AACI Translational Cancer Research Fellowship


Program Summary
The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) is comprised of 93 leading cancer research centers in the United States. AACI’s membership roster includes National Cancer Institute-designated centers and academic-based cancer research programs that receive NCI support. The Association is dedicated to promoting the nation’s leading research institutions’ efforts to eradicate cancer through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary program of cancer research, treatment, patient care, prevention, education and community outreach. A complete membership directory can be found at www.aaci-cancer.org.

The intent of the fellowship is to provide additional support to individuals who are engaged in any area of clinical and/or translational cancer research in order to further the development of their careers and enhance their future success in an academic discipline. The AACI fellowship will provide a one-year non-renewable grant to support post-doctoral training to individuals who have completed at least one year of training in any field of oncology and have at least one year of training remaining at an AACI member institution.

This award is designed to help insure that qualified applicants receive research training and experience under the guidance of highly trained, well-respected researchers who have demonstrated success in their field of research. The goal is to assist the trainee in becoming a high-caliber, productive independent researcher with an enduring focus on the importance of translational research relevant to cancer.

The one-year $50,000 fellowship grant may provide support for the trainee’s salary and benefits, stipend, and/or direct research expenses while working on a clinical and/or translational cancer research project.

Awards are given based on individual merit and availability of funds.

Important Dates

Application Deadline: February 3, 2014
Decision Date: Mid-May 2014
Start of Grant Term: July 1, 2014

Applicant Eligibility Criteria
Applicant/s must be committed to advancing patient-oriented research. The successful applicant must:
      • Be sponsored by a mentor from an AACI member cancer center (one applicant permitted per institution);
      • Have completed at least one year of training in any oncology specialty and have at least one year of training
          remaining at an AACI member institution;
      • Show innovation with potential for major scientific or clinical advancement;
      • Have an appropriate mentor for the project;
      • Hold a professional degree of MD, PhD, PharmD, DO, or MD/PhD or foreign equivalency;
      • Not yet have been appointed to a faculty position, including that of instructor.

Applicants must be in the first five years of a postdoctoral or clinical research fellowship at an AACI member academic, medical, or research institution.

Investigators holding the rank of instructor, adjunct professor, assistant professor, research assistant professor, the equivalent or higher are not eligible.

Applicants with a question about their eligibility are encouraged to contact AACI at kate@aaci-cancer.org before submitting an application.

Research Project Criteria
Research projects must relate directly to translational cancer research and must demonstrate feasibility.

Applicant Sponsorship/Endorsement
Applicants must be sponsored by their postdoctoral mentor. A mentor may sponsor only one applicant for this grant opportunity per year and there can only be one applicant per institution. Applicants must submit a letter from their mentor with their application, along with the NIH biographical sketch of the mentor.

Evaluation of Applications
AACI Leadership will annually appoint the members of the AACI Fellowship Review Committee (FRC). The committee will consist of individuals respected for their own accomplishments in cancer research and as leaders in the field.

The committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing applications:

Applicant: The applicant’s potential and commitment to become an important contributor to translational cancer research; previous academic and/or clinical performance; the mentor, the institution, and the environment; evidence of commitment to a career in translational cancer research; awards and honors; other relevant research experience; professional training; and publications.

Mentor and Training Environment: The qualifications of the mentor including his or her research expertise and prior experience as a mentor; the degree to which the level of funding for the proposed project, the proposed training program, and the institution will be conducive to successful postdoctoral training.

Project Proposal: The overall merit of the research proposal and the general approach, considering the applicant’s research background and the respective contributions of the applicant and the mentor in the development of the research proposal; the extent to which the proposed study addresses an important problem related to cancer.

The committee will consider each year’s Fellowship applicants independently, without regard to the topics covered in previous successful proposals or to the institutions of the previous grantees.

Grant Terms and Conditions
Acceptance: All grant recipients must attend the AACI Annual Meeting in the year following the award to present their research findings. The grantee must agree to commence the research project described in the research proposal on or about July 1, 2014. No changes may be made to the proposal of the research project before the initiation of the grant terms. AACI retains the right to terminate the grant if the research project will not commence in a timely fashion as described in the proposal.

Use of Funds: The Fellowship, provided to the recipient’s institution, is to be used to support the salary and benefits and/or stipend of the Fellow. Up to 25% of the total budget may be designated for direct research expenses; up to $1,200 of the fellowship award may be allocated to AACI annual meeting travel costs. Indirect costs are not covered by the fellowship. In addition, tuition, travel (other than to the AACI Annual Meeting as noted above), professional membership dues, general office supplies, institutional administrative charges (i.e. telephone, IT network, other electronic communication, etc.), and publication charges are not allowable expenses.

A detailed budget and justification explaining the allocation of the grant funds must accompany the application.

