Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award Overview

Eligibility | Funding | Confidentiality | Reporting | Publications/Presentations | TermsFrey Award

Program Description

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has joined together with the Sohn Conference Foundation, dedicated to curing pediatric cancers, to establish the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award.  This award provides funding to basic scientists and clinicians who conduct research with the potential to significantly impact the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of one or more pediatric cancers.

Candidates must apply for the fellowship under the guidance of a Sponsor—a scientist (tenured, tenure-track or equivalent position) capable of providing mentorship to the Fellow.  In addition to aiding in the planning, execution and supervision of the proposed research, the Sponsor’s role is to foster the development of the Fellow’s overall knowledge, technical and analytical skills, and capacity for scientific inquiry.  The Sponsor is also expected to assist the Fellow in attaining his/her career goals.

Awards are made to institutions for the support of the Fellow under direct supervision of the Sponsor.  Candidates who have already accepted a postdoctoral research fellowship award are not eligible.

The primary criteria used to evaluate applicants are:

  • potential impact of the research on pediatric cancer
  • the quality of the research proposal (importance of the problem, originality of approach, appropriateness of techniques and clarity of presentation)
  • the qualifications, experience and productivity of both the candidate and the Sponsor
  • the quality of the research training environment in which the proposed research is to be conducted and its potential for broadening and strengthening the candidate’s ability to conduct innovative and substantive research.  The proposed research and training environment should represent a new opportunity for the candidate to expand his/her scientific skill set.  Direct extensions of the candidate’s graduate work (in approach, technique or exact area of study) will not be funded.

Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowships are granted for a four-year term with second-, third- and fourth-year funding contingent upon satisfactory progress reports.  Fellows in their first and third years of funding will attend Damon Runyon Fellows’ Retreats designed to foster collaboration and interaction between scientists working in different fields relevant to cancer.

All fellowship awards are approved by the Board of Directors of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation acting upon the recommendation of the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship Award Committee.

Eligibility

  • Applicants must have completed one or more of the following degrees or its equivalent: MD, PhD, MD/PhD, DDS, DVM.  The applicant must include a copy of his/her diploma to confirm date of conferral.
    (If an applicant has not yet received his/her PhD diploma but has successfully completed all PhD requirements, including PhD defense, he/she may submit a letter from the graduate school explicitly stating such, with the date of the successful PhD defense and date of degree conferral.)
  • Level 1 Funding: Basic and physician-scientists must have received their degrees no more than one year prior to the FAC meeting at which their applications are to be considered.*  Applicants must not have been in their Sponsors’ labs for more than one year prior to the date of the FAC meeting at which their applications are to be considered* and are expected to devote 100% of their time and effort to Damon Runyon-supported research activities.

*The cut-off date is day 15 of the month immediately preceding the month FAC meets. The applicant must include a copy of his/her diploma to confirm date of conferral. (See Deadlines chart.)

  • Level 2 Funding: Physician-scientist applicants (MD, MD/PhD, DDS, DVM or the equivalent) must have completed their residencies and clinical training, must be board eligible in the United States at the start date of the Damon Runyon-Sohn Fellowship, and be able to devote at least 80% of their time and effort to Damon Runyon-Sohn supported research activities. Applicants may apply at any time prior to their initial assistant professorship appointment (or equivalent); postdoctoral fellows, clinical fellows and clinical instructors are eligible to apply. Candidates holding or awarded NIH K awards at the time of application are not eligible to apply. Candidates holding institutional K12 awards may apply, but must turn-back K12 funding if they are awarded a Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship.
  • The proposed research must be conducted at a university, hospital or research institution.
  • No more than two Damon Runyon and/or Damon Runyon-Sohn Fellows will be funded to work with the same Sponsor at any given time.
  • Only one fellowship application will be accepted from a Sponsor or Fellow per review session; there is no limit, however, to the number of applications from an institution.
  • Postdoctoral training in the same institution in which the applicant received his/her degree is discouraged, particularly if it is in the same department.  (If either situation applies, the applicant must address the reason(s) in his/her application.)  Proposals to continue training in the laboratory where the applicant received his/her PhD will not be considered.  Proposals that are direct extensions of graduate work will not be funded.
  • Candidates who have already accepted a postdoctoral research fellowship award are not eligible.
  • Candidates who are pursuing a degree are not eligible.
  • Candidates applying to work in foreign-based or United States government laboratories may be awarded a fellowship if they are considered to be especially meritorious or if the program represents an unusual opportunity for postdoctoral training.
  • Foreign candidates may apply to do their research only in the United States.

