Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: 2021 Pew-Stewart Scholars for Cancer Research Program

Applications due April 2, 2020

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


Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center may nominate one candidate for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ 2021 Pew-Stewart Scholars for Cancer Research Program. This program supports assistant professors of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of a cure for cancer. The award provides $300,000 in flexible support—$75,000 per year for a four-year period. Not more than 8 percent of the total award may be allocated for overhead costs.

Candidates should demonstrate outstanding promise as contributors in science relevant to the field of cancer. Strong proposals will incorporate particularly creative and pioneering approaches to basic, translational and applied cancer research. Candidates whose work is based on biomedical principles but who bring in concepts and theories from more diverse fields are encouraged to apply. This program does not fund clinical trials research.

Ideas with the potential to produce an unusually high impact are encouraged. Selection of the successful candidates will be based on a detailed description of the work that the applicant proposes to undertake, evaluations of the candidate’s performance, and notable past accomplishments, including honors, awards and publications. In evaluating the candidates, the committee gives considerable weight to evidence that the candidate is a successful independent investigator and has published significant work.

This program is distinct from the Pew Biomedical Scholars Program, but candidates may apply to both internal competitions.

Eligibility criteria

  • Candidates must have been awarded a doctorate in a field related to biomedical sciences or medicine.
  • As of Sept. 3, 2020, candidates must hold full-time appointments at the rank of assistant professor. (Associate professors are not eligible. Appointments such as research assistant professor, adjunct assistant professor, assistant professor research track, visiting professor or instructor are not eligible.)
  • Must not have been appointed as an assistant professor at any institution prior to June 15, 2017, whether or not such an appointment was on a tenure track. Time spent in clinical internships, residencies, in work toward board certification, or on parental leave does not count as part of this three-year limit. (Candidates who took parental leave should note this on their internal application to make their eligibility clear.)
  • Qualified candidates should be conducting creative, interdisciplinary, basic or translational cancer research. Public health projects and those that are solely clinical research are not within the scope of Pew-funded research.
  • The selected candidate may not be nominated more than two times in total, regardless of institution.
  • Funding from the NIH, other government sources, and project grants from nonprofit associations do not pose a conflict.

Internal application process

Anyone interested in being considered as Vanderbilt’s nominee must submit the following (in PDF format) to  by 5 p.m. on April 2, 2020:

  1. Brief research plan including summary budget (2 page max);
  2. Letter of support from department chair/center director;
  3. NIH Biosketch or abbreviated CV (5 page max)

Submissions should reference “Pew-Stewart Scholars” in the subject line of the email.

Following the internal review, the nominee’s name will be submitted to the Pew Charitable Trusts by May 18, and complete application will be due Sept. 3.

Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to