Canadian Cancer Society Emerging Scholar Research Grants

Program description

Building on the success and lessons learned from the inaugural Emerging Scholar Awards program, CCS is excited to launch the CCS Emerging Scholar Research Grants program (ESRG-23). By making a significant investment in the advancement of emerging scholars, CCS aims to strengthen the future of the cancer research ecosystem in Canada. This opportunity aims at establishing and advancing promising early career investigators from across Canada with a focused commitment to undertaking cancer research. Through the CCS Emerging Scholar Research Grants, early career investigators will develop their cancer research programs in Canada and pursue important scientific advances of the highest quality and potential for impact in the four pillars of health research (biomedical; clinical; health services; and social, cultural, environmental & population health). 

Competition timeline

Abstract due (non-competitive)**
April 5, 2023
LOI due (competitive)
May 3, 2023
LOI results
early July 2023
Full applications due
September 4, 2023
Funding results
Late-November 2023
Funding start date
December 1, 2023

** This task is mandatory to be able to submit a Letter of Intent. Please use this link here to access the submission form via the QP platform. Note that both the LOI and Full Application will be submitted in EGrAMS

Eligibility

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

At the time of the grant start date (December 1, 2023), applicants:

  • must be early career scientists (including clinician scientists), who hold a full-time appointment at an eligible Canadian research institution.
  • must have (a) firm faculty appointment(s).
  • must be within 7 years* from the start of their first independent academic appointment (minimum assistant professor level, or equivalent).
  • must not be current recipients of operating grants aimed at advancing the career development of early career investigators at the time of the ESRG funding start date (this includes but is not limited to TFRI New Investigator). Salary awards are generally accepted, however Canada Research Chair holders (at the time of grant start date) are not eligible to apply for CCS Emerging Scholar Research Grants.
  • 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 prior and during the proposal development, as well as in the future in case of success. See below for more information.

*Note:

  • Applicants' eligibility window calculated from the start of their first independent academic appointment was increased for this program from 5 to 7 years to account for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the research community.
  • 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 be included in the calculation of the seven-year eligibility window.
  • It is expected that at least 75% of the applicant’s time will be allocated to cancer research, however CCS recognizes that this may not be feasible for all institutions. In cases where protected time falls below 75%, CCS, with input from the review panel, will carefully evaluate the key milestones & expected timelines, terms of reference, and career development plan sections of the full application to ensure alignment with the goals of this funding program.

 

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity

CCS is committed to equity, diversity, inclusivity, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples rights. We strive to build inclusive and diverse capacity in the cancer research ecosystem through both policies and practices, and aim to equitably support applicants with diverse experience and narratives.

We recognize the structural racism and discrimination that exists in the research ecosystem, and, as we move to examine and dismantle these practices, we seek to learn from the resilience, wisdom and diversity of other perspectives. We commit to examining biases, seeking inclusive solutions and welcoming discomfort that comes with systemic and structural change. We commit to advancing equity, diversity and inclusive practices and principles. We welcome and encourage 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 diverse 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.

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

  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (Alberta)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (British Columbia)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (Manitoba)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (New Brunswick)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (Nova Scotia)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (Ontario)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (PEI)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (Quebec)
  • Emerging Scholar Research Grant (Saskatchewan)

*Note: Successful applications must fall within the fundable score range for CCS grants (>3.5).

  • The current funding envelope for the ESRG is $9M over 5 years, or 15 grants. This amount may be increased if additional funds become available from CCS or partners. Each grant will be valued up to $120,000 per year, tenable for 5 years. Grants 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. If buy-out is not required, up to $10,000 can be used for professional development of the applicant and their lab members, as described in the career development and mentorship plan sections of the full application. Note that equipment is not an eligible expense for this section.
  • Equipment requests cannot exceed 10% (or $10,000) of the direct costs of research.
  • Indirect costs are not eligible.
Total budget *
Approximately $9M
Amount per year
up to $120K 
Permanent Equipment
10 % of requested  budget, or $10K
* Additional partners or access to additional funds may increase this number.

Additional information

 

There will be a three-stage application and review process. Applicants will first be required to submit an abstract. The abstract registration step is mandatory, but not competitive, and will allow CCS staff to initiate recruitment of reviewers and assemble the most relevant panel. Applicants will then submit a letter of intent (LOI) for review, and only selected applicants will be invited to submit a full application.

