ASPIRE Award Policies

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research will execute a grant agreement with each Grantee institution. The policies stated herein are for informational purposes and do not reflect all the terms that may be incorporated into that agreement.

Use of Grant Funds

The Grant shall be used by Grantee only for the purpose of carrying out research in accordance with the Grantee’s project plan. The approved project plan will serve as an appendix to the Grant Agreement.

Grant Term:  The Mark Foundation is not responsible for expenditures made prior to the start date or those incurred after the end date or cancellation of the Grant. In the event that early termination of the Grant occurs, a revised end date will be determined.

Prohibited Use of Grant Funds: The Mark Foundation does not fund projects that are fully supported by another agency. Any areas of budgetary overlap or percent of effort dedicated to other projects must be resolved to The Mark Foundation’s satisfaction before the start date of the Grant term.

Return of Grant Funds: Any Grant funds not expended during the term of the Grant must be returned to The Mark Foundation no later than sixty days after the end date of the Grant term with the final Finance Report described below. In addition, any Grant funds expended for purposes or activities other than of the Grant must be repaid to The Mark Foundation within thirty days.

Budget: All budgets must be approved by The Mark Foundation prior to the start date of the Grant term. Below are non-exhaustive lists of allowable and unallowable expenses for use of Grant funds. Additional budget items may be determined to be allowable or unallowable before the execution of the Grant. Budgets are considered part of the project plan and will be attached to any Grant Agreement.

Allowable items
  • Salaries and related benefits proportional to the effort devoted to the project (Maximum recognized salary as determined by NIH cap)
  • Project-specific equipment. Equipment that costs more than $20,000 must be included as a line item in the budget with a budget justification paragraph.
  • Laboratory reagents and supplies required for Grant research
  • Travel up to $2,000 per year for meetings or presentations relevant to Grant
  • Publishing fees for publications relevant to Grant, up to $3000 per publication
  • Indirect costs up to 10% of direct costs
Unallowable items
  • Student or work visas
  • Infrastructure (including rent, office and laboratory renovations)
  • General office supplies or expenses
  • Personal computers or general software or equipment
  • Service contracts and maintenance costs. Exceptions may be made for equipment purchased with Grant funds that is dedicated solely to the funded project.
  • Institutional telecommunication fees or fees routinely charged regardless of project needs
  • Membership dues, journal subscriptions, books
  • Lobbying

Payments and Reporting

The initial payment will be made within fifteen days from the date of execution. Payment schedules are determined by the Grant term and reports as described below.  Any subsequent payments are dependent on receipt and acceptance of satisfactory Finance and Progress Report.

Installments of Grant Payments: The Mark Foundation must be reasonably satisfied with the progress and finance reports submitted by Grantee, and the progress achieved in completing the Project, before any future installments are released from The Mark Foundation. Description of reports are below. Report evaluation will be sent to Grantee within fifteen days of receipt. If a report is determined to be satisfactory, the following installment will be made within fifteen days of evaluation. If report is not satisfactory, the report evaluation will include a request for follow up information. Payments will also be withheld if The Mark Foundation has not received any due report, institutional assurance, or response to requests for follow up.

Progress Reports: Scientific progress reports are due to The Mark Foundation fifteen days after each six-month period of the Grant term (the final reports are due sixty days after the end date of the Grant term). Each report will summarize the progress made in accomplishing the aims of the project plan during the reporting period. Submitted reports will be evaluated based on the pace of work completed toward achievement of the aims. All reports will be treated as confidential. Reports may be reviewed by outside experts. Templates will be provided to the Grantee approximately thirty days before the due date.

The mid-year progress report may be accompanied by a presentation either in-person or via video conference.

Final reports will include a summary of the full term of the Grant including an impact statement describing the value of the work to the field and the Grant to the Principal Investigator.

Finance Reports: The Grantee institution will provide a finance report due within fifteen days after each six-month period of the Grant term with the final due sixty days after the end date of the Grant term. Reports will summarize how Grant funds were spent based on the approved budget. A template will be provided to the Grantee at least thirty days before the due date. Each finance report must be attested to by a responsible financial officer of the institution.

Additional Reports: On rare occasions, The Mark Foundation may request additional reports to monitor progress made in achievement of the Grant project plan. If additional reports are requested, the Grantee will be provided with the specific details and/or forms for the reports at least thirty days in advance of the due date.

PLEASE NOTE: Failure to submit a final report may exclude the Principal Investigator and/or the Grantee institution from eligibility for future funding from The Mark Foundation.

Institutional Assurances: All work under the Grant must be performed in compliance with institutional, federal, state and local regulations. Any use of human or animal subjects or biohazardous material must be disclosed at the time of application. All required assurances must be provided to The Mark Foundation prior to initial payment. Payments may be withheld in cases in which approvals have expired and renewals have not been provided. Grantees are encouraged to promptly submit any renewals obtained.

Changes to the Grant

Budget Adjustments: The Grantee must inform The Mark Foundation if there are significant changes in the purposes of the Grant, the use of Grant funds, or if the Grant funds cannot be expended in the time period covered by the Grant. No portion of the Grant funds may be used for purposes other than those specified in the project plan unless The Mark Foundation has provided advanced written permission. Budget revision requests will be considered but changes cannot exceed the stated caps described above. Budget revision requests are not necessary when shifting funds within a single category up to 15 percent.

No Cost Extension: When funds are not anticipated to be fully dispersed, no cost extensions may be requested at least sixty days before the end date of the Grant term. For consideration, the institution must provide The Mark Foundation with the approximate amount of remaining funds, the reason for the delayed spending, an adjusted budget, and an interim finance report.

Change of Research Direction: The Mark Foundation acknowledges that scientific research is not always predictable. Any substantial changes to the project plan must include a budget revision and be submitted for approval.

Transfer of Institution: The Grant is provided to the institution of the principal investigator. In the event that the principal investigator changes institutions, The Mark Foundation should be informed of the move as early as possible. The Grant may be terminated at the original institution with unexpended funds and the final finance report due sixty (60) days after the Grant terminates. The Mark Foundation will consider written requests for Grant transfers or alternative measures to continue the Grant.

Commercialization

The Mark Foundation must be informed of any patent filing or commercialization efforts within thirty days of the Principal Investigator and/or the institution becoming aware of such efforts.

Data Sharing

In furtherance to our mission, The Mark Foundation takes an active approach to ensuring outcomes from our funding benefit the patient community by encouraging widespread and rapid data sharing. The Mark Foundation expects project data to be made available to research community within eighteen months of the end date of the Grant term at no cost for non-commercial use to advance the understanding of cancer and to maximize scientific and patient impact.

Publications, Acknowledgements and Publicity

Scientific publications: When any work under this Grant is published in a scientific journal, funding from The Mark Foundation should be acknowledged with the line, “______ is supported by an ASPIRE Award from The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, grant#______.” A manuscript must be provided to The Mark Foundation at the time of acceptance to any journal.

Presentations: When any work under this Grant is reported during a presentation, funding from The Mark Foundation must be acknowledged, and an approved logo graphic included as appropriate.

Media: Press releases or other public announcements of any work under this Grant require written consent of The Mark Foundation.

Publicity by The Mark Foundation

The Mark Foundation will post on its website a summary of the grant project. This material may also be shared via social media. The principal investigator and co-investigators must provide photos to The Mark Foundation prior to the start of the grant.