Funding

The award may not be used for institutional overhead or indirect costs.

Award Stipends 

Year of Award Level 1 Stipend Level 2 Stipend* Expenses
1st Year $50,000 $60,000 $2,000
2nd Year $50,000 $60,000 $2,000
3rd Year $50,000 $60,000 $2,000
4th Year
$50,000
$60,000
$2,000

*Physician-scientists who have completed their residencies, clinical training and are board eligible will receive Level 2 funding.

Expense Allowance

The $2,000 expense allowance is awarded to the laboratory in which the Fellow is working and can be used by the Fellow for his/her educational and scientific expenses.  With a written request to the Foundation from the Fellow, the expense allowance may be used to defray the cost of health benefits.  The Fellow determines how he/she would like to spend the money with approval from his/her sponsor.  It is not an allowance for institutional overhead, postdoctoral scholar registration fees or postdoctoral fellowship taxes.  Institutions may not automatically deduct any fees from this allowance without the Fellow’s approval.  If you have any questions on how the money may be spent, please contact the Foundation (212.455.0520 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)).

Dependent Child Allowance

The Foundation also provides a Dependent Child Allowance of $1,000 per child per year.  (There is no allowance for a spouse.)  Eligible Fellows must submit a dependent child allowance form and a copy of the birth or adoption certificate for each child.

ConfidentialityAgreement

Fellows may not enter into confidentiality agreements that prevent or delay them from publishing and/or presenting their Damon Runyon-supported research. 

Reporting

SCIENTIFIC

Second-, third- and fourth-year funding of awards is contingent upon satisfactory review of the annual progress reports.  All reports are kept strictly confidential.  The reports serve as an auditing tool to monitor research progress and assure that the Fellow’s research is on target with the funded project.

At the end of the 11th, 23rd and 35th months of funding, the Fellow must submit a detailed progress report, not to exceed three pages, that includes:

  1. A summary of research performed during the award year and evaluation of the results.  The summary should be technical, but targeted to a general scientific audience.  It should be sufficiently detailed such that the Fellow’s research activities over the award year are clearly articulated.  Figures and references may be included if appropriate.  If the research differs from the originally funded proposal, please provide an explanation.  The report must be signed by both the Fellow and the Sponsor.
  2. A brief, lay abstract of research performed during the award year, including how the research is relevant to pediatric cancer.  The lay summary should not exceed one page.
  3. A bibliography of publications from the award year (please submit pdf copies of publications).
  4. A request for Open Access fee reimbursement, if applicable.
  5. A list of conferences and seminars attended and presentations given during the award year.
  6. A brief summary, from the Sponsor, assessing the Fellow’s scientific progress and professional development.
  7. A completed intellectual property disclosure form.
  8. A completed expense allowance usage form.

At the completion of the fellowship, the Fellow must submit a detailed progress report that includes:

  1. A summary of research performed during the period of the Fellowship and evaluation of the results. The summary should be technical, but targeted to a general scientific audience. It should be sufficiently detailed such that the Fellow’s research activities over the award period are clearly articulated. Figures and references may be included if appropriate. The report must be signed by both the Fellow and the Sponsor. The report should not exceed three pages.
  2. Two abstracts (one lay and one scientific) of his/her accomplishments over the term of the award, including how the research is relevant to pediatric cancer.
  3. A bibliography of all publications resulting from the research (submit pdf copies of publications).
  4. A request for Open Access fee reimbursement, if applicable.
  5. A list of conferences and seminars attended and presentations given during the award year.
  6. A statement indicating how the Damon Runyon-Sohn award made a difference to the Fellow.
  7. A statement of future plans.
  8. An up-to-date curriculum vitae.
  9. A brief summary, from the Sponsor, assessing the Fellow’s scientific progress and professional development.
  10. A completed intellectual property disclosure form.

