in opening my own line of research sharing it in this blog. In March 2017 the budget reserved for this project has ended and its weekly basis time frame discontinued until new forms of economic and/or institutional support are incorporated into the project. The value of the data and the original nature of the research presented in this platform and at LinkedIn has proved to be worthy of consideration by the scientific community as well as for publication in scientific journals. However, without a position as member of an institution, it becomes very challenging to be published. I hope that this handicap do not overshadow the value of my achievements and that the Intellectual Property Rights generated with the license of attribution attached are respected and considered by the scientist involved in similar lines of research. **Any comment and feedback aimed to be constructive is welcome as well as any approach exploring professional opportunities.** In this blog I publish pieces of research focused on addressing relevant environmental questions. Furthermore, I try to break the barrier that academic publications very often offer isolating scientific findings from the general public. In that way I address those topics which I am familiar with, thanks to my training in environmental research, making them available throughout my posts. (see "Framework and Timeline" for a complete index). At this moment, 2019, I am living in Spain with no affiliation attachments. Free to relocate geographically worldwide. If you feel that I could be a contribution to your institution, team and projects, don´t hesitate in contact me at d.fdezsevilla (at) or consult my profile at LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Also, I'd appreciate information about any opportunity that you might know and believe it could match with my aptitudes. The conclusions and ideas expressed in each post as part of my own creativity are part of my Intellectual Portfolio and are protected by Intellectual Property Laws. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial conditions. In citing my work from this website, be sure to include the date of access and DOIs found at the Framework and Timeline page and ResearchGate. (c)Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD, 2018. Filling in or/and Finding Out the gaps around. Publication accessed 20YY-MM-DD at ***
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