Funding opportunities

OICR Cancer Stem Cell Program Request for Proposals 2011

Purpose of the competition

This competition will strengthen the OICR Cancer Stem Cell (CSC) Program's community of researchers and bring focused, innovative approaches to identifying the properties of cancer stem cells and the role of stemness in vulnerabilities or resistance in cancer and translate them into diagnostic or prognostic tools or tailored therapies.

Program goals and strategic directions of projects

In the next 5-10 years, our Program will transfer knowledge and be recognized internationally through high-impact research publications detailing the properties of cancer stem cells and the role of stemness in vulnerabilities or resistance in cancer. Our focus on stem cell biology will transform the way that preclinical evaluations are performed and the knowledge our Program generates will be actualized into stem cell focused therapeutics being brought to clinical trial. Specifically, we will focus on answering what role stemness plays in cancer, how it is influenced by the microenvironment and investigating the genetic and phenotypic diversity of tumour cells. To translate these into the clinic, multidisciplinary teams will collaborate to create valuable biomarkers and develop diagnostics and/or targeted therapies.


Our program goal is for investigators to submit innovative and compelling applications that are aligned with the research scope of the CSC Program and OICR. There will be two stages to the process:

  1. Submitting a project concept due Wednesday, October 5, 2011.
  2. Successful project concepts will submit full proposals due Thursday, December 1, 2011.

We will be seeking two-page project concept submissions from investigators across Ontario. We want to encourage interactions among the entire group of Principal Investigators that are eventually selected. At this stage, those that have funds allocated based on Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) feedback (Drs. John Dick, Peter Dirks, Ben Neel, Senthil Muthuswamy, Rob Rottapel, Dick Hill, David Hedley) will provide one-page summaries of their research directions by the second week of September. We will also host an event on Sept. 28, 2011 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. to present and discuss potential connections among projects to aid in planning your project concept submissions.

The project concept will be submitted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 for consideration by the working group committee (Drs. John Dick, Peter Dirks, Ben Neel, Senthil Muthuswamy and Rob Rottapel). Successful project concepts will be invited to submit full proposals by mid-October. The deadline for responding to these request for proposals (RFP)s will be Thursday, December 1, 2011.

Response to the RFP will be reviewed in December by the working group and external scientists. Notification of awards will be sent out mid-December. At this time, to obtain funding from OICR further details required by OICR will be requested from those that are awarded.

Funds available

The project concepts should be aspiring four-year proposals. If awarded, the first year of funding will be April 2012 to March 2013. We anticipate identifying five to seven projects for funding from $100,000- $150,000/year for up to four years. During the first year of funding, the evaluation process will continue with the submission of the overall program proposal (Program Research Activity Request (PRAR) II) and funding during April 2013 - March 2016 will be conditional upon development within the PRAR II and approval by OICR's external review process of the CSC Program and the PI-driven projects. Based on progress during the four-year period, these projects will be eligible for project extension in year five.

There are also funds that are earmarked for future collaborations with OICR programs and platforms that will be organized while we develop the PRAR II in full form. We encourage you to consider the capabilities of OICR and contact OICR's Directors to identify potential future synergies. Finally, we will continue to find meaningful ways to support CSC research within the broader oncology community.


Comments or questions

Please do not hesitate to contact Melissa Cooper at for any further information.