Call for Proposals: 2022 HSCI Cancer Program Pilot Grants

February 2, 2022

Up to $100,000 for entire project period
Project period not to exceed 2 years

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Friday, March 4,  2022

April  1, 2022

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Cancer Program invites applications for pilot grants to be awarded for research in 2022. The intent is to provide resources for innovative projects dissecting stem/developmental programs in solid tumors that would help foster collaborations within the HSCI research community. This funding is for innovative, high-impact research projects. Multi-investigator, multi-institution proposals are encouraged; of specific interest to this funding cycle are proposals that dissect mechanisms that enable malignant stem cells to evade the immune system. Additionally, the applications should promote the Program mission: To identify critical genes and pathways that sufficiently distinguish cancer from normal stem cells and hence may serve as candidate targets for therapy.

Special consideration will be given to proposals that could lead to further funding, such as a program project grant. The HSCI Cancer  Program intends to award up to two grants in response to this call for proposals, contingent upon the number and quality of the proposals received, as well as the availability of HSCI Cancer  Program funds. All proposals will be reviewed by the HSCI Cancer Program and the Executive Committee. The HSCI reserves the right to not award any seed grants in this cycle.

It is understood that any tool or reagent generated as part of an HSCI Cancer Program Pilot Grant will be available for sharing with the wider HSCI community.

Any pilot grants awarded during this cycle will be funded at up to $100,000 in total costs (including indirect costs, maximum 20% of total direct costs-basis), for the total project period not to exceed two years. For example, $100,000 for a one-year project, or $50,000 each year for a two-year project.

Application Due Date: Friday, March 4, 2022

Eligibility criteria

All principal investigators working in the field of cancer, stem cell, and cellular therapy  and affiliated with Harvard, are welcome to apply.  Junior investigators are especially encouraged to apply. In applications from two collaborating labs, at least one of the labs must be affiliated with the HSCI and both labs must be affiliated with Harvard. In order to be awarded an HSCI pilot grant, both investigators must meet all of the following criteria (as verified by a research/finance administrator at each investigator’s home institution):

  • Have Principal Investigator status at their home institution
  • Have independent laboratory space assigned to them in their own name (i.e. not assigned space via another investigator)
  • Have independent funding sources in their own name (i.e. start-up funds or sponsored awards)
  • Have any necessary approvals for proposed research in place no later than April 1, 2022.

Application requirements and guidelines

All proposals submitted in response to this call for proposals must contain the following components, each of which must include the enumerated elements:

​​​​​1. Proposal Title & Abstract (1 pg. max.)

1.1. Proposal title, PI(s) name(s), PI(s) home institution(s)

1.2. Abstract (lay-oriented language, 2,500 characters, incl. spaces, max.)

2. Research Proposal (3pgs. max., with pages numbered)

2.1. Background/Rationale

2.2. Specific research aims

2.3. Preliminary studies (if applicable)

2.4. Anticipated research milestones

• Pages listing references do NOT count against 3 pg. limit

3. Annual Budget Pages

3.1. Total annual costs may not exceed $100,000, including indirect costs for up to two years

3.2. Indirect costs may not exceed 20% of total direct costs

3.3. Submit separate budgets which show the amount of funding called for each PI, whether PIs have different home institutions or not

• Equipment is not allowed on HSCI seed grants

• Travel may not exceed $1k

• HSCI budget template strongly encouraged (template available upon request)

4. Budget Justification (1 pg. max.)

4.1. Justify all proposed budget items at the line-item level of detail

4.2. Describe effort committed by all personnel on budget, even if no salary called

4.3. PI is required to commit effort on the project

5. PI Biosketches (4 pgs. max. per biosketch)

5.1. NIH format

5.2. List recent financial support, indicate if directly applicable to the proposed project

5.3. May include up to 10 listings of recent/relevant publications

6. Letter of Institutional Review & Approval

6.1. Must be signed by an authorized institutional representative (as determined by investigator’s home institution’s policies for research proposal submission) as confirmation that the home institution has reviewed and approved the research and budget

• For a proposal in which PIs have different home institutions, a letter from each institution is required

7. Appendices (optional)

7.1. One copy each of no more than two relevant publications may be attached to the proposal

Submission process

The 2022 HSCI Cancer Program Pilot Grant application can be found at:

Applicants must complete the online application by the submission deadline.

  • Complete all required fields
  • Upload all proposal documents in PDF format
  • Proposal components should be ordered according to the order listed above
    • Proposals must be submitted by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on Friday, March 4, 2022.
  • You will receive an email confirmation of your submission; save this email for your records

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applications will be reviewed by the HSCI Cancer Program and Executive Committee in March, and all applicants will be notified of the outcome of the review process by end of March 2022. Successful applicants will be issued a pilot grant with a funding start date of April 1, 2022. Project period is for April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022  for one year duration and April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023  for two year durations (total funds available remain the same).

Review criteria

The goal of the HSCI Cancer Program is to identify critical genes and pathways that sufficiently distinguish cancer from normal stem cells and hence may serve as candidate targets for therapy. Factors for reviewers’ consideration include: scientific quality, relevance to the HSCI Cancer Program mission, career development and recruitment/retention, value for money, potential to promote collaboration within the HSCI community, and regulatory issues.

The HSCI Executive Committee will evaluate proposals primarily for their potential to advance these goals. However, the HSCI will also consider the potential of the proposal to secure funding from other sources as-is, and/or the potential of the proposed research, if successful, to secure follow-on funding from public, philanthropic, or commercial sources.


Questions about the HSCI Cancer Program may be addressed to Robert Perez, HSCI Grants Officer, at

Thank you for your interest in the HSCI Cancer Program.

hsci_cancer_pilot_grant_2022.pdf148 KB