American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is dedicated to driving progress through research. Consequently, our Investigator-Initiated Research Grant Program is a critical component in our mission to champion the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity. Every year AICR invites the submission of project proposals and then follows a rigorous process to identify the best and most promising projects to fund.
Grant writing and reviewing is a time-consuming and intensive process, so AICR is committed to making this process as efficient as possible. Our process starts with the submission of a Letter of Intent; these short project descriptions allow AICR and the Chairs of our Grant Review Panel (Dr James Fleet, Margaret McKean Love Endowed Professor of Nutrition, Cellular, and Molecular Science, University of Texas and Dr Linda Cook, David F. and Margaret Turley Grohne Endowed Chair for Cancer Prevention and Control Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center) to select the most promising proposals to be invited to submit a full application. This focuses the efforts of researchers on writing full applications with a higher chance of successful funding and reduces the reviewing burden for our panel of expert reviewers.
Each full application is reviewed in detail by three experts who submit written reviews prior to a meeting of the whole grant review panel in August.
In the past, these meetings have always been in-person but we have had to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; in 2020 we conducted the whole grant review panel by video-conferencing, last year the meeting was a hybrid panel and this year we will be predominantly in-person but with a few experts reviewers joining remotely. Our adaptability and willingness to embrace new technologies has enabled AICR to maintain our grant program throughout the upheavals of the past few years and ensure that our commitment to progress through research is unhindered!
Our grant program seeks to address the role of diet, nutrition and physical activity in cancer prevention and survivorship. Within these overall themes are many sub-specialties so, each year, we adjust the membership of our panel of expert reviewers to ensure that the optimal content expertise is represented. The Grant Review Panel strives to short-list proposals that are most relevant, innovative, and impactful. Only the strongest applications that offer the greatest potential to deliver new and important progress in the prevention of cancer, and improve outcomes through lifestyle modifications, will be funded to pursue their research. The process is highly competitive and rigorous. The former Chair of Grant Panel, Dr. Robert Chapkin (Texas A&M University) talks about the panel and its mission.
Over four decades, AICR has contributed more than $110 million in supporting a pipeline of studies conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers. AICR’s latest grant cycle of awards will fund new research, scheduled to start in 2023.