Chordoma research grants

Please see the eligibility and requirements section prior to creating an application.

Deadline dates

Abstract registration due date: May 1, 2018
Relevance review results: end of May, 2018

Full application due date: July 16, 2018
Results announcement: November, 2018
Anticipated start date: December 1, 2018

Application guides can be found on the EGrAMS documentation for applicants page. See FAQs.

Abstract registration must be completed in order to submit a full application. A relevance review of submitted abstracts will be conducted and only those considered appropriate for this funding opportunity will be invited to submit a full proposal.


This grant program has been generously established by funds raised through a partnership with the Chordoma Foundation and generous donors for Canadian chordoma research. The Canadian Cancer Society is administering the competition on their behalf according to CCS research processes and policies.

Please see the ‘Partners description’ section below for more information on the Chordoma Foundation.

Program description

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) in partnership with the Chordoma Foundation is issuing a special grant award focused on a rare cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull base and spine, called chordoma. As a result of a fundraising partnership with the Chordoma Foundation and generous donors, there is funding available to support up to 2 meritorious applications that will impact our understanding of chordoma and generate new ideas leading to critically needed systemic therapies. It is hoped that this grant award will utilize innovative technologies and foster new collaborations in order to drive translational research findings rapidly to the clinic.

Applications that build new collaborations and capacity in chordoma research are encouraged.

Scientific focus of the program

Each year approximately one in one million individuals are diagnosed with chordoma. Even though there have been major advancements in surgery and radiotherapy which have enabled some patients to be cured, more than half of chordoma patients ultimately experience disease progression in the form of local recurrences and metastatic disease. Currently, no systemic therapies are approved for treatment of the disease, compelling a critical need to explore new therapeutic options. Fortunately, in recent years, chordoma research has progressed, leading to identification of key vulnerabilities and alterations that contribute to the disease and that can be further investigated.

The Chordoma Foundation, with recommendations from its Scientific Advisory Board, has identified high priority research areas that are expected to have major impact on this disease. Therefore, for the purpose of this grant award, the following relevant study areas are being proposed but are not limited to:

  1. Therapeutic strategies to target brachyury, recently identified as the key vulnerability of chordoma: The transcription factor, brachyury is highly expressed in almost all chordoma tumours and is essential for chordoma cell survival. Identifying upstream regulators and downstream targets of brachyury will uncover novel therapeutic approaches. Strategies to target brachyury itself are also encouraged.
  2. Application of advances in immune therapy to treat chordoma: Characterization of immune/tumour interactions will identify mechanisms by which chordoma cells evade immune surveillance. This information will shed light on novel immune therapeutic strategies that can be explored to treat this disease.
  3. Identification of epigenetic strategies to control the disease: Recent evidence has suggested that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to the pathogenesis of chordoma. Characterization of epigenetic alterations may identify novel biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis as well as therapeutic targets for treatment. Drugs inhibiting these targets may be available for preclinical evaluation in relevant chordoma models.

Additional research topics will be considered aside from the ones listed above. It is strongly encouraged that state of the art technologies and novel strategies be incorporated to achieve the goals of the research plan.

For projects that require preclinical assessment of drugs and other reagents, the Chordoma Foundation has developed resources that are available to the research community, including 14 chordoma cell lines and 6 xenograft models. In addition, for projects requiring in vivo drug testing, the Chordoma Foundation will consider having them included for assessment as part of their Drug Screening Program.

Funds available

It is anticipated that up to 2 grants will be awarded in this competition.

Grant budgets may be up to $100,000 per year and a maximum of $150,000 per grant over a 2-year period. Grants will be non-renewable.

Funding will be provided to support the direct costs of research, including supplies, salaries, and equipment associated with the proposed work. Equipment requests cannot exceed 15% of the requested budget. Indirect costs are not eligible.

Peer review panels

A multidisciplinary peer review committee will be assembled to review the full applications. The peer review committee will consist of scientific experts with broad expertise, along with a community representative to provide the patient/survivor and/or caregiver perspective. Members of the Chordoma Foundation will observe the panel meeting.

Abstract registration

Principal Investigators / Co-Principal Investigators are permitted to submit more than one application, however only one grant will be awarded per Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator in this competition.

Registration is mandatory and will require applicant details (Principal Investigator(s)/Co-Applicants/Additional Authors), scientific abstract, keywords, relevance statement, suggested reviewers and research tracking information.

Any significant changes to the proposed project or applicant team after the Abstract Registration deadline should be communicated to CCS ( as soon as they are known. Substantive changes that significantly alter the overall goals and aims of the proposal relative to the Abstract Registration are not permitted.
The online application will be accessible through the CCS online research application system EGrAMS. All applications must meet the eligibility requirements.

Full application

The proposal will contain no more than 5 pages of single-spaced text and 2 pages of figures/tables/charts and associated legends. Specific guidelines for the online application will be available after the relevance review process is complete here.

When preparing the full application, the following is required:

  1. as part of the “public” (non-scientific summary), a chordoma relevance statement clearly describing the potential of this project to impact chordoma
  2. a scientific abstract (updates to the Abstract submitted as part of the Registration are permitted – see above)
  3. a relevance statement explicitly demonstrating how the project is relevant to chordoma. It is strongly encouraged that state of the art technologies and novel strategies be incorporated to achieve the goals of the research plan.
    Examples of eligible projects include the following:
    • therapeutic strategies to target brachyury, recently identified as the key vulnerability of chordoma
    • application of advances in immune therapy to treat chordoma
    • identification of epigenetic strategies to control the disease
  4. a detailed scientific proposal clearly stating the aims of the project including any previous work done in the area, experimental design, methods and analysis.

    Investigators must provide convincing rationale for the hypothesis. Details of the investigator(s) including which member(s) of the research team will be responsible for which aspect of the project and a rationale for their inclusion in the project are required, and a description of the research environment where the work will take place.
  5. a vision statement explicitly describing how the proposed work could move the field forward and accelerate progress in cancer research. This statement should also clearly address the expected “next steps” following completion of the project.
  6. a budget justification related to the supplies, equipment and personnel associated with the research project. This must include the number of personnel required to complete the work and a description of their experience and/or education level and their commitment to the project.

Review criteria

The review criteria for the full application will include, but not necessarily be restricted to, four assessment categories: Research Strategy, Investigator(s), Environment, and Chordoma Relevance.

Research strategy
  • scientific merit and convincing rationale that considers critical review and analysis of preliminary data and/or published literature, as appropriate
  • identification of potential problems and how they will be addressed, including alternative approaches
  • appropriateness of the term and amount of support requested
  • qualifications and appropriate expertise of the investigator(s)
  • quality of the research environment in which the work will take place
Chordoma relevance
  • potential impact on chordoma

Multiple applications/multiple sources of funding

It is understood that applications may also be made to other agencies to provide support for grants/programs similar to those submitted to the Canadian Cancer Society. For this competition, duplicate applications submitted to other agencies will be accepted. Grantees may accept funds from other sources, up to the CCS Research panel recommended amount.

Applicants are reminded to review the eligibility and requirements section for details on scientific and financial reporting, funder acknowledgement, Canadian Cancer Society policies on open access and tobacco related funding.

Partner Description

The Chordoma Foundation is an international nonprofit organization working to improve the lives of those affected by chordoma and lead the search for a cure. Founded by patients and family members in 2007, the Foundation proactively invests in research to develop better treatments, supports healthcare providers in improving the quality and delivery of care, and provides a comprehensive suite of services designed to create a better experience for patients and caregivers throughout their journey with the disease.