Eligibility and requirements

Grants and awards for research will be awarded to projects deemed worthy of support, provided that the basic equipment and research facilities are available in the institution concerned and that it will provide the necessary administrative services.

Grants will be awarded for the purchase and maintenance of animals, expendable supplies, minor items of equipment, payment of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, technical and professional assistants and patient/survivor/caregiver partners, per patient costs for research participants , open access publication costs, research travel and permanent equipment. Grants do not provide for personal salary support of the Principal Investigator (PI) and/or Co-applicants nor for institutional overhead costs.

Awards (such as the Research Training Award) offer stipend support to cover the award holder’s salary (full amount to go to the trainee), as well as a training budget (see program description for eligible expenses).

A Principal Investigator must hold a firm academic position (as a primary appointment) which allows the individual to engage in independent research activities for the duration of the project and includes the ability to supervise trainees and publish research results. A researcher designated as the Principal Investigator must be based in, or formally affiliated with, an eligible Canadian Host Institution such as a university, research institute or health care agency.

Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates (who are not independent investigators), Adjunct Professors or Status only appointments (except where they hold a firm academic position at another Canadian institution), technical support staff, or investigators based outside of Canada are not eligible to be a Principal Investigator (see below for Research Training Award eligibility). Where there is uncertainty as to the eligibility of an individual due to their appointment/title, CCS encourages applicants to reach out for clarification. Both the Principal Investigator and executive authorities of the Host Institution are required to agree to the terms of the Host Institution/Canadian Cancer Society Agreement included as part of the application, thereby acknowledging and agreeing to all the responsibilities and obligations outlined in that Agreement.

The person named as the PI remains the PI on a grant for the duration of the grant unless given express permission by the Canadian Cancer Society.

Research Training Award (Master's, Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellow) Eligibility

Applicants for a Research Training Award must currently be completing a Master's, Doctoral, or Postdoctoral Fellowship during the term of the award. Master's or Doctoral applicants must be enrolled in or have applied to a graduate program with a significant cancer-related research component** at the Master’s or Doctoral level at a Canadian institution. The applicant must be enrolled in the program of study by the start date of the award and must remain enrolled for the duration of the award (the number of years of support requested cannot exceed the estimated number of years in the program). Part-time programs as well as joint programs with a professional degree (for example, MD/PhD) and/or clinically oriented programs of study are eligible if they have a significant autonomous cancer-related research component. Postdoctoral fellows may not hold an academic appointment at an institution and must maintain such status throughout the duration of the award. The main focus on their time should be dedicated to the proposed research throughout the tenure of the award.

**Note: An eligible graduate program must include a significant cancer-related 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 who do not yet hold an eligible position

Investigators who have a firm offer of an academic position (as defined above) at an eligible Host Institution can submit an application as Principal Investigator provided that the position commences by the start date of the grant. In such cases, a letter from an appropriate authority of the Host Institution must be submitted to CCS (research@cancer.ca), which provides clear details as to the exact nature of the appointment (including title and major responsibilities), as well as the expected start date and duration of the appointment.

A researcher designated as Co-Principal Investigator or Co-applicant is a researcher who may or may not have a formal affiliation with the Host Institution, but will take responsibility for particular administrative and scientific aspects of the research project. These categories can include Adjunct Professors or Status only appointments. These categories may not include graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates (who are not considered independent investigators), technical support staff, or investigators based outside of Canada. These individuals are not eligible to receive salary support from a grant.

The Additional Authors category formally recognizes other individuals who will make substantial intellectual contributions to the research project or have contributed to the drafting of the application itself, but who are not eligible to be included as Co-Principal Investigators or Co-applicants. Students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates lay contributors and investigators based outside of Canada may be included in this category. Students, post-doctoral fellows and research associates may receive salary support from a grant.

Knowledge Users (or Implementers/Decision-makers, depending on the funding opportunity), recognizes members of a research team who will use the knowledge and/or implement the approaches or interventions generated through the research in order to make informed decisions about health policies, programs and/or practices. Healthcare practitioners, policy makers, educators, decision makers, health care administrators, members of First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Urban Indigenous communities and organizations or racialized communities may be included in this category. CCS staff members participating on grants are to be included in this category. Individuals with lived or living experience of cancer are to be assigned as Patient/Survivor/Caregiver participants. Knowledge Users are not eligible to receive salary support from a grant. In some instances, exceptions may be made, but will be evaluated on case-by-case basis. Please contact CCS to discuss. 

Patient/Survivor/Caregiver participants (or People affected by cancer, depending on the funding opportunity) are defined as individuals who have been affected by cancer. This category may include anyone at elevated risk of cancer, who has been diagnosed with cancer,  or someone who provides physical and emotional care to someone with cancer, but not in a professional or vocational role. Patients/Survivors/Caregivers are eligible to receive financial remuneration from the grant for their participation (in line with CCS policy

Any question of eligibility or circumstances not described above should be referred to CCS for review and assessment.

