Emerging scholar award

We are excited to launch the CCS Emerging Scholar Award program, aimed at establishing and advancing promising early career scientists and clinician scientists from across Canada.

Important note about eligibility:

Individuals may not hold a CCS Emerging Scholar Award (ESA) concurrently with other funding support of similar nature and goals. This means that recipients of salary awards and operating grants aimed at establishing the research program and/or advancing the career development of early career researchers at the time of the ESA funding start date (January 1, 2021) are not eligible to apply. These include, but are not limited to, Canada Research Chair awards, province-specific establishment grants, early career institutional chair awards and early career investigator operating grants.

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

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

Competition Timeline:

LOI due: February 5, 2020
LOI results: May 2020
Full applications due: November 12, 2020
Funding results: April 2021 (tentative)
Funding start date: May 1, 2021 (tentative)

Program description:

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is excited to launch the CCS Emerging Scholar Award program, aimed at establishing and advancing promising early career scientists and clinician scientists from across Canada with a focused commitment to undertaking cancer research. Through the CCS Emerging Scholar Award program, early career investigators will develop their cancer research programs in Canada and pursue important scientific advances of the highest quality and potential for impact. By making a significant investment in the advancement of our nation’s emerging scholars, CCS aims to the strengthen the future of the Canadian cancer research ecosystem.


At the time of the award start date (January 1, 2021), applicants:

  • must be scientists or clinician scientists who hold a full-time appointment at an eligible Canadian research institution.
  • must be within 5 years* from the start of their first independent academic appointment (minimum assistant professor level, or equivalent).
  • must have (a) firm faculty appointment(s).
  • must not be recipients of awards aimed at advancing the career development of early career investigators (including CRCs).

*Career interruptions including, but not limited to, maternal and paternal leaves, extended sick leaves, medical leaves and family care will be considered, but must be described in the application. Justified career interruptions will not be included in the calculation of the five-year eligibility window.

In addition, applications must include a letter of commitment from the host institution guaranteeing the applicant protected time allocated to cancer research as well as a description of available mentoring support and resources provided. See below for more information.

CCS is committed to equity, diversity and inclusivity and strives to support all genders and backgrounds in its research programs. We welcome eligible applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply for our funding opportunities.

Funds available:

CCS is committed to supporting all areas and disciplines of cancer research and building capacity across Canada. Applications from the four pillars of health research (ie. biomedical; clinical; health services; and social, cultural, environmental and population health) are encouraged, and geographic and gender diversity will be strongly considered during the evaluation process.

Within the available funding envelope, we are aiming to fund competitive applications from across Canada in the following areas:

  • Emerging Scholar Award (Alberta)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (British Columbia)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (Manitoba)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (New Brunswick)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (Nova Scotia)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (Ontario)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (PEI)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (Quebec)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (Saskatchewan)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (Prevention) (2-3 awards)
  • Emerging Scholar Award (Survivorship) (2-3 awards)

Successful applications must fall within the fundable range for CCS awards (>3.5).

The current funding envelope for the ESA is $9M over 5 years, or 15 awards. Each award will be valued at $120,000 per year, tenable for 5 years. Awards will be non-renewable.

Funding of up to $100,000 per year will be provided to support the direct costs of research, including supplies, salaries (trainees and research support staff), and equipment associated with the proposed work. $20,000 per year can be used for buy-out time from clinical or teaching duties (clinical applicants only) or professional development. Equipment requests cannot exceed 10% of the requested budget. Indirect costs are not eligible.

Peer review:

There will be a two-stage application and review process. Applicants will be required to submit a letter of intent (LOI) for review, and selected applicants will be invited to submit a full application. A multidisciplinary peer review committee consisting of scientific experts with broad expertise and with diverse geographical and gender representation from across Canada will be assembled to review the LOIs and full applications.

Review Criteria:

Applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • excellence of the applicant as demonstrated by their academic and publication record and research experience, including evidence of increasing independence
  • potential impact of the award on the applicant’s career path and trajectory
  • evidence of leadership qualities that would position the applicant to become a future leader in cancer research in Canada and internationally
  • the scientific merit of the proposed research and its potential impact on cancer prevention and/or control
  • institutional commitment and support provided by the host institution to ensure the success of the applicant
  • the content and quality of the applicant’s reference letters
  • degree to which the proposed research could ultimately address CCS’s mission to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life for people living with and beyond cancer

The review panel will assess the above with due reflection and consideration for potential gender bias.

Letter of Intent:

The LOI submission will require the following:

  1. Applicant demographics and brief CV
  2. Scientific abstract
  3. Impact statement
  4. Brief scientific proposal
  5. Research team roles and responsibilities
  6. Draft budget
  7. Letter of commitment and support from the host institution

Full application:

  1. Public (non-scientific) summary
  2. Scientific abstract (this can be updated from the LOI submission)
  3. Impact statement (this can be updated from the LOI submission). The statement should explicitly describe how the project will promote significant scientific advancements in cancer research, how the proposed work is of strategic value to the applicant’s institution/region/province as well as the impact of the award on the applicant’s career development.
  4. Scientific proposal, including the following:
    1. the aim(s) of the project
    2. experimental design, methods, and analysis. Previous work done in the area of research may be included.

    The proposal will contain no more than 5 pages (21,000 characters) of single-spaced text. In addition, 3 pages of data figures/tables/charts plus 2 pages of supporting non-data schematics/flow diagrams and their associated legends are allowed.

  5. Details and roles of team members involved in the proposed project
  6. Career development plan (maximum 2 pages) describing:
    1. the applicant’s previous training and research experience
    2. the applicant’s career development plan and goals, and how the CCS Emerging Scholar Award will enable the applicant to achieve these goals
  7. Mentorship plan (maximum 2 pages) describing the training strategies the applicant will implement to foster the growth of their research team. The applicant must clearly describe what best practices will be taken to ensure that training and development opportunities will be equitably provided to all members of the research team.
  8. Host institution’s commitment statement (1 page) (this can be updated from the LOI submission) including, but not limited to, the following:
    1. confirmation that the applicant holds a firm appointment
    2. confirmation that at least 75% of the applicant’s time will be allocated to cancer research
    3. description of the research environment, resources and mentoring support available to the applicant. In particular, detailed information on the following are requested: mentorship from senior investigators; evidence of start-up funds available to the applicant; a brief description of the dedicated research space provided; access to core facilities and research infrastructure; administrative support; and strategies that will be employed by the host institution to support the applicant in securing research funding (i.e. guidance on grant application development)
    4. confirmation that the host institution will provide the applicant access to an internal peer review process led by senior investigator colleagues during the tenure of the award, at a minimum.
  9. 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.
  10. 3 letters of references supporting the applicant and the research program, one of which is from a former supervisor. At least two of the letters must be from a referee who is not affiliated with the host institution.

Multiple applications/multiple sources of funding:

There must not be substantive overlap (more than 50%) with any pending application (including those at the abstract or Letter of Intent submission stage) to any other Canadian Cancer Society Research program as of this competition due date. Duplicate applications will not be accepted. The onus is on the applicant to indicate the extent (or absence) of overlap.

Grantees may not hold concurrent awards aimed at career development. This includes Canada Research Chairs (CRCs). Please contact CCS (research@cancer.ca) for more information.

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.

Last modified on: September 1, 2020