In 2018 the Tower Cancer Research Foundation will be funding a 5-year $1,000,000 scientific grant in Molecular Genetics for an investigator whose laboratory research is believed to potentially have a significant impact in understanding cancer biology and thereby have a potential impact in cancer care.

Qualified grant applicants will need to have a letter of recommendation from the Chief of their division or Chair of their Department.

This is the first time Tower Cancer Research Foundation is awarding such a significant grant.


Tower Cancer Research Foundation supports forward thinking scientists from Southern California’s premier academic medical centers. In general, the scientific advisory board evaluates grant applications based on the following criteria:

  • Novelty of hypothesis
  • Scientific quality
  • Potential for revealing something meaningful about cancer
  • Feasibility of the proposal
  • Evidence of institutional support for the project

One $1,000,000 5-year Investigator grant will be awarded this grant cycle.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must hold an assistant professor position or higher. (No preference is given to any title - non-tenure and tenure assistant, associate, and full professors are all given equal consideration). Projects with Co-Principal Investigators are also eligible.
  • Applicants must be Southern California based.
  • The project must entail research towards potential oncological clinical application in the area of molecular genetics. The project may be laboratory-based or “translational”, meaning it may involve clinical subjects but must have a direct laboratory component.
    • Projects using human xenograft models in mice are eligible.
    • Projects that are expected to reach clinical trial within five years are eligible. The last year or two can be used to fund correlative studies.
  • The Principal Investigator must hold either an MD or a PhD (or both) and have an existing active lab.
  • 60% of the Principal Investigator ‘s time must be protected time for research in general (not necessarily for the proposed project only)
  • Principal Investigators are not required to have funds already secured in order to apply for the Investigator Grant. Likewise, investigators with other private or government funding are still eligible to apply.

Funding Terms

  • The Investigator recipient will receive a $1,000,000 grant ($200,000 annually for 5 years, 2018-2022). One Investigator Grant will be awarded in this grant cycle.
  • The grant award must be used to cover research related expenses between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2023. All grant awards are for 5 years only with no guarantee of renewal.
  • Grant funds are to be applied towards salary, processing fees, equipment and/or supplies. There is no salary cap for Principal Investigators. Grant funds are not permitted to be used for overhead expenses (i.e. rental expenses, equipment maintenance, and insurance fees are not allowable costs).

Submission Procedures

  • Completed applications must be submitted electronically to Kelli at [email protected]. Submissions are due Friday, March 30, 2018. Applicants will receive an email confirming receipt of the submission.
  • For questions regarding the application or application process contact Kelli at (424)230-7154 or [email protected].
  • Applications will be reviewed by a panel of renowned clinician-scientists determined by Tower Cancer Research Foundation.  Applicants will be notified by Tuesday, May 1, 2018 of the panel’s decision.

Formatting Guidelines

  • Email the application as 1 PDF document, no other document formats accepted.
    • NOTE: This may require printing the completed budget and basic information documents, manually placing each in the correct order within the application, and then scanning the entire application back in as a PDF.
  • Title the PDF completed application document as listed below:
    • Last Name.InvestigatorGrant.Institution.Date of Submission
  • Include a header with the applicant’s last name, first name in the upper right hand corner and a footer with the page number on the bottom right hand corner of each page of the application. (This excludes the first page of the Basic Information form downloaded from the Tower Cancer Research Foundation website).
  • Use Times New Roman or Arial font no smaller than size 11. Minimum of 0.8 inch paper margins on all sides.
  • Follow the section order of the outline listed below and adhere to the page maximums indicated for each section. Only complete and correctly ordered applications will be considered.
  • Write the section heading in bold at the beginning of each portion of the application (use the exact titles indicated in the following outline).


Application Outline

1. Table of Contents
Create a table of contents with the corresponding page numbers for each section of the application:

  • Section 1: Basic Information
  • Section 2: Non-Technical Abstract
  • Section 3: Technical Abstract
  • Section 4: Biographical Sketch
  • Section 5: Description of Proposed Project
  • Section 6: Personal Statement
  • Section 7: Budget
  • Section 8: Certifications or Statements of Exemption
  • Section 9: Publication Reprints

1. Basic Information (total of 3 pages)

Please download and complete the Investigator Basic Information forms found on our webpage. DOWNLOAD

2. Non-Technical Abstract (maximum of 100 words)

Briefly describe your project in 100 words or less using NON-TECHNICAL language. The description should explain the significance of the proposed work to the field. It should be understandable to the average reader of a daily newspaper.

3. Technical Abstract (maximum of 100 words)

Briefly describe your project in 100 words or less using TECHNICAL language. The description should explain the significance of the proposed work to the field.

4. Biographical Sketch

Option 1:  Submit your official NIH Biographical Sketch


Option 2: In place of an official NIH Biographical Sketch (option 1), applicants may submit documents a-d listed below:

a. List all degrees earned in chronological order with the most recent position at the top and baccalaureate at the bottom. Post-doctoral training should be included. For each item listed, please include the following:

  • Educational/Training (if applicable)
  • Institution and location
  • Degree Earned
  • Years spent toward completion
  • Field of Study

b. List all previous employment, experience, and honors in chronological order with the most recent position at the top. List all publications during the last 3 years as well as any prior publications pertinent to this application. Publications should be listed in chronological order with the most recent publication at the top. List all current and pending research support including individual and institutional support available for the proposed project. For each item listed, please include the following:

  • Source of support
  • Identifying number
  • Project Title
  • Name of Principal Investigator/Program Director
  • Annual Direct Costs
  • Total Period of Support

5. Description of Proposed Project (max of 10 pages including tables, figures etc.)

Provide a clear statement of the work to be undertaken and may include (but is not limited to):

  • Background and Relevant Knowledge
  • Specific Aims
  • Research Plan
  • Study Population
  • Methods
  • Data Analysis
  • Analytic Strategy
  • Discussion and Expected Outcomes
  • Relevance

6. Personal Statement (max of 1 page)

Applicants are to use this section to provide any additional relevant personal information. Applicants are to use their own discretion in determining what information to include.

7. Budget

Please download and complete the Budget Template. DOWNLOAD

Applicants are to provide a yearly budget for each year of the grant period as well as a cumulative budget for the entire grant period (all 5 years).

NOTE: The application must be submitted as 1 PDF document, no other document formats accepted. This may require printing the completed budget, manually placing it in the correct order within the application, and then scanning the entire application back in as a PDF.

8. Certifications or Statements of Exemption (if applicable)

  • Vertebrate Animals Certification (either the IRB-approved protocol covering the project or the NIH Human Subjects Research Certificate)
  • Human Subjects Certification(either the respective agency numbers or the actual CITI certifications for the Principal Investigator)
  • Bio Hazard Certification

9. Publication Reprints

Two to three publication reprints are required. However, applicants may attach all those that are relevant to the proposal. This is not restricted to only those publications in press, prior publications can be included. There is no page limit for this section.