Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: 2024 Takeda Innovators in Science Award–Cancer Immunology

Applications due Feb. 16

These instructions are for VU investigators. VUMC investigators should visit the OOR funding opportunity site.


Vanderbilt University may nominate one early career scientist and one senior scientist in a field of cancer immunology for the 2024 Innovators in Science Award, sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences. Awardees will receive an unrestricted prize of $200,000. The winning scientists will have distinguished themselves for the creativity and impact of their research.

Cancer remains the second-leading cause of death worldwide, and the global burden is expected to rise as the population grows and ages. Despite major advances in the drug development pipeline, about only 11 percent of new cancer therapeutics make it into the clinic. This award recognizes bold, creative scientists seeking to increase our molecular and immunological understanding of cancer and inform novel therapeutic approaches. Each applicant’s research must advance one of the cancer immunology subcategories (see Eligibility below).

Each nominee will be evaluated based on the quality of their research, the impact of their research on human health, the novelty of their ideas and methods, and the promise they show for future contributions to their field. Full guidelines and review criteria are found on the program website.

Eligibility criteria

Note: Individuals in receipt of current or prior research support from Takeda, or its affiliates, are not eligible for nomination if the research support was in excess of U.S. $10,000 (or equivalent in local currency) and was received within the last four calendar years (2019–22).

Early Career Scientist nominees must:

  • Currently hold a junior-level postdoctoral or faculty position.
  • Have been engaged in active research for 10 years or less since gaining their doctorate degree.
  • Hold a doctorate degree (Ph.D., D.Phil., M.D., D.D.S., D.V.M., etc.).
  • Have made impactful research contributions and shown exceptional promise for significant future achievement in one of the cancer immunology subcategories (below).
  • In the event that an early career scientist nominee has taken a maternity, paternity, adoptive, family care, military or extended sick leave (in line with their current institution’s policies) during the 10 years since gaining their doctoral degree or equivalent, they may qualify for an extension of the eligibility timeframe.
    • Please clearly note in your internal application if you qualify for an eligibility exception.

Senior Scientist nominees must:

  • Currently hold a senior-level faculty position.
  • Have been engaged in active research for more than 10 years since gaining their doctorate degree.
  • Hold a doctorate degree (Ph.D., D.Phil., M.D., D.D.S., D.V.M., etc.).
  • Have made multiple, extensive and impactful research contributions to advance the award field; see sub-disciplines (below).

Cancer immunology subcategories

Applicants will be required to select from the list below one primary cancer immunology category that best represents the focus area of their research.

  1. Emerging immunomodulatory therapeutics
  2. Innate immunity as a therapeutic approach
  3. Immune mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment
  4. Next-generation cell-based therapeutics
  5. Epigenetic immune regulation in cancer
  6. Precision and translational medicine approaches to individualized immunotherapies
  7. Other

Internal submission instructions

Interested faculty should visit  to submit an application for the internal LSO competition and to find additional information about the opportunity. The deadline for the internal competition is Feb. 16, 2023.

Selected candidates must submit their nomination form to the sponsor by the external deadline of March 31, 2023.

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