Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: V Foundation 2020 V Clinical Scholar Program

This is a joint competition for VU and VUMC investigators. All investigators should follow these instructions.

Vanderbilt (VU and VUMC, collaboratively) may choose one nominee for the new V Clinical Scholar Program from the V Foundation. To accelerate cancer treatment and cures, the V Foundation proposes to develop the careers of clinicians who will become leaders in developing programs of cancer clinical trials that are sequential and based on hypothesis-driven research. The competitive candidate will have a thorough knowledge of clinical trials and cancer biology as well as the ability to utilize new research discoveries for clinical intervention, the ability to develop a long-term plan to cure different forms of cancer, communicate with government agencies, and collaborate with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries to facilitate progress in clinical care.

Clinical scholars will be expected to lead a program of hypothesis-driven clinical trials, initiating and completing multiple projects mentored by clinical and laboratory mentors who have a track record for conducting hypothesis-driven research with a strong translational component, often in collaboration with investigators from other disciplines. Each awardee will be expected to conduct the initial clinical trials in their designed program during the two years of the award. Trials will be based on novel pre-clinical data. Each hypothesis-driven clinical trial will include laboratory correlates that will inform the design of subsequent trials. Candidates will become familiar with the methodology, potential and limitations of laboratory correlates.

This is a $200,000 grant paid over two years, and does not cover indirect costs. This grant will allow flexibility in how the PI can use these funds (e.g., salary, protected time, program costs and some correlates) but is insufficient to fund the major costs of a clinical trial.

Note: This program is distinct from the pre-existing V Scholar program, which is for early investigators of all types (Ph.D., D.V.M. and/or M.D.), many of whom are not engaged in clinical research. The V Scholar program has a due date of March 9, 2020.


By April 15, all of the following must apply:

  • Applicants must be clinicians (at minimum, assistant professor for at least three years) and have had experience in leading clinical trials, but have not yet achieved the level of full professor.
  • Applicants must be board-certified (if applicable to their discipline; certification received within previous seven years) or board-eligible in (for example, but not limited to) surgical oncology, gynecologic oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pediatric oncology or internal medicine. Other oncology disciplines that are not listed may also be included and in some cases may not require board certification, depending on discipline.

Additionally, V Foundation reviewers will consider the following:

  • Has the applicant designed a program of clinical trials as opposed to a single trial? Are a number of concurrent or sequential series of trials described in the program?
  • Does the applicant have co-mentors in both the laboratory and clinical area?
  • Does the applicant have previous clinical trial experience? Multiple publications? Funding from outside sources, including Pharma?
  • Does the applicant have access to sufficient patients for accrual (either at their own institution or via access to a consortium or collaborative network)?
  • Does the applicant have the potential to be a driver of a clinical trial program?
  • Can the applicant provide a list of funding sources that cover the cost of the initial clinical trial?

Internal selection process

Anyone interested in being considered as Vanderbilt’s nominee must submit the following (in a single PDF) to by 5 p.m. on Feb. 27, 2020.

  1. Brief (2-page maximum) research plan including summary budget;
  2. Letter of support from department chair/center director;
  3. Letters must acknowledge that this grant does not allow indirect costs. This statement can be used/modified: “The department recognizes that this grant does not allow indirect costs and will commit to covering any associated indirect costs per applicable institutional/school policy.” Consult for further guidance.
  4. Strong letters will show that the chair/director will “support the applicant’s plans for career development and commit to long-term support of the applicant.”
  5. NIH Biosketch or 5-page CV.

Submissions should reference “2020 V Clinical Scholar Award” in the subject line of the email.

Please contact us at if you have any questions about the program, foundation or internal review process.