CCS Research Training Awards

In partnership with


Program summary

The purpose of this funding program is to support growth and innovation in the next generation of diverse cancer researchers across Canada at the Master’s, Doctoral and Postdoctoral levels. Our Research Training Awards seek to build inclusive capacity in cancer research and recognizing this, we support Black* and Indigenous* applicants to apply for this opportunity. This program will support individuals in conducting cancer related research while fostering long term connections with Canada’s cancer research ecosystem through a combination of exposures to other disciplines, knowledge translation, engagement, and mentorship opportunities. Recognizing the impact of systemic and structural racism and discrimination on trainees in the cancer research community, CCS and its partners endeavour to address racism and discrimination in multiple ways including equitable research policies and practices.


*Note: The term "Black" refers to people of Black African descent, which includes those who identify as Black Africans, and those found worldwide who identify as descendants of Black African peoples in the Diaspora (1, 2, 3). The term “Indigenous” refers to people who identify as First Nations, Inuit, Innu or Métis in Canada (4, 5).

NEW: Frequently Asked Questions For Research Training Awards

Important Dates for Master's and PhD students

Informational webinar*
March 28, 2023, 12:30 pm -1:30 pm ET
Abstract due (non-competitive)
April 6 , 2023
Full Application deadline
May 9, 2023
Results announcement
August 2023
Anticipated start date
September 1, 2023
*To register for the webinar, please email and indicate English RTA Webinar. 

Important Dates for Postdoctoral Fellows

Informational Webinar*
March 28, 2023, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm ET
Abstract due (non-competitive)
May 1, 2023
Full application due date
August 14, 2023
Results announcement
December 2023
Anticipated start date
January 1, 2024
*To register for the webinar, please email and indicate English RTA Webinar.

Background and context

The next generation of cancer researchers is a critical component for growth and innovation in cancer research. One call to action for the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance is to develop initiatives to build a diverse cancer researcher workforce and to look for ways to improve supports offered to trainees. CCS and its partners are working to develop and implement a new, holistic system of funding and support for trainees at the Master’s, PhD, and postdoctoral level. We also recognize that systemic and structural racism and discrimination experienced by diverse groups of trainees negatively affects both trainees and the cancer research ecosystem. CCS and its partners aim to address racism and discrimination in multiple ways including through equitable research policies and practices, for example our Inclusive Excellence Research Action Plan and our Health Equity Research Grants.  This opportunity will support cancer research training and foster innovation in cancer research through a comprehensive approach including mentorship, training, and knowledge-sharing. While this iteration of the award focuses on Master’s, PhD and postdoctoral fellows, training awards for undergraduates will be offered later this year.


Specific Objectives:

  1. To support the next generation of cancer researchers in Canada and foster long term connections within the cancer research ecosystem
  2. To build capacity in the cancer research system through an equity seeking lens and to foster a more inclusive research environment
  3. To fund a diverse group of trainees across a range of training levels and cancer research areas
  4. To enhance the training experience and innovation in cancer research through exposure to other disciplines, knowledge translation, engagement, and mentorship opportunities 

Program description

The Research Training Awards are available to individuals pursuing Master’s, PhD, and postdoctoral level training at an eligible Canadian academic institution.  CCS and its partners seek to support capacity in cancer research in all research pillars (i.e., biomedical; clinical; health services; and social, cultural, environmental and population health). This broad investment in the next generation is aimed at seeding the potential for future solutions and innovations in cancer research and cancer care.The Research Training Awards will support competitive, scientifically excellent applications for training in all areas of cancer research.


To increase diverse representation in our cancer research ecosystem, we  support and encourage Black and Indigenous trainees to apply. Other eligible scholars in training are welcome to apply. As part of our Inclusive Excellence Action Plan, CCS requires all applicants to research competitions to complete a self-identification questionnaire as part of their application. These data help us to understand the impact of our efforts to be more relevant to diverse applicants in our funding calls. The information obtained from the questionnaire is kept confidential and access to data is limited to designated CCS staff. De-identified competition-specific data will be extracted for internal analysis and action.


We anticipate that this funding opportunity will be recurring and will incorporate learnings from the 2023 funding opportunity and other sources into future iterations of these awards. Each round of the Research Training Awards competition may target specific underrepresented groups to help reduce discrimination and inequity and support the full participation of talented individuals in building the next generation of cancer researchers.


