Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

Internal Grants Program

Masonic Cancer Center Internal Grants Program

The 2014 Internal Grants Program is closed. Six internal grant mechanisms were available through the Masonic Cancer Center.


The goal of this overall program is to foster the development of and provide support for novel research ideas that focus on a problem in cancer. In turn, the Cancer Center expects that these internal awards will lead to nationally peer reviewed funding. 


  • Start Date of Awards: January 1, 2015
  • Latest Date for Protocol Approval or proof of Submission: March 1, 2105
    (extensions granted for extenuating circumstances)

Pilot Grant Mechanisms    

Brainstorm Awards
The objective of the Brainstorm Awards is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations encompassing novel, hypothesis-driven studies of cancer or a cancer-related topic. The proposed project must be a joint, collaborative effort by at least two Cancer Center members from different programs or different disciplines, and must represent a new collaborative proposal. The Masonic Cancer Center is especially interested in Brainstorm Award applications that are focused on projects relevant to solid tumor oncology with translationalpotential. Projects that meet these criteria will be prioritized for funding, although it is not a prerequisite for application submission.

Cancer Detection, Treatment and Survivorship Awards
The objective of the Cancer Detection, Treatment and Survivorship Award is to support innovative studies of outcomes in pediatric and adult populations. Proposals may be at a population or patient level, may include descriptive and/or interventional studies, and may address quality of care, short or long term outcomes or quality of life. Preference will be given to proposals involving two or more CaDeTS investigators.

Cancer Prevention & Control Awards
The objective of the Prevention & Control Award in 2014 is to foster innovative cancer prevention research in the areas of nutrition and tobacco regulatory science. Collaborations across research programs is encouraged.

Hematologic Malignancy Innovations Awards 
The objective of the Hematologic Malignancy Innovation Award is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations encompassing novel basic or translational studies of hematologic malignancies. The proposed project must be a joint, collaborative effort by at least two Cancer Center members from different programs or different disciplines, and must represent a new collaborative proposal.

Mezin-Koats Colon Cancer Research Awards
The objective of the Mezin-Koats Colon Cancer Research Award is to support research, advance the knowledge around the treatment of colon cancer and improve the quality of life and treatment outcomes for people battling colon cancer.

Minnesota Chemoprevention Consortium (MC2) Awards
The objective of the Minnesota Chemoprevention Consortium Seed Grant is to stimulate collaborative research on topics directly relevant to the effective development and delivery of cancer chemoprevention agents, either naturally occurring or synthetic. The proposal must involve a collaboration between investigators from at least two of the following: Hormel Institute, UMN Twin Cities, UMN Southern Research and Outreach Center, and the Mayo Clinic.

SP3 (SPORE-Program-Project Planning) Award

Please refer to the SP3 application guidelines (PDF).

Translational Breast Cancer Research Awards
The objective of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Awards is to support research in the biology, prevention, detection, diagnosis, and/or treatment of breast cancer.

Translational Working Group Pilot Awards
(Note: Submission of Statement of Intent NOT required)
Pilot grants are available to fund projects that further the translational goals of the Translational Working Groups (TWGs). The purpose of the pilot project funding is to increase the pace at which translational science is accomplished. Proposals must have a cancer-related theme relevant to one of the TWGs and have the endorsement of the leader(s) of the relevant TWG. Each TWG may submit only one application. Examples of the types of projects that will be considered include: funds to carry out biomarker analysis for an ongoing clinical study; funds to support novel animal models needed for translational studies; funds to support the next stage of a drug development project (such as screening new compounds or toxicology studies of a lead compound) or funds to support an interdisciplinary collaboration that could lead to a translational grant application.

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Eligibility and Evaluation Criteria 

  • These Pilot Grants are available to Masonic Cancer Center members with faculty appointments at the University of Minnesota. Hourglass award applicants must be members of the Masonic Cancer Center and/or affiliated with the Center for Spirituality and Healing.
  • Applications must have a cancer or cancer-related theme.
  • The funds must be designated for the direct support of research. In general, funds should be used for supplies and support of research personnel (graduate students or technicians). Funds cannot be used to support faculty salaries. If faculty is required by the applicant’s home department, a letter from the department head committing to the cost-shared effort is required. Only equipment purchases that are directly required for the research are appropriate. No indirect costs should be included in the budget
  • The primary criteria for funding will be innovation, the quality of the research approach, and the potential for future outside funding to sustain or further develop the program. Proposed research must be hypothesis-driven and have the goal of using the award as a springboard to obtaining long-term support from federal/external sources.

