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Scholar Program

What Does the STARS Scholar Program Include?


STARS Scholar program activities mostly take place at the IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC), with some virtual meetings. Note that all STARS Scholar participants MUST have reliable access to Internet and Zoom to participate in the virtual elements of the program. Activities run August through October and include:

  • Attend WCLC in person (travel and accommodations paid by the program).

  • Access to online learning and webinars included in the STARS PRA program.

  • Virtual networking prior to WCLC.

  • Participate at WCLC in:

    • Wecome dinner for Scholars, Mentors, lung cancer clinician/researchers (Key Opinion Leaders, or KOLs), and IASLC staff.

    • An all-day workshop with STARS Scholars, experienced research advocate Mentors, and KOLs.

    • Designated WCLC sessions followed by a debrief with a KOL.

    • Poster walk with a small group of Scholars and a STARS Mentor.

    • Networking with STARS Mentors and other advocates attending WCLC.

  • Submit a final report. 


Topics covered in KOL debriefs will vary depending on the sessions offered at WCLC and availability of the STARS clinician/researchers.  Previous research-based topics included revised lung cancer staging classifications, how air pollution causes lung cancer, and the future of liquid biopsies.​  Scholars who participate fully receive a certificate of completion.

Who Can Apply to the Scholar Program?

The STARS Scholar Program is for people who have or had lung cancer and their family members. People who do not have this personal connection to a person who has or had lung cancer are not eligible to apply. Applicants must be active patient research advocate (PRAs). Examples of PRA activity are listed on our "Research Advocacy examples" page.  Previous participants in the STARS Scholar program may apply to participate the Scholar Program again.  Successful completion of the STARS PRA program is desirable, but is not required, and does not guarantee acceptance into the Scholar Program.

Successful applications for the STARS Scholar program must demonstrate the following:​

  • Current membership in IASLC (free to patient/survivors and caregivers--apply here).

  • Proven accomplishments in lung cancer research advocacy (we recognize advocacy opportunities vary by country).

  • A solid understanding of lung cancer science and the research process.

  • Willingness to learn about and advocate for all types of lung cancer.

  • Interest in using their skills and knowledge to educate others about lung cancer science and research.

  • Ability to read, write, and speak in English.

STARS seeks participants who are comfortable writing and/or speaking publicly as part of their advocacy, and who can communicate effectively in verbal and written English. While STARS aims to increase the number of languages in which the program is offered, English is still the primary language of major international oncology conferences and publications. Our program meetings are conducted in English, and our current educational resources are almost entirely in English.

What is the Application Process?


All applications are completed and submitted online. The 2024 application period opens February 1 and closes March 22 at 5 Mountain Daylight Time (MDT, or Denver time). Interviews will be held via Zoom for qualified Scholar applicants between March 15 and April 5. Successful applicants will be notified by 5 pm MST on Friday, April 26.


The application requires that you provide the name and email address of an established research advocate or researcher who is familiar with your patient advocacy activities.  The application form will email the person and direct them to an online survey. We suggest you contact your emdorser early in the application process to ask if they are willing to provide a recommendation. If they agree, enter their name and email ASAP on your application (even if you haven't completed the entire application) to give the person plenty of time to submit the recommendation before the application period closes.  It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure the recommendation is received on time.

Applications are competitive with a goal of global and diverse representation, and are reviewed by a group selected from the STARS Admin Team, Mentors, past participants, and other lung cancer research advocates.

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