For all levels of training, applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or Indigenous (First nations, Inuit and Métis). International trainees are not eligible to apply currently. Applicants applying to the Master’s or Doctoral level of funding must be enrolled in or have applied to a graduate program with a significant research component** at the master’s or doctoral level at a Canadian institution. Joint programs with a professional degree (for example, MD/PhD) as well as clinically oriented programs of study are eligible if they have a significant autonomous research component. The years of support requested must not exceed the estimated years remaining within the program. Applicants applying to the postdoctoral level of funding must be trainees (may not hold an academic appointment at an institution) and must maintain such status throughout the duration of the award. The main focus of their time should be dedicated to the proposed research training throughout the tenure of the award.


**Note: An eligible graduate program must include a significant research component such as: a thesis, major research project, dissertation, scholarly publication, performance, major essay, recital and/or exhibit that is merit/expert-reviewed at the institutional level as a requirement for completion of the program.


Applicants may choose to engage in any type of research, including community-based research. In that situation, co-supervisors (academic and community-based) may be justified. Applications from all four pillars of health research (i.e., biomedical; clinical; health services; and social, cultural, environmental and population health) are eligible. Applicants are encouraged to engage relevant stakeholders in their proposed research including individual and community-level partners such as First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous communities and organizations, Black communities, racialized communities, and people with lived experience. Trainees are expected to participate in CCS-led workshops and opportunities that will facilitate learning and connection to people with lived experience in their research.


The application should include:


  • A research project;
  • A professional development plan;
  • An experience statement;
  • Transcripts or Curriculum Vitae (CV);
  • Two letters of commitment / support;
  • Postdoctoral fellows- an additional document detailing career plans and leadership skills and activities.

 See below for a full description of the application sections.

Funds available

Funding will be available according to the following funding table (maximum amounts described- awards may be pro-rated for part-time students and those holding other eligible research awards):

  • Approximately $5M may be awarded in this competition. This amount may be increased if additional funds become available from CCS or through partnerships.
  • We support and encourage Black and Indigenous applicants to apply.
  • Research Training Award amounts are for stipend support, other than the Training Budget (see below). Stipends awarded will not exceed the maximum amount and duration listed above.
  • The Research Training Award includes a separate training budget to support cross-disciplinary training of the awardee. Only expenditures related to training may be purchased or expensed using the training budget. The training budget can also be used to support mentorship with mentors outside of academia (community, patients, caregivers, business leaders, etc.), including remuneration for mentors. Tuition for the main program of study, equipment or supplies for ongoing research are ineligible expenses. The training budget is to be managed by the successful applicant, while complying with any institutional policies (i.e., that may require supervisor sign-off or other restrictions).

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

Additional information


There will be a two-stage review process. An initial administrative review will be completed on all applications, followed by a full committee review. Applications that are incomplete, do not meet eligibility criteria (i.e., applicants must be from eligible graduate programs and institutions) or are outside of the area of study (i.e., applications that do not relate to cancer research), will be removed at this initial stage and will not continue to full committee review. Applicants will be notified if their application does not pass administrative review. The expert review committee will be composed of a diverse group of scientific reviewers, patient/survivor/caregiver reviewers, and community/end-user reviewers who will collectively evaluate applications to this research training award competition (see review criteria below for more information). The review committee will be comprised of individuals with the expertise necessary to evaluate the full applications submitted. A maximum of one application per trainee is permitted in this competition.

Applicants are asked to submit an abstract by April 6, 2023 at 5pm ET. Please use this link here for Master’s and PhD and here for Postdoctoral fellows to access the submission form via the QP platform. Note that the Full Application will be submitted in EGrAMS.

The abstract submission will require the following:

  1. Applicant details
  2. Public summary of the research project, to be written in lay language (i.e., Grade 8 reading level) (2150 characters spaces included)
  3. Keywords (maximum 10).

Please review the application guide (to be released after Abstract deadline) and eligibility and requirements section, and rating scales prior to submitting your application. When preparing the full application, the following additional information is required: 

1. Applicant details

2. An experience statement to evaluate potential (personal) impact on cancer, answering the following 2 questions:

  • Why am I the right candidate for this award?
  • What do I envision as my (long-term) contribution to cancer research?

