Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: 2024 V Foundation Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research

Applications due Jan. 18

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

Vanderbilt (VU + VUMC, collaboratively) has been invited to participate in the 2024 V Foundation Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research. Vanderbilt may choose one nominee for the Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research.


Sustaining the careers of women in research and preventing the loss of women from academic careers focused on cancer is paramount to accomplishing the V Foundation’s mission. Women are underrepresented in many STEM fields and this disparity becomes more pronounced further along the career continuum. The V Foundation’s Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research helps promote inclusion for women in cancer research while supporting the most cutting-edge proposals.

Vanderbilt may choose one nominee for the Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research. The single nominee may apply for only one of the following award types: V Scholar or Translational. This opportunity is restricted to adult cancer research. This year the V Foundation has special interest and funding for colorectal cancer research and welcomes projects in that area. Research areas not included in this scope for any grant type are epidemiology, behavioral science and health services research.

  • V Scholar Award:
    • Overview: The V Scholar Award supports young tenure-track faculty early in their cancer research career by funding projects that are either laboratory-based fundamental research or translational research. Emphasis for this grant mechanism is on supporting exceptional early career investigators at the Assistant Professor stage to be better positioned to leverage large R01 or similar sustaining grants.
    • Award amount: $600,000, paid in 3 annual installments. No indirect costs allowed.
  • Translational Research Award:
    • Overview: Translational grant applicants can propose cancer research that moves a novel strategy from the laboratory into a human clinical trial or uses specimens from a clinical trial to develop biomarkers or mechanisms. The research should apply in some direct way to human beings within the time frame of less than 3 years from the end of the grant. If biomarker research is undertaken, a validation set or independent clinical trial is essential. A plan for biomarker validation, if applicable, must be included in any proposal. The endpoint of the project should be the planning or initiation of a new clinical trial.
    • Award amount: $800,000, paid in 4 annual installments. Indirect costs up to 10% allowed (not to exceed $80,000 within the award).


Each applicant must meet all of the award-relevant criteria below by Feb. 1, 2024.

  • All applicant types:
    • Must self-identify as a woman
    • Must hold a tenure-track or tenured faculty position at their cancer research institution.
      • Non-promotable adjunct, affiliated, temporary, part-time, or acting faculty positions are not eligible for Principal Investigator nomination.
  • Translational applicants:
    • Must be either a US Citizen or have a legal permit (temporary or permanent) to work in the US.
  • V Scholar applicants:
    • Must be a US citizen or have permanent legal residency in the US.
    • Must possess at least 2 years post-doctoral (M.D. or Ph.D.) fellowship training.
      • For M.D.s, a minimum of one year is acceptable if only one year is required for their specialty.
    • Clinical scientists are eligible if the research institution can demonstrate that it will fully support the research applicant (e.g., dedicated lab space, committed research time, start-up funds).
    • V Scholar applicants must have been appointed to their first full-time tenure track assistant professor position no more than five years prior to the nomination due date of Feb. 1, 2024, and not yet been promoted to associate professor (for e.g., must be eligible to apply for PI status on an R01 at your institution; Extensions to the 5-year limit may be given to nominees who took parental leave during this window).
    • Must NOT
      • Have been a previous or current V Foundation V Scholar awardee.
      • Have accepted or received notification of an R01 award by the nomination due date.
      • Have accepted or received award notification of any peer-reviewed, non-mentored single grant that totals or exceeds $750K in total direct funding at ANY point in their professional career.
        • This calculation should exclude indirect costs.
      • Have accepted or received award notification of any peer-reviewed, non-mentored funding that exceeds $1M in aggregated total direct funding at ANY point in their professional career.
        • This calculation should exclude indirect costs.
        • Note: The V Scholar award is intended to support research to leverage these larger awards; so, the nominee should not have already received such awards.
    • View the 2024 V Scholar Eligibility: Are they Eligible handout for additional guidance.

Internal selection process

Anyone interested in being considered as Vanderbilt’s nominee for either of the awards above must submit the following (in PDF format) to by 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 18, 2024. Late applications will not be considered.

  1. Brief (two page maximum) research plan including summary budget
  2. Letter of support from department chair/center director
    • V Scholar award does not allow indirect costs. Scholar letters must also acknowledge that this grant does not allow indirect costs. This statement can be used/modified within the letter: “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.
    • Translational award allows 10% indirect costs; indirect cost statement is not required.
    • For both award types: Please include an overview of resources available to you (research and office space, teaching release, mental health support, etc); If the nature of the research is translational and/or clinical (bench to bedside with patient contact), describe how patient advocacy/communication will be incorporated into your training.
  3. NIH Biosketch or five-page CV
  4. V Scholar applicants only: Financial Worksheet (download template here)
    • Please fill out the Grant Awards table and any “notes and remarks.” Other information and signatures not required.

Submissions should reference the award type (Translational or V Scholar) in the subject line of the email.

A nomination form and letter of support for Vanderbilt’s selected candidate will be submitted to the V Foundation by Feb. 1, 2024. The candidate will then receive an invitation to submit a full application to the foundation, due March 4, 2024.

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