Program Overview


The Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Awards support innovative cancer research from the next generation of leaders. These grants are awarded to outstanding early career investigators to support high-impact, high-risk projects that are distinct from their current research portfolio.

Eligibility


  • MD, PhD, or equivalent is required.
  • Applicants need not be U.S. citizens but must be employed by a U.S. non-profit academic institution.
  • Applicants must be three to nine years from the start of an independent faculty research appointment as of December 31, 2021 (i.e., the official start date of the appointment must fall within the calendar years 2012-2018). Exceptions due to prolonged medical or family leave will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Note that we have extended eligibility to nine years from the start of an independent faculty research appointment from the usual eight years to allow for applicants who may have been in their final year of eligibility in 2020 and did not apply due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This award is not intended to be the main source of funding for the applicant’s laboratory. Applicants must demonstrate multi-year independent funding that sustains the central activities of the laboratory (e.g., at least one or two grants such as NIH/R01, NSF/CAREER, or equivalently substantial multi-year awards). Individual eligibility will be determined during the review process.
  • Projects for this award must be centered on evidence-based laboratory, data, and/or medical science.
  • Proposed projects must not be supported by other sources of funding. Finalists will be asked to discuss any potential overlap with other current or pending awards during the interview.
  • Only one submission per applicant is permitted.
  • If selected, finalists must be available for virtual interviews the week of October 10, 2021.
  • The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or any other legally protected characteristics.

Award Terms


  • The grant amount is $250,000 per year for three (3) years totaling $750,000.
  • Indirect costs are not to exceed 10% of direct costs and are included in total.
  • In Year 3, at The Mark Foundation’s discretion, select Awardees may be invited to apply for up to two (2) years of additional funding depending on project progress.
  • Award start date will be January 1, 2022.

Submission Process


  • Letters of Intent will be accepted through the online portal beginning March 24 and must be received no later than 5 PM Eastern Time on Monday, May 3, 2021. Registration and email address verification are required.
  • The Letter of Intent will include:
    • Project Title
    • Project Summary: description of the proposed project, including a concise discussion of the rationale, experimental approach, innovation, and potential impact (350 words).
    • Statement of Project Distinction: brief paragraph describing how the proposed project is unique from the main focus of the lab and prior research activities.
  • Applicants will also be requested to provide an NIH biosketch and a list of current grants and other funding supporting the lab.
  • The initial review process of the Letters of Intent will conceal the applicant’s name and institution. Please avoid citations and references to the applicant and institution name in the Project Summary and Statement of Project Distinction.
  • After the Letters of Intent have been evaluated, full applications will be accepted by invitation only.

Key Dates


March 24, 2021……………………………………. Letter of Intent Portal Opens

May 3, 2021………………………………………….Letters of Intent Due by 5pm ET

Week of June 13…………………………………… Applications Invited

July 26, 2021…………………………………………Applications Due by 5pm ET

Week of October 3………………………………….Finalists Notified

Week of October 10………………………………..Virtual Interviews of Finalists

Week of October 17………………………………..Selection of Awardees

December 10, 2021………………………………..Signed Agreements Due

January 1, 2022……………………………………..Grant Start Date