The experience statement should highlight lived experience, connection to or role in community, community engagement, volunteering with patients / healthcare, work experience and other meaningful experience and skills (such as life / knowledge journeys for Indigenous trainees). If applicable, please describe any special circumstances including career obstacles and interruptions(2 pages or 6000 characters)

3. Transcripts (for Master’s and PhD) or CV (Postdoctoral fellows)

4. Public summary of the research project, to be written in lay language (i.e., Grade 8 reading level) (2150 characters spaces included)

5. A detailed proposal (9000 characters for PhD and postdoctoral fellows, 6000 characters for Master’s spaces included) including overall goal and aims of their research project, supporting evidence / rationale, guiding theoretical framework (if applicable), study design, methods, evaluation / analysis (including assessment and mitigation of any potential barriers or risks), and knowledge sharing. Meaningful, integrated involvement of relevant stakeholders (i.e., patients, public, at-risk, underserved populations) is strongly encouraged. Briefly describe how patient/survivor/caregiver or other relevant stakeholders will be engaged in the research as partners and if applicable, as participants. Demonstration of accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion principles in the proposal must be evident. Include a description of how sex and/or gender and/or dimensions of diversity/determinants of health and their intersectionalities have been factored into the study design. While scholarly publications and presentations are considered important, knowledge sharing of the research findings in culturally and contextually relevant ways (outside of traditional academic conferences and publications) is preferred. Examples of non-traditional avenues for knowledge sharing include learning and sharing circles, workshops, arts-based productions, community or patient newsletters / magazines / publications, and community presentations / gatherings / gifting / feasting. CCS will endeavour to offer one networking / knowledge-sharing opportunity to trainees per year, with other relevant opportunities for trainees being offered when possible. Note that traditional academic conferences or publications alone will not be considered sufficient for knowledge sharing. One additional page for figures, tables, visuals and key milestones is permitted.

 6. A professional development plan including both cross-disciplinary training to be undertaken and a proposed mentorship plan (3000 characters spaces included for each).


    • A description of the cross-disciplinary training to be undertaken, expected knowledge/expertise gained or outcomes, and potential barriers to learning (3000 characters spaces included). Note that cross-disciplinary training refers to learning in at least one field outside of their specific cancer research area (i.e., health sciences, social sciences, data science, natural sciences, engineering, etc.). We encourage a broad definition of training that will benefit the trainee and the cancer research ecosystem including but not limited to: trainee exchanges, co-supervision of trainees, internships, reciprocal laboratory visits, workshops, courses, webinars, community-based or collaborative learning, and other innovative ways to train and learn. The duration and complexity of training is to be commensurate with the training level and the award term (i.e., more complex and involved training plans and opportunities for postdoctoral fellows than for PhDs and for Master’s trainees, and for longer award terms). A training budget is provided, and use of the budget should be detailed.


    • Mentorship plan (3000 characters spaces included). Mentorship refers to mentoring that the trainee would participate in as mentee. Detail on the frequency and duration of mentoring, any potential barriers or risks, responsibilities of both the mentor and mentee, areas of focus and expected benefits (i.e., specific skills or opportunities gained) of each mentoring relationship should be provided. We support the development of a mentoring network (more than one mentor for the trainee, in different skill areas, both within and outside academic settings). Innovative mentoring approaches are suggested, such as peer / reciprocal mentoring, mentoring outside of academia such as organizational (i.e., business leaders or other skill mentoring), community, cultural, patient / caregiver, or virtual mentoring. The duration and complexity of mentorship is to be commensurate with the training level and the award term (i.e., more complex and involved mentorship plans and opportunities for postdoctoral fellows than for PhDs and for Master’s trainees, and for longer award terms). 

Additionally, a short (1500 characters each, spaces included) statement of commitment / support from any potential mentors is encouraged for PhD and postdoctoral applicants (but committed mentors are not required for application). If submitting mentorship statement(s) (2 maximum; the mentor statement cannot come from the direct supervisor) with the application, the statement(s) should detail the mentor’s responsibilities and expectations from their perspective, and commitment to the mentoring relationship.

7. Letter of commitment / support from the trainee’s direct supervisor(s) and a statement or video from a community member / patient / caregiver are required. The applicant will need to provide email addresses for the supervisor and community member / patient / caregiver, who will then be emailed a secure link to submit their document.


    • The letter of support from the supervisor should detail responsibilities (i.e., how the supervisor will foster growth), how the training environment is supportive of learning and success including equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles and practices applied by the supervisor and in the training environment, and any perceived barriers and mitigating strategies, as well as their overall assessment of the applicant’s suitability for the award.
    • The statement or video from the community member / patient / caregiver should be from an individual with insight into the trainee’s connection to community or community role, or research (i.e., from the community they self-identify with; a patient partner on their research team or who is directly impacted, etc.). This is not a formal reference letter but an opportunity for someone outside of academia to describe the applicant. The community member / patient / caregiver will be sent a secure link to answer the following questions (3000 characters each, spaces included):
  • What is your role in community or connection to the applicant’s research? What is the applicant’s role in or connection to community? (If applicable)
  • From your experience with the applicant, what potential impact do you think their research may have on patients, caregivers, or community?
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