Partial funding of the proposed research from other sources is acceptable and encouraged to leverage the impact of the AACI Fellowship for Translational Cancer Research. However, it is the responsibility of the grantee to ensure that the total amount charged for any given research expense across all funding sources does not exceed 100% of the actual cost of that research expense. Applicants are responsible for determining whether acceptance of this grant would jeopardize support they may receive from other sources.

Payments: Lump sum payment will be made on or around July 1, 2014.

Reporting Requirements: The grantee must submit a written progress and financial report at the completion of the award period. Final written progress and financial reports shall be submitted to the AACI no later than sixty (60) days after the ending date of the grant term.

AACI may provide copies of the final progress reports to the funder supporting the grant. AACI and the funder may use all or portions of the reports for public dissemination, such as within a newsletter, on their Websites, annual reports, etc.

Publications & Acknowledgement of Support: All publications resulting from research funded in whole, or in part by the grant must include the following acknowledgement: “Research supported by the AACI Fellowship for Translational Cancer Research.” In addition, whether during the term of the grant or afterwards, the grantee shall include this citation on any publicity or communications (external or internal) resulting from the grant, including but not limited to press releases, media reports, interviews, conference talks, and poster presentations of data. Copies of such publications must be forwarded to AACI.

Intellectual Property: The grantee and the institution shall notify AACI of any discovery that is or may be patentable or otherwise protectable under applicable law and that is discovered in the course of the research funded by this grant. The grantee and the institution shall be responsible for obtaining patent or other legal protection for each invention that grantee or the institution believe to have commercial potential, and for paying all costs associated with obtaining such protection. They are solely responsible for all commercial exploitation of any invention and AACI and the funder will have no responsibility. Grantee and the institution shall notify AACI of the granting of each patent or other legal protection and of all commercial exploitation of any invention.

Insurance: Institution (Grantee) shall hold harmless AACI, its directors, committee members, employees, affiliates, and agents, from personal injury claims, liabilities, and losses to the extent arising from or caused by any negligent, reckless or intentionally wrongful act or omission of Institution (Grantee), its employees, or agents in carrying out the research project described in the Project Proposal, except to the extent that such claims, liabilities, or losses arise from or are caused by any negligent, reckless or intentionally wrongful act or omission of AACI, its directors, committee members, employees, affiliates, or agents.

Organizational Assurances:
For research involving human subjects the grantee shall certify that:
The proposed research project, at the time of funding, will have been reviewed and approved in writing by an accredited university or medical school Institutional Review Board (IRB) constituted in accordance with current regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and approved by HHS or by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs in the absence of an HHS-approved university or medical school IRB.

The grantee shall secure a legally acceptable informed consent from all human subjects taking part in any research funded in whole or in part by AACI in accordance with and to the extent required by current regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and approved by HHS. If the applicant is chosen as a grant recipient, IRB certification must be documented by submitting a copy of the institutional letter of approval, which identifies the grantee, project title, AACI as the funding agency, and date of approval, and is signed by the IRB Chair or equivalent responsible institutional official. Prior IRB certification for another project cannot be substituted, but can be officially amended to include the proposed project. Funds will NOT be released unless and until proof of IRB certification is received by AACI.

For research involving animals:
The institution shall ensure compliance with applicable chapters of the Public Health Service Animal Welfare Policy, the NIH Manual for Grants and Contracts, and any and all requirements of the institution concerning animal welfare. If the applicant is chosen as a grant recipient, certification by the Institution Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or equivalent must be documented by submitting a copy of the Institutional letter of approval, which identifies the grantee, individual responsible for the project, project title, AACI as the funding agency, date of approval, and is signed by the IACUC Chair or equivalent institution official. Prior IACUC certification for another project cannot be substituted, but can be officially amended to include the proposed project.

Notification of Changes: The mentorship is an important component to this fellowship and it is therefore not portable to another institution. AACI reserves the right to terminate the grant if the recipient’s position, research project, institution, or funding support changes substantially from what was described in the application.

Grant Termination: A grant may be terminated by the AACI at any time within the grant term for any of the following conditions:
    • Non compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant;
    • Significant deviation from the project's stated aims or the approved budget without prior approval;
    • Grantee action inconsistent with the stated objectives of the program;
    • Scientific fraud including fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing scientific research or in
        research results.

Generally, the AACI will allow the grantee to take corrective measures should the possibility of termination arise. In such cases, the grant will be suspended until corrective actions are taken as outlined by the AACI. The AACI will notify the grantee and institution as to the nature of the insufficiencies and give the grantee and institution a reasonable opportunity (not to exceed 60 days) to resolve the insufficiencies to the reasonable satisfaction of the AACI. If the insufficiencies are not resolved within a reasonable time of not more than 60 days or are not otherwise resolved to the reasonable satisfaction of the AACI, the AACI may upon written notice to the institution terminate the grant. In the event of grant termination, the grantee shall receive a 30-day written notice. Upon notification by the AACI of termination, a final Financial Report of expenditures must be submitted with a final Progress Report of the work accomplished to date, as well as a check for any free and unobligated balance.