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AACR-AstraZeneca Stimulating Therapeutic Advances through Research Training (START) Grants

Grant Amount $225,000 USD
Grant Term3 Years
Start of Grant Term12/01/2020
Application Deadline10/06/2020 1:00 PM (EDT)
Decision Date11/2020
Additional Information

April 13, 2021 - Grant recipient must attend the Grants Reception and Dinner to formally accept the grant. Grant funds may be used to support the grantee's registration and attendance at this Annual Meeting.

In the event of unforeseen scheduling changes for the Grants Reception and Dinner, the Grantee will be contacted regarding alternative arrangements.


Dramatic advances made in recent years towards precision medicine initiatives, biomarker and novel target identification, and high-throughput examination of genomic data, have resulted in a trove of valuable data that can inform the development of new therapeutics to combat cancer. However, to effectively harness this wealth of information and advance the discovery and development of new therapies for cancer patients, enhanced collaboration between academia and industry will be needed.

The AACR-AstraZeneca Stimulating Therapeutic Advances through Research Training (START) Grants represent an exciting new initiative to encourage and support such collaboration. This novel model, which will provide support to postdoctoral or clinical research fellows, combines research experiences in both an academic and industry setting, following a research timeline that will be of greatest benefit to the proposed work. The training provided through this grant program will be invaluable to young investigators, by allowing fellows to attain a comprehensive research experience that will make them highly desirable to potential employers in either academic research or the pharmaceutical industry. Likewise, academic research centers and industry will benefit from the introduction of such dual-trained individuals into the field.

Each fellowship provides a three-year grant of $225,000 to support the salary and benefits of the fellow while working on a mentored cancer research project. Applicants must plan to spend one year on site at an AstraZeneca facility. One of a number of AstraZeneca’s locations are possible, at the discretion of AstraZeneca. The year at AstraZeneca will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and will be at a time agreed upon by the fellow, the academic supervisor, the AstraZeneca mentor, and AstraZeneca. The research proposed for funding must have direct applicability to cancer with a specific focus on DNA Damage Response (DDR) pathways or epigenetics and may be basic, translational, or clinical in nature. 

Any proposals that address topics unrelated to DNA Damage Response pathways or epigenetics in cancer will NOT be accepted.

Program Guidelines
Research Project Criteria

Research projects may be basic, translational, or clinical in nature and must have direct applicability and relevance to DNA Damage Response (DDR) pathways or epigenetics in cancer. The applicant should also define specific milestones and goals to be accomplished during each year of the fellowship, emphasizing how the experience in industry is expected to complement the time spent in academia.

Eligibility Criteria

At the start of the grant term on December 1, 2020, applicants must hold a full-time, mentored research position with the title of postdoctoral fellow, clinical research fellow, or the equivalent; this position must have been held for at least one, but not more than three, years.

  • If eligibility is based on a future position, the position must be confirmed at the time of application, and CANNOT be contingent upon receiving this grant. 
  • If the future position is at a different institution than the applicant’s current institution, the applicant must contact AACR’s Scientific Review and Grants Administration Department (AACR’s SRGA) at [email protected] before submitting their application for information on additional verification materials/signatures that may be required. 

Have completed their most recent doctoral degree within the past one to three years (i.e., degree cannot have been conferred before December 1, 2017; the formal date of receipt of doctoral degree is the date the degree was conferred, as indicated on their diploma and/or transcript)

  • Applicants with a medical degree must have completed their most recent doctoral degree or medical residency - whichever date is later - within the past three years.

Work under the auspices of a mentor at an academic, medical, or research institution in the United States of America.

Citizenship Requirements

There are no citizenship requirements. However, by submitting an application for this grant, the applicant who is not a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident assures that the visa status will provide sufficient time to complete the project and grant term.

AACR Membership Requirements

Applicants must be AACR members. Annual dues are not required for early-career researchers interested in Associate membership. Nonmembers interested in this grant opportunity must submit a satisfactory application for AACR membership by the application deadline. Nonmembers can apply for membership online or by submitting the Official Membership Application Form to the AACR with the required documents. Please review the Membership Categories for the category that best fits your qualifications. Members can renew their membership through myAACR to bring their membership current. You will need your logon (email address) and password to access the member portal. If you require assistance logging in, please contact [email protected]. Lapsed members must be members in good standing by the application deadline and should contact the Membership Department at [email protected] for assistance.

Application Instructions

The AACR requires applicants to submit an online application by 1:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 using the proposalCENTRAL website at

Program Guidelines and Application Instructions are available ifor download.