8. Postdoctoral fellows: an additional document detailing proposed career plans and leadership skills and activities (leadership experiences and opportunities that would position the applicant to become a future leader in cancer research in Canada) (3000 characters total, spaces included)

We welcome inquiries about research projects, training, mentorship and other aspects of the training award application. CCS and partners may be able to support contact with mentors, cross-disciplinary training, and knowledge sharing. Please contact

There are three areas being evaluated in this competition by scientific, patient/survivor/caregiver and community/end-user reviewers. Relevant criteria are weighted within each reviewer type rating scale. Please refer to the application guide (Master's/PhDPostdoctoral) and rating scales (Master's/PhD, Postdoctoral) when preparing an application. 

All award recipients must submit annual progress reports and statements of account throughout the grant (and a final report 2 years post-grant). Awardees will be emailed instructions about completing the report in our online system (EGrAMS). Submission of these reports is mandatory. Failure to submit the required reports will result in the future installments of the award being withheld. 


Successful applicants will participate in annual meetings to share knowledge and network with each other and relevant stakeholders, including CCS staff and partners. The meetings may be designed as in-person or virtual events, to be determined. Additional information will be shared closer to the meeting date. Awardees are also expected to participate in CCS-led workshops and opportunities, when possible, which will facilitate networking and learning opportunities such as in knowledge translation or patient / stakeholder engagement.

Individuals may not concurrently hold an award similar to the Research Training Award (RTA). This includes all awards where the stipend amount is worth at least 40% of the RTA amount. Similar applications may be submitted to other agencies, but awardees cannot hold both where the stipend amount of the other award is at least 40% of the RTA.

Other partial stipends may be held (equal to less than 40% of the RTA stipend), subject to agreement from each funder, and the RTA stipend would be reduced by the partial amount.

Please contact for more information.

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

Our partners

The Alberta Cancer Foundation (ACF) is interested in supporting applications where both the trainee and supervisor are based in Alberta. Awards at the Postdoctoral level are of primary interest.

BHCRI is interested in supporting Awards at the Master's and PhD levels that align with the current requirements of BHCRI's training program.

BioCanRx is interested in supporting Black or Indigenous MSc student scholars in the area ofcancer immunotherapy research but will also support a scholar undertaking cancer policy research related to the cancer-related needs of Black or Indigenous communities. In addition to providing this support, the individual will become BioCanRx Highly Qualified Personnel and be entitled to participate in all Network training activities. We will also include the following EDI training and resources to the MSc student and in particular, the laboratory where the scholar will be working:

1) All investigators and direct supervisors take respect in the workplace, unconscious bias, and an Indigenous cultural safety course from the Canadian Diversity Initiative, if applicable;
2) We will share with both the scholar and supervisors the BioCanRx code of conduct as well as will be sharing our safe environment initiative information, both of which can be found on our website here:;
3) We encourage mentorship and have built a relationship with Indspire so that all Indigenous students going through our program can access their Rivers to Success mentorship program;
4) On a case-by-case basis we provide travel support for the student to either travel to a community they are working with and/or travel to the lab they are working with.

The CIHR Institute of Cancer Research has a specific interest in co-funding Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards

CPAC is specifically interested in supporting Master’s level trainees who self-identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis. The Partnership is open to any cancer research project that enables capacity building, regardless of research pillar or location within Canada.

CCMB is interested in supporting applications where both the trainee and supervisor are based in Manitoba and where the research activities will be undertaken in Manitoba. Awards at the PhD and Postdoctoral Fellow level are of primary interest.

CRS is a national not-for-profit organization whose sole mission is to fund research on all types of cancer, thereby contributing to the advancement of science aimed at preventing, detecting, and treating the disease. We have a specific interest in supporting trainees, at the Master’s, PhD, and postdoctoral level, in underrepresented groups to help reduce discrimination and inequity and support the full participation of talented individuals in building the next generation of cancer researchers.

Our organization has a specific interest in pediatric oncology, with trainees at any of our pediatric oncology institutions across Canada.

SHRF is interested in supporting applications where both the trainee and supervisor are based in Saskatchewan. Awards at the PhD and Postdoctoral Fellow level are of primary interest.

TFRI is interested in supporting applications at any award level and on any aspect of the cancer continuum and type of research.

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 (Master's/PhD ,Postdoctoral) for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for this award as well as other important information that you need to know.

Click here to submit your abstract (Master's and PhD)

Click here to submit your abstract (Postdoctoral fellows)

Click here to submit your full application