Grant Process Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Does the V Foundation accept unsolicited proposals?

A: No. The V Foundation does not accept or review unsolicited proposals.

Q: Who is invited to apply?

A: V Foundation requests and reviews proposals from non-profit research institutions in the U.S. or Canada that are doing exceptional cancer research work. At minimum, the list includes the almost 70 NCI-designated cancer centers in the U.S. However, this may also include other research institutions that could be added in response to specific grant-making initiatives. The V Foundation annually reviews the list of institutions that receive the Request For Proposal. Each institution will be asked to nominate one V Foundation applicant from their research institution for each annual grant cycle. All applications are submitted through an online portal.

Q: What kinds of grants does the V Foundation provide, and what are the eligibility requirements?

V Scholar Grant: The V Scholar Grant is a two-year grant of $100,000 per year. It is for junior faculty to help leverage their independent research careers and enable them to be more competitive for larger (e.g. federal R01) grants. The V Scholar supports young tenure-track faculty early in their cancer research careers by funding projects that are either laboratory-based fundamental research or translational research.

Translational Grant: The Translational Grant is a three-year grant of $200,000 per year. These grants support “bench to bedside” research, whose endpoint is often planning or initiation of a clinical trial. Translational projects should move a novel strategy from the laboratory to a human clinical trial or use specimens from a clinical trial to develop biomarkers or mechanisms. One Principal Investigator must be designated to apply for the grant and be responsible for all aspects of the grant.

Designated Grant: The Designated Grant supports basic or translational research at research institutions that may reach beyond our usual RFP list. These are special calls for applications that arise out of donor interest, fundraising events or special funding partnerships with other nonprofit or corporate research funders. The size and duration of these grants vary widely depending on the initiative, but they have ranged from $50,000 to over $1 million.

Mission Grant: The Mission Grant is a smaller grant type (under $100,000 per year). These grants are made to support projects within the mission of the V Foundation, but they are not usually for the direct support of a research project. For instance, the V Foundation has provided grants for clinical trial outreach to create new educational materials and methods that give patients information about clinical trials that may apply to them. These are not research grants, per se, but they are supportive of research and cancer treatment.

You can see grants made in each category here.

Q: Are indirect costs supported by V Foundation grants?

A: Our V Scholar, Designated and Mission Grants support zero indirect costs. Our Translational Grants allow indirect costs of up to 10% inclusive of the total amount of the award.

Q: How are research grant applications reviewed and selected for funding?

A: Grant applications are reviewed by a subset of our Scientific Advisory Committee, who score and rank applications based on scientific merit. After each reviewer has scored the applications assigned to him or her, the applications with divergent scores are discussed at a meeting comprised of all reviewers.

Grant applications that score well and are likely to be recommended for funding (based on scientific merit) undergo a secondary review process. Advocate reviewers (Translational Grants only) determine if the research is patient-friendly. Statistical plans for research grants are also reviewed.

After all reviewers have discussed the applications, the Scientific Advisory Committee makes a final ranking and recommendation for each application. Grants are then funded in order of highest ranked to lowest ranked (as funding allows). Using a 9-point scale, where 1 is the highest, grants generally must achieve a score of 1 or 2 to be eligible for funding.

Mission Grants do not fund new research, but they are supportive of existing research, so these grants are reviewed on an administrative level only, and no administrative review comments are provided to applicants.

Q: Do applicants get reviewer feedback?

A: Reviewer comments for V Scholar, Translational and Mission grants are not shared with applicants. The Designated Grant reviewer is required to provide comments for sharing only if the reviewer chooses to “Recommend funding with revisions,” so the applicant can make the required revisions to receive funding. If the Designated Grant reviewer selects “Recommend funding without revisions” or “Do not recommend funding," no comments are shared with the applicant.

Q: When are grants awarded?

A: All V Scholar and Translational grants are awarded by September 30 of each year for that fiscal year. Other grant types are awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Q: How is oversight of grants performed?

A: Every V Foundation grant is administered with a grant contract between the research institution and V Foundation. The V Foundation requires all grant recipients provide a detailed progress report and financial expenditures report on an annual basis. Subsequent grant payments are conditional upon receipt and positive review of timely and complete progress reports. Grant recipients are also required to provide a summary of their work for a general non-science audience so the V Foundation can provide grant updates to donors and the public.