Student Training and Research in Tumor Immunology (STaRT) Grant, Cancer Research Institute, USA

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Cancer Research Institute USA Through its Student Training and Research in Tumor Immunology (STaRT) Program, the Cancer Research Institute seeks to attract bright young minds to rewarding careers as cancer immunologists. STaRT Grants provide up to two years of support for graduate students conducting thesis research in the area of tumor immunology. A panel of scientists drawn from the Institute’s Scientific Advisory Council rigorously evaluates each candidate, the thesis advisor and training environment, and the nature and feasibility of their research.

Eligibility Guidelines

  1. Applicants for CRI’s STaRT Program must be pursuing doctorate research directly related to cancer immunology. Research must be focused on immunology with direct relevance to solving the cancer problem. Proposals outside of this area will not be considered.
  2. Applicants must be full-time graduate students who will be engaged in thesis research as Ph.D. Candidates and who will have successfully completed all of their host institution’s requirements for advancement to candidacy by the time the award is activated.
  3. At the time of application, students must have chosen their thesis project, lab, and advisor. Students who have not yet chosen their thesis project and advisor, as well as those students in the 5th year or later of their Ph.D. program, should not apply. As such, the award typically funds students in their 3rd and 4th years of graduate school.
  4. Applicants must conduct their CRI-funded research under the direct supervision of their thesis advisor. The applicant’s thesis advisor must hold a formal appointment at the host institution.
  5. The training may be carried out in the United States or abroad.
  6. There are no citizenship restrictions.
  7. The Institute will only fund one (1) CRI-supported STaRT fellow per thesis advisor at any given time.

Financial Information
The Cancer Research Institute will provide up to $30,000 of funding per year. The exact award amount is dictated by the host institution’s annual stipend amount, but not to exceed $30,000.

CRI does not permit deductions to cover administrative expenses from the stipend. Payments are made monthly in U.S. currency to the host institution.

Application Deadline
The deadline for the receipt of applications is March 1, 2013. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications will be due on Monday. Applicants will be notified of the review committee’s decision by July 1 and awards will be activated September 1.

Application Instructions
NOTE: Applications must be submitted electronically. Paper applications will not be accepted.

The application process requires you to download a PDF application form for institutional signature and certification. You must also complete an electronic application form, which requires you to upload supporting materials.

Step 1: Downloading the PDF Application Form
Before you submit the online Application Form, you should first download and fill out the PDF Application Form. Fill out the form, print it, and obtain signatures for the Institutional Certifications section. Signatures will be required from the following individuals:

  1. An Internal Review Board (IRB) or Certifying Officer, who can attest that the proposal is in compliance with government and institutional regulations
  2. The institution’s Administrative Officer
  3. The institution’s Financial Officer

When your form is complete, you should scan it as a PDF and upload it with your other supporting materials when completing the online application form (see Step 2). You must retain your original copy of the Application Form, as you will be required to mail it along with other original documentation if you are selected to receive an award.

Step 2: Submitting the Online Application Form and Uploading Supporting Materials
Before you can access the online application form, you will first be asked to answer 7 questions that will help determine whether you are eligible to apply for a STaRT Grant. If you meet the required criteria, you will be directed to the application form. If you do not meet the required criteria, please do not apply as your application will be eliminated for administration reasons.

Enter in all relevant information, paying special attention to spelling and punctuation. Please avoid using abbreviations, acronyms, and typing in all capital letters. To navigate the application, use your “Tab” key to move from field to field. To move from page to page, click the numbered links at the top of your Web page. DO NOT USE YOUR BROWSER’S “BACK” BUTTON TO NAVIGATE FROM PAGE TO PAGE, AS THIS WILL CAUSE ALL DATA TO BE LOST.

Tip: You can save your application at any time by clicking the “Save” button at the bottom of each page. You will be asked to create a user account unique to you, which will catalogue all applications you submit to CRI. When creating your account, please remember your account name and password, or you will have difficulty accessing your application.

After you have filled out all required fields on the application form, you will be asked on the final page of the online form to upload, in this order, the following supporting documentation:

  1. The scanned, signed copy of the paper application form you completed in Step 1 above;
  2. Brief description of the applicant’s background and research accomplishments;
  3. List of other funding sources to which applications have been or will be submitted, with due dates;
  4. Applicant’s curriculum vitae and bibliography;
  5. A brief summary of your project, including a description of how the proposed research is directly relevant to solving the cancer problem through immunological means. Direct relevancy to cancer immunology must also be reflected throughout the research proposal (see item #7);
  6. Abstract of research in non-technical English explaining the importance of the proposed research and its potential clinical relevance. The abstract will be used for fundraising purposes and submitted to CRI’s lay Board of Trustees;
  7. Concise research proposal (background, significance, specific aims, materials and methods, summary) not to exceed 5 pages inclusive of tables and figures, exclusive of references. Applications exceeding this page limit will be disqualified;
  8. Academic Transcripts;
  9. *Letter from the thesis advisor introducing the applicant and describing the advisor’s qualifications to direct the proposed research. The letter must contain assurance that the applicant’s project will be conducted under the direct supervision of the thesis advisor. The advisor should also emphasize the relevance of the proposed project to cancer immunology;
  10. *Thesis advisor’s curriculum vitae, bibliography (limit bibliography to past 5 years or to publications relevant to proposed research) and a list of advisor’s current research support;
  11. *A letter of recommendation from the director of the applicant’s graduate program is required.
  12. *An additional recommendation letter is optional. This letter must be from an individual well acquainted with the applicant’s work. Your thesis advisor may not submit this letter.

Important Note on Letters of Recommendation
*Documents 9 through 12 may be submitted directly by referees via the web. On Page 5 of the online application, please specifiy e-mail addresses for those providing letters of support. Please note that the application should not be submitted by the applicant until referees have uploaded their letters. If referees prefer, they can instead scan a copy of their letter and email it to

In cases where the referee submits the recommendation letter to the applicant, the applicant should scan the original, signed letters and collate them into the supporting documentation attachment that is uploaded at the time of electronic application submission. All letters should be scanned in grayscale at a maximum resolution of 300 dpi to keep file size to a minimum. Do not scan in color, as this will significantly increase the file size, which could potentially cause uploading problems.

In all cases, the original copy of all letters should be retained in the event that you are selected to receive an award. At that time, you will be required to submit all original documents.

Uploading Your Supporting Materials
Applicants may upload PDF documents only. All files must be combined into one document and named according to the following formula: if your name is John Brown, your file should be called Brown, John.pdf. Do not submit multiple attachments.

When you have finished uploading the attachments, click “Submit.” You will receive a notice confirming that you have successfully submitted your Application Form. Immediately after, an automated notification from CRI will be sent to your email address, also confirming submission.

If you encounted problems uploading your attachment, you may email it to Please be sure to note the application number, which will be assigned to you at the time of submission.

Online applications will be accepted up until 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the deadline date. If the deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, applications will be accepted until the close of business that following Monday. We strongly suggest submitting your applications as early as possible to provide ample time in case your application is incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Preparation Guidelines
Any documents you attach to your online application form must be typed single-space using a 12 pt. or larger font size. Please review other preparation guidelines outlined in the PDF application form.

Click here to access the online application.
Click here to download the PDF application form.

For more information or if you have any questions about this application, please call (212) 688-7515, FAX (212) 832-9376, or e-mail

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