The following may be required from all participating institutions, depending on the proposed work:

  • If this application involves the use of biological materials, a certificate must be submitted from each institutional Biohazards Committee guaranteeing that the project will be conducted under conditions which satisfy the "Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines", published by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Health Canada. Please reference their website for current guidelines.
  • If this application involves the use of experimental animals, a certificate must be submitted from each institutional Animal Care Committee guaranteeing that all animals will be cared for and studied under conditions meeting the standards stated in the Canadian Council on Animal Care guidelines.
  • If this application involves human experimentation, a certificate must be submitted from the appropriate Committee of each institution involved, stating that the protocols and methods have been found acceptable from an ethical point of view in accordance with the "TCPS 2 - Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans ", published by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
  • If this application involves First Nations, Inuit, Métis or Urban Indigenous communities and/or data, proof of alignment with Indigenous principles of self-determination and self-governance such as the First Nations Principles of OCAP® (Ownership, Control, Access and Possession), the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance, or other relevant principles of Indigenous self-determination in research will be required. 
  • Human embryonic stem cell research – Any investigator proposing human embryonic stem cell research must contact the Canadian Cancer Society prior to submitting an application. The Government of Canada has passed Bill C-6, An Act respecting assisted human reproduction and related research that regulates, among other things, the use and creation of human embryonic stem cells. The Act may be found on Justice Canada's website. Its provisions dictate the regulations incumbent on applicants, Host Institutions and the funder in the contemplation of carrying out of research covered by the legislation. This will often involve special ethics and other approval mechanisms (beyond approval via the usual local Ethics Review Board).

The Canadian Cancer Society has endorsed and adopted the Guidelines set forward by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, entitled Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research: Guidelines for CIHR-Funded Research. In addition, based on the recommendation of the CIHR-led Ad hoc Working Group on Stem Cell Research, a Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) has been struck. The SCOC will review applications dealing with human embryonic stem cells and other ethically sensitive human stem cell research to ensure that they are in accordance with CIHR's stem cell Guidelines. As with all ethical approvals, for any research grant involving human embryonic stem cells, it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the work proposed has been approved by the SCOC.

If the application involves the use of human samples, please note that the CCS is committed to ensuring that high-quality ethically sourced bio-specimens are used in research it funds, as these yield high, reproducible quality data. If human samples are included in projects submitted to the CCS, applicants are required to provide one of the following at time of funding:

1) Document that all bio-specimens will or have been collected in accordance with recognized standards, such as the Canadian Tissue Repository Network or equivalent (e.g. CLIA). Adherence to these standards and/or certification will be included as part of the peer review. Participation in external quality assurance programs will be considered eligible grant expenses.

2) Provide a brief description of the source, quality and handling procedure of the samples.

Please be advised that no funds will be released to successful applicants until all required certificates are received.

Grants and awards are made only with the consent and knowledge of the administrative head of the institution at which they are to be held and institutions must abide by the policies contained in the Host Institution/Canadian Cancer Society Agreement. Approvals indicate that the officials at the Host Institution have read and understood all of the various obligations of the parties, which includes a formal policy on Integrity in Research and Scholarship. No funds will be released to successful applicants without these approvals. Applicants are reminded that the agreement also contains a disclaimer and indemnity clause. Specific terms of the agreement are available on the CCS website and are subject to periodic updates.
Grant applications may contain requests for the support of professional assistants or research associates. It is recognized that research associates may often be key personnel in a research program. However, any person holding an academic rank equivalent to Assistant Professor or higher cannot be considered to be a professional assistant or research associate and therefore may not be paid from a grant.

The support of graduate trainees and postdoctoral fellows within grant applications are encouraged. CCS no longer utilizes a stipend scale for salaries for trainee support as part of a grant budget. Salaries requested should conform to the Host Institution rate based on the experience of the individual required for the project as of the first year of the project. If the person is unnamed, justify the need for the requested role (with the number of years of experience required) specifying the work to be undertaken.

Taxation will depend on each Host Institution policy regarding trainees.

Successful applicants will receive an official “Notification of Award” (NOA) indicating the duration and the value of the grant. The financial office and the research office of the Host Institution will also be informed. Results of the competition will be posted on the Canadian Cancer Society website. All applicants will subsequently be provided with the scientific critique prepared by the review panel. It is the objective of the Canadian Cancer Society to support the highest calibre of cancer research.

Grantees may use up to 5% of the grant budget for legitimate scientific and conference travel. Any monies spent on travel must be accounted for in annual accounting statements.

All grant and award recipients must submit scientific reports throughout the grant/award term and after the grant/award end date. Principal Investigators and award holders 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 on a grant or award being withheld.

Annual progress and end of grant reports

Grantees/awardees are asked to provide a summary of scientific progress, a list of publications and presentations associated with the grant/award, details on trainees (if applicable), and impacts of their research. Other specific updates may be requested, relevant to each grant or award. 

Post grant reports

As impacts of research may occur beyond the termination date, grantees/awardees must submit a “Post Grant” report two years after the grant/award termination date. The report will capture notable outcomes and publications not previously reported to CCS, status of trainees, etc.

In order to highlight research findings to the public, grantees/awardees are requested to contact CCS Research Communications (researchcomms@cancer.ca) with copies of important preprints and to involve the appropriate office in any media interactions that emanate from the funded research activities. The funder acknowledgement (see below) must be included in any announcements.

Please see the Canadian Cancer Society open access policy, which states that research findings must be made publicly available within twelve months of the peer-review publication date.

Grantees/awardees are expected to share their results, such as by publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and to present their findings at scientific conferences. 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 also strongly encouraged. 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. Grantees must acknowledge the funder in all scientific communications and media releases related to the grant or award. Proper acknowledgement would be "This research is supported by the Canadian Cancer Society (grant (or award) #XXXXXX)". Grants and awards co-funded /funded by a partner/donor will be advised of appropriate language for the acknowledgement in the Notification of Award (NOA).

An annual Statement of Account is required within 60 days of the grant/award year end via EGrAMS. The Financial Administration page describes policies and practices which govern how grant/award funds are spent.
The Canadian Cancer Society has a strict policy that it will not accept financial or other assistance from a manufacturer or wholesale distributor of tobacco products, nor will it knowingly accept financial or other assistance from any business if a substantial portion of the revenue of that business is derived from the promotion, distribution or sale of tobacco products.
Grantees and Host Institutions should be aware of the conditions and regulations that apply to all individuals receiving research funds or training assistance.