A multidisciplinary expert review committee, including scientific, patient/survivor/caregiver, and community/end-user reviewers will be assembled for this competition. The review committee will be comprised of relevant and appropriate individuals with broad expertise and experience as well as from diverse geographical, ethnic/racial and gender representation from across Canada to collectively evaluate applications both at the LOI and full application stages.

Applications will be evaluated against the review criteria detailed below using two scores - Scientific Merit and Relevance and Potential Impact. Please refer to the application guide (to be released after Abstract deadline) and rating scales when preparing an application.

The review criteria will include but will not be limited to the following:

  • Scientific merit of the proposed research and its potential impact on cancer in any of the four pillars of health research (i.e. biomedical; clinical; health services; and social, cultural, environmental and population health)
  • Meaningful involvement of relevant partners such as patients/caregivers, decision-makers and end-users
  • Excellence of the applicant as demonstrated by their professional and personal experiences:

    • their academic and publication record and research experience, including evidence of increasing independence
    • their community engagement, volunteering with patients, work experience and other meaningful experience and skills.
  • Knowledge sharing plan for the study and outcomes including and outside of traditional academic publications and conferences (e.g., learning and sharing circles, workshops, arts-based productions, indigenous knowledge sharing practices, social media, community or patient newsletters / magazines / publications, community presentations / gatherings / cafés / feasting, etc.)
  • Potential impact of the grant on the applicant’s career path and trajectory
  • Evidence of leadership and management skills as well as a mentoring plan that would position the applicant and her/his/their team to become a future leader in cancer research in Canada and internationally
  • Institutional commitment and support provided by the host institution to ensure the success of the applicant
  • Content and quality of the applicant’s reference letters
  • Inclusion of accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion principles in all aspects of the application (research design and team composition)

The review panel will assess the above with due reflection and consideration of career stage and for potential unconscious bias.

Applicants are required to submit an abstract by April 5, 2023 at 5pm ET. Note that this task is mandatory to be able to submit a Letter of Intent. Please use this link here to access the submission form via the QP platform. Note that both the LOI and Full Application will be submitted in EGrAMS.

The abstract submission will require the following:

  1. Applicant details
  2. Scientific abstract (maximum 4200 characters (including spaces), single spaced)
  3. Keywords (maximum 10).

Please review the application guide (to be released after the Abstract deadline)  prior to submitting your Letter of Intent (LOI). You will be required to re-enter ALL information at the full application stage (if successful), so please save your work outside of EGrAMS.

The LOI submission will require the following:

  1. Applicant details and CV
  2. Public (non-scientific) summary (maximum 2000 characters (including spaces), single spaced)
  3. Scientific abstract & Keywords 
  4. Impact statement: the statement should explicitly describe how the project will promote significant scientific advancements in cancer research, and how the proposed work is of strategic value to the applicant’s institution/region/province (4,200 characters including spaces)
  5. Brief scientific proposal (maximum 8,500 characters including spaces of single-spaced text). In addition, 1 separate page of data figures/tables/charts and their associated legends is allowed. Figures can also be embedded in the text as images or they will count towards the 8,500 limit. References are not included in the page/character count but must be included in the PDF document.
  6. Career development plan describing (4,200 characters including spaces):
     -Previous training and research experience
    - Commitment to cancer research
    - Leadership and mentorship capabilities and experience
    - Career development plan and goals, and how the CCS Emerging Scholar Research Grant will enable the applicant to achieve these goals
    - Mentorship plan for the applicant’s own career

The professional development budget can be used to support these activities. 

7. Terms of reference (1 document per team) for all team members involved in the proposed project (Note that for this grant competition, Co-PIs and Co-Applicants are not permitted. Role types will be limited to Additional Authors, Collaborators, and Patients/Survivors/Caregivers)

8. Draft budget

9. Letter of commitment and support from the host institution (see below for more information)

Please review the application guide (to be released after Abstract deadline) and rating scales prior to submitting your full application.

We recommend applicants to address the reviewers’ feedback on the LOI to write the most competitive full application. As stated above, the full application stage is distinct from the LOI stage, therefore you will be required to re-enter ALL information, so please save your work outside of EGrAMS.

