Call for proposals: Cancer Program pilot grants 2017

August 12, 2016



The Cancer Program of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) invites applications for pilot grants to be awarded for research in 2017. The intent is to provide resources for innovative projects in cancer stem cell biology, including basic and translational research. This funding is for innovative, high-impact research projects that will fundamentally advance current understanding of cancer stem cells.  Particularly welcome are applications that promote the Program mission: To identify critical genes and pathways that sufficiently distinguish cancer from normal stem cells and hence serve as candidate targets for therapy

Both single and multi-investigator, multi-institution proposals are welcome.

- Single investigator projects will be funded at a maximum of $75,000 per year, including 20% indirect costs. All personnel, including the PI, must commit effort, even if salary is not requested.

- Multi-investigator projects may include thematically related sub-projects by investigators from at least two different institutions and will be funded at a maximum of $100,000 per year, including 20% indirect costs. All personnel, including the respective PIs, must commit effort, even if salary is not requested.

The number of pilot grants awarded will depend on available funds, the number and quality of proposals submitted, and the composition of individual versus collaborative projects. HSCI reserves the right not to fund any project. Each submission may request one or two years of funding. Decision on the duration and level of funding will be made by the HSCI executive committee, following advice from an ad hoc committee appointed to review all applications. For projects that are awarded two years of funding, the second year is contingent on achievement of milestones specified for the first year and will be at the discretion of the HSCI executive committee.

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.

Eligibility Criteria

These pilot grants are targeted to members of the Harvard community with PI rights. Only individuals with PI status in their home institutions, with independent laboratory space and prior independent funding (such as start-up funds or sponsored awards), as verified by a home institution research/finance administrator, are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to excellent projects from PIs not currently funded by HSCI.

You must have HSCI Principal or Affiliated Faculty status before you submit a proposal. To become an HSCI Affiliated Faculty member, simply email your CV with a statement of your research interests to Dr. Jordan Kreidberg at  The review and approval process may take a few days, so it is advisable to send the email to Dr. Kreidberg as soon as possible.  

Application Process

All applications must contain the following:

1. Project Title

2. PI and institution names

3. Abstract (up to 1/3 page)
  • Brief statement summarizing the key points of the proposal
4. Research Proposal (for single PI proposals max. 3 pages; for multi investigator proposals max. 3 pages per sub-project)
  • Background and Rationale
  • Specific Aims
  • Milestones
  • Key risks and plans to mitigate
  • References
5. Budget 
  • HSCI budget template (NIH format), available upon request. 
  • For single PI proposals, the total project costs may not exceed $75,000 per year, including 20% indirect costs, for a period up to two years.
  • For multi investigator proposals, the total project costs may not exceed $100,000 per year, including 20% indirect costs, for a period up to two years. Two or more investigators may submit proposals with unequal subproject budgets, and the PI for each subproject must submit a separate budget. 
6. Budget justification/narrative (for single PI proposals max. 1 page; for multi investigator proposals max. 1 page per sub-project; each sub-project must have a separate budget justification) 
  • Justify proposed costs at the line-item level of detail
  • Include effort committed by all personnel even if salary is not requested (PIs must commit effort)
  • Include supplies 
7. Biographical sketch of applicant (standard NIH 4-page format)
  • Include a listing of “other support” for the proposed project, using a 5th page if necessary 
8. Letter of institutional support
  • Must include an authorized institutional signature (as determined by applicant’s home institution policies for research proposal submission—usually a central grants office official) as confirmation that the host institution approves the proposed scope and budget; upload PDF with signature 
- Letters of recommendation are not needed

-Papers in press can be included in the references and submitted with the application

Submission process

Please send your application by email to by 5 PM Eastern Time on Friday, October 7, 2016. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Review Criteria

A key goal of the HSCI Cancer Program is to improve human health by supporting basic, translational or clinical work in cancer stem cell biology. Factors for reviewers’ consideration include: scientific quality, relevance to the HSCI mission, and the project’s potential to open new areas of thought and investigation.

Three members of the HSCI scientific community will independently evaluate the proposals primarily for their potential to advance these goals. They will also consider the availability of alternative funding sources and the potential to promote future collaborative research, particularly between institutions. Recommendations from the reviewers will be considered by the HSCI Executive Committee for final decision. 


Programmatic questions regarding the Cancer Program Pilot Grants may be addressed to Karin Lee, Program Development Director, at (617) 495-4388 or

Administrative questions on the Cancer Program Pilot Grants may be addressed to Robert Perez, Grants Officer, at   

Summary timeline 

Application due date: Friday, October 7, 2016
Review outcome notification: Friday, November 18, 2016

Award start date: Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Thank you for your interest in HSCI

*   *   * 

hsci_cancerprogrampilotgrantsrfp2017.pdf264 KB
See also: 2016, Announcement