The V Foundation Announces Multi-Million Dollar Grant Program to Increase Female Representation and Innovations in Cancer Research

Female scientists receive fewer grants and as much as 38% less in funding than their male counterparts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women researchers, causing them to fall even further behind.

Cary, NC (February 1, 2023)The V Foundation, a top cancer research charity, today announced the establishment of a new grant program specifically aimed at increasing female representation and female-led innovation in cancer research.  A Grant of Her Own: The Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research is one of the very few gender-specific grant programs designed to address gender inequities in cancer research funding. Awards will be given to outstanding female researchers at different stages in their careers, and the V Foundation will fund at least $8 million in grants.

“By providing self-identified female investigators the necessary resources to begin and sustain impactful research and careers, A Grant of Her Own: The Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research will help address systemic gender disparities which have long existed and were further widened during the pandemic. These factors have kept women from fully contributing to the field of cancer research,” said Susanna F. Greer, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, V Foundation.

Persistent Gender Disparities Exist in The Field of Scientific Research

Compared to their male counterparts, women are paid less in comparable academic positions, receive lower startup funds for research with women scientists at some major institutes receiving 38% less in funding, and receive fewer awards from National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant programs at all points in their careers.

Additionally, female researchers shoulder an inequitable load as caregivers which was made even more apparent during the past few years of the pandemic. A survey of researchers found that female scientists and those with young children experienced a substantial decline in time devoted to research due to COVID-19. Given that time is of the essence in research, especially for scientists in the early stages of their careers, the losses experienced during the pandemic could have lasting effects on the number of women represented in cancer research.

To counter the historical gender disparities and pandemic-related career setbacks women researchers have experienced, the V Foundation will be awarding two separate grants as part of the inaugural A Grant of Her Own: The Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research:

  • The V Scholar Award will be awarded to early career investigators whose research increases our understanding of cancer biology or translational-type research that improves cancer detection, prevention, treatment, and survivorship; winners will receive $600,000 in funding over three years.
  • The Translational Research Award will be awarded to investigators who pursue cancer research that moves a novel strategy from the laboratory to a human clinical trial or uses specimens from a clinical trial to develop biomarkers or mechanisms; winners will receive $800,000 in funding over four years.

“These female-specific grants expand on the V Foundation’s work to level the playing field by providing funds to support the research of all-star women scientists and those of color whose contributions are desperately needed to help us accelerate Victory Over Cancer®,” said Shane Jacobson, CEO, V Foundation. “This year marks the 30th anniversary of the V Foundation, and from day one we have always been committed to female-led cancer research.”

V Foundation grants are awarded to researchers nominated by National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Centers and other exceptional research institutions and then selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. Institutional nominations for A Grant of Her Own: The Women Scientists Innovation Award for Cancer Research must be submitted to the V Foundation by February 15, 2023; candidate applications are due to the Foundation on March 16, 2023.


About the V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The V Foundation has funded over $310 million in game-changing cancer research grants nationwide through a competitive process strictly supervised by a world-class Scientific Advisory Committee. Because the V Foundation has an endowment to cover administrative expenses, 100% of direct donations is awarded to cancer research and programs. The V team is committed to accelerating Victory Over Cancer®. To learn more, visit

Mykala Healy

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