  1. Public (non-scientific) summary
  2. Scientific abstract
  3. Impact statement (4,200 characters, including spaces) :

    The statement should explicitly describe how the project will promote significant  scientific advancements in cancer research, and how the proposed work is of strategic value to the applicant’s  institution/region/province.

  4. LOI reviews (to be uploaded by applicant) and response to reviewer comments.

5. Scientific proposal, including the following:

  • the aim(s) of the project
  • experimental design, methods, and analysis (inclusion of sex, gender, and other dimensions of diversity (SGBA+) must be considered and included). Previous work done in the area of research may be included.
  • Risk and mitigation strategies
  • Brief description of how patient/survivor/caregiver and other relevant stakeholders will be engaged in the research as partners and if applicable, as participants.
  • Brief description of the knowledge translation and mobilization plan including and outside of traditional academic outputs.

The proposal will contain no more than 21,000 characters including spaces of single-spaced text. In addition, 3 pages of data figures/tables/charts and their associated legends are allowed. Figures can also be embedded in the text as images or they will count towards the 21,000 limit. References are not included in the page/character count but must be included in the PDF document.

6. Key milestones & expected timelines (1 page)

Clearly outline key activities and milestones for the project term, including timelines or target dates. Gantt chart format is recommended.

7. Terms of reference (1 document per team) for all team members involved in the proposed project (this can be updated from the LOI submission). (Note that for this grant competition, Co-PIs and Co-Applicants are not permitted. Role types will be limited to Additional Authors, Collaborators, and Patients/Survivors/Caregivers)

8. Career development plan (4,200 characters, including spaces) describing:

  • Previous training and research experience
  • Commitment to cancer research
  • Leadership and mentorship capacities and experience
  • Career development plan and goals, and how the CCS Emerging Scholar Research Grant will enable the applicant to achieve these goals
  • Anticipated challenges or barriers that must be overcome
  • Mentorship plan for the applicant’s own career

The professional development budget can be used to support these activities.

9. Training and Mentorship plan (4,200 characters (including spaces)) 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. The professional development budget can be used to support these activities.

10. Host institution’s commitment statement (1 page letter) (this letter can be updated from the LOI submission) including, but not limited to, the following:

  • confirmation that the applicant holds a firm appointment
  • confirmation that the applicant will have protected time for cancer research
  • 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;
  • strategies that will be employed by the host institution to support the applicant in securing research funding (i.e. guidance on grant application development with internal peer-review). Institutions should identify specific individuals where possible.
  • confirmation that the host institution has provided the applicant access to an internal peer review process led by senior investigator colleagues during the application process to the ESRG program and during the tenure of the award, at a minimum.

11. 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.

12. Three letters of references supporting the applicant, the research project scientific merit, relevance and potential impact. Consult our guidance document for additional information.

  • One letter must be from a former supervisor
  • One letter must be from a patient partner or community member.
  • At least one letter must be from an academic referee who is not affiliated with the applicant’s host institution.
  • 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 operating grants aimed at establishing the research program of early career researchers at the time of the ESRG funding start date (this includes, but is not limited to, TFRI New Investigator). Salary awards are generally accepted, however, Canada Research Chair holders (at the time of grant start date) are not eligible to apply for CCS Emerging Scholar Research Grants. Please contact CCS (research@cancer.ca) for more information.
  • Applicants are reminded to review the eligibility and requirements section prior to preparing an application. For details on scientific and financial reporting, funder acknowledgement, and other Canadian Cancer Society policies, review our policies and administration page.

Scientific misconduct including, but not limited to, fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or misrepresentation of data will not be tolerated and may result in the rejection of proposals in the current program and possibly from all future CCS programs. Misconduct, including but not limited to, racism, discrimination, bullying, harassment of any form (i.e: sexual) will be treated with the same severity.

CCS reserves the right to cancel the support provided through its program were any of this conduct proven to (have) happen(ed).

How to apply

Review eligibility and requirements

Consult CCS eligibility and requirements. Review CCS requirements for Principal Investigators, their teams, and Host Institutions. 

Review application guide

Download our application guide for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for this award as well as other important information that you need to know.

Apply

Click here to submit your abstract

Click here to submit your full application