  All applicants are required to have proper approvals (IRB/IACUC/IBC) before an award will be issued. Applicants are highly encouraged to apply for proper approvals at or prior to the time of submission. This will ensure that the study is approved by the start date of the award.

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Applying for Multiple Awards 

Applicants may submit to multiple mechanisms only if separate, unique applications are submitted. For each separate application, the PI must submit a separate Statement of Intent.   

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Application Process

Note: The SP3 Award application format is significantly different from the standard format. [Please download the application guidelines for further instruction.] 

Each application must meet the format and content requirements outlined below. Any application submitted late or incomplete will not be considered for review.

  • Submit Statement of Intent online
  • Formatting Guidelines:
    • Application format should follow NIH PHS 398 format whenever possible
    • 11 pt, Arial font preferred
    • 1/2 inch margines
  • These are one year awards with a start date of January 1, 2015
  • The proposal should contain the following information:
    • Cover Page
      • Must contain the following information: project title, names, credentials and titles of project leader
    • Research Plan, single-spaced (three page maximum)
      • Specific Aims
      • Research Strategy (Significance, Innovation, Approach)
        • Explanation of how proposed study will be the basis for future funding
        • Should not include preprints, reprints, or other forms of freestanding preliminary data as appendices
    • References (no page limit)
    • Biosketches for all key personnel—follow current NIH format (4 pages per Biosketch)
    • Current & Pending Support for all key personnel - follow NIH format, include federal and non-federal support
    • Detailed budget and justification, NIH format, project period:1/1/15 – 12/31/15
      • Research personnel (grad. students, lab staff, technicians etc.)— no faculty effort allowed unless required by home department (in which case, home department covers the effort, and a letter from department head is required along with application)
      • Research supplies
      • Core service expenses (e.g. flow cytometry, tissue procurement,etc.)
      • Small equipment (less that $2,500)
      • Animal costs
      • See each mechanism description for maximum requested amount
      • No indirect costs (internal award) 

Final Application due Friday, September 19, 2014, at 4:30pm – submit application with cover page as a single PDF file to:

Aaron Schilz, Research Grant Coordinator at

NOTE: A PRF is not required at the time of submission, but PIs will be required to submit a fully routed PRF at the time of award.   

Award Mechanism
Anticipated Awards Award Amounts
Brainstorm Award 2  $50,000
Cancer Detection, Treatment
and Survivorship Award
 1 $25,000
Cancer Prevention & Control Award 1 $25,000
Hematologic Malignancy Innovations Award 2 $25,000
Minnesota Chemoprevention
Consortium (MC2) Award
1 $50,000 w/o Mayo collaboration
$100,000 w/ Mayo collaboration
Translational Breast Cancer Research Award 2 $25,000
Translational Working Group (TWG) Pilot Awards 2-4 $25,000-$50,000

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Review Process  

Each mechanism has an internally-selected committee that will review applications. The committee will make recommendations for funding to the Masonic Cancer Center Director. De-identified, written reviews/critiques will be sent to all applicants.

Applicants will be notified of the review outcome by mid-December. Awards will be made for one year, with an anticipated activation date of January 1, 2015. Note that all IRB/IACUC/IBC approvals (if applicable) MUST be received before an award can be activated and no later than March 1, 2015.

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Reporting Requirements  

Principal investigators of funded projects will be required to provide a final report and an accounting of all funds expended at the completion of the project. If the project extends beyond awarded dates, a progress report will be required along with a request for an extension. Reports are to be submitted to each mechanism’s respective director.

During a period of up to 7 years following the end of the pilot award, if any grants or publications are obtained as a result of this pilot funding, awardees are required to submit this information to the Research Grant Coordinator at the Masonic Cancer Center.  

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Grant Program Contact

All questions related to the application process, requirements, or eligibility should be directed to:

Aaron Schilz, Research Grant Coordinator

Any questions regarding the applicability of research should be directed to:
David Largaespada, Ph.D.

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  • Last modified on December 30, 2014