Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: 2024 Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Grants

Applications due Feb. 1

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

Vanderbilt (VU & VUMC combined) may submit up to three Letters of Intent, one per available award type, to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Grants Program.


Founded in 1982, the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) has invested more than $58 million in pediatric cancer research and contributed to groundbreaking advances in treatment.

The foundation is unique in their approach to funding childhood cancer research. The foundation’s focus on providing emerging research and translational grants allows researchers to prove their ideas, then reach for even larger grants. This is critical because Federal funding is not available to researchers until they can demonstrate preliminary data to prove something should advance. Without this essential early-stage money, some great ideas could be lost forever. PCRF harvests these learnings and helps fast track their progress through the scientific cycle.

Three grant opportunities are currently available:

  • Basic Science Research Grants (up to $150,000 per year, for up to 3 years)

These grants fund basic science, translational and/or clinical state of the art pediatric cancer research initiatives. These grants fund work that is the basis for childhood cancer research, helping to move science in the direction of improved treatments and eventually finding a cure. They are designed to move hypothesis-driven research into the clinic providing support for important preclinical projects that are necessary to move a study from the pre-clinical arena into a clinical trial. Applicants must be a Ph.D. (with a least two years as a junior faculty or assistant professor) and/or M.D.

  • Translational Research Grant (up to $100,000 per year, for up to 2 years)

These grants fund new research protocols and therapies that hold promise for improved outcomes and accelerates cures from the laboratory bench to the bedside of children and teens with high-risk cancers. This grant is given to single or multi-institutional programs that involve open, cancer clinical trials or consortia, and implement new approaches to therapy. Applicants must be a Ph.D. and/or M.D.

  • Emerging Investigator Fellowship (up to $60,000 per year for 1 year)

These grants are designed to support Post-Doctoral Fellowships and Clinical Investigator training for emerging pediatric cancer researchers to pursue exciting research ideas. Applicants must have completed two years of their fellowship or not more than two years as a junior faculty instructor or assistant professor at the start of the award period. These grants encourage and cultivate the best and brightest researchers of the future.

Researchers not previously funded by the foundation are typically funded at the Emerging Investigator Fellowship level.

All applicants are required to submit a Letter of Intent. Refer to the PCRF Letters of Intent guidelines for specific details.

Grant Criteria and Eligibility

  • The probability of an advance in prevention, diagnosis or treatment for the near-term
  • The novelty of the concept and strategy
  • The clarity of presentation
  • The overall plan for bringing the research findings to clinical application
  • Experience, background and qualifications of the investigators
  • Adequacy of resources and environment (facilities, patients, etc.)
  • PCRF does not have citizenship requirements for investigators. However, the Principal Investigator needs to be employed by a non-profit U.S. institution that has an affiliation with a hospital.
  • Basic Science and Translational Grants require the applicant to be a PhD and/or MD.
  • Emerging Investigator applicants must have completed two years of their fellowship, or not more than two years as a junior faculty instructor or assistant professor at the start of the award period.

Award Information

  • Allowable costs
    • Personnel costs (including salary and fringe benefits); there is no salary cap applied
    • Supplies
    • Travel (restricted to nominal travel costs)
    • Other expenses
  • Unallowable costs
    • PCRF does not typically fund equipment costs. If you are planning to request equipment in your application budget please contact the Executive Director of PCRF, Jeri Wilson at prior to submission.
    • No indirect costs will be funded.
    • Funds awarded shall be used solely for the purposes specified in the application submitted for consideration and in strict compliance with the budget submitted with the application.

For more information, see the foundation Grants Manual and LOI Guidelines.

Internal application process

Anyone interested in being considered as a potential nominee must submit the below items (in PDF format) to by 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2024.  Submissions should reference the award type in the subject line of the email.

  1. Brief research plan (2 page max, including summary budget)
  2. Statement of support from Dean, department chair, or center director
    • Letter 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.”
  3. Biosketch in Current NIH Format

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