FINANCIAL

The institution’s financial officer must maintain a separate account including receipts for each fellowship, and this account must be available for audit by representatives of the Foundation.  Reports of expenditures on forms provided by the Foundation must be submitted within 30 days of the end of each award year.  Any unexpended expense allowance may be carried over to the next award year, but any unexpended stipend must be returned to the Foundation at the end of each fellowship year.  Upon termination or expiration of the fellowship, a final report of expenditures, with the refund of any unexpended balance, must also be submitted within 30 days.

Financial Expenditure Report Preparation Guidelines:

  1. Please use the Damon Runyon Fellowship Financial Expenditure Report form.
  2. Indicate any carry-over of the previous year’s expense allowance in the second row as an amount received in addition to the current year’s $2,000 allowance.
  3. If the expense allowance was used for travel, please provide the following details.
    a.  name and location of scientific meeting or conference attended
    b.  dates of meeting/conference
    c.  use of funds; restricted to registration fee, lodging, meals, transportation (if by train or plane, must be coach class ticket only).
  4. If the expense allowance was used for supplies, please provide a list of the general categories of the supplies.  If any one piece of equipment purchased costs $1,500 or more, please provide the name of the item, date of purchase, and price.
  5. The only allowable purchases that may be listed in the “other” category are:
    a.  health insurance (if requested by the Fellow)
    b.  scientific subscriptions
    c.  contact our office for approval of any items not listed here
  6. The Foundation requires that the Dependent Child Allowance be reported as received in the annual financial report, but does not require reporting on how the allowance is spent.

Publications/Presentations

Publications (including abstracts of presentations at scientific or clinical meetings) resulting from projects supported by the Foundations must carry the following acknowledgment: “[Name of Awardee] is a Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellow supported by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and The Sohn Conference Foundation (DRSG-#[___]).”

Contact caitlin.campbell@damonrunyon.org if you do not know your DRSG #.

Awardees should identify themselves as Damon Runyon-Sohn Fellows, particularly when presenting their work at professional conferences.  Download a copy of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation logo for inclusion in Power Point presentations or posters.

Terms of the Award

All awards are made to the sponsoring institution for support of the designated Fellow.  An award does not constitute an employer-employee relationship between the Foundation and the recipient.  Supplementation of stipends is permitted from either the host institution or sponsor’s grants, but not by any other fellowship awards or grants.  The total stipend should not exceed the level of support for other professionals at the same level of training in that institution.

Fellows are permitted to obtain additional awards or grants to cover research expenses only.  Fellows are not permitted to hold any other award or grant that supplements their stipend.  Fellows are required to seek approval from the Foundation before applying for any other award or grant. Budgetary overlap is not allowed.  Therefore, it is critical that all current and pending grant support for your research be reported to the Foundation and the relationship of that support to the Damon Runyon funded project be explained.

Damon Runyon-Sohn Fellowship awards are intended for full-time research.  Physician-scientists must devote their principal time and effort (at least 80 percent) to Damon Runyon-supported research activities.  Activities constituting the remaining 20 percent of time and effort should be clearly specified in the application and in the annual progress report.  Damon Runyon-Sohn Fellows are not permitted to pursue additional degrees during the course of their fellowship.

The Damon Runyon Foundation will allow up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for birth/adoptive parents consistent with their institution’s policy.  The Foundation must be notified in advance of the leave.

Should the Fellow and/or Sponsor wish to discontinue the project, leave the designated institution or modify any aspect of the award, he or she must seek approval from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation in advance.  Failure to comply with this requirement may jeopardize any future awards to the institution and/or Sponsor by the Foundation.

All awardees must adhere to the terms of both our award statement and our invention policy.

 

Damon Runyon Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists

At the end of the Fellowship, there are often a select few Damon Runyon Fellows who have greatly exceeded the Foundation’s highest expectations.  To catapult their research careers—and their impact on cancer—the Foundation will make an additional investment in these exceptional individuals by selecting them as recipients of the Damon Runyon Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists. Damon Runyon-Sohn Fellows are eligible to apply for the Dale F. Frey Award one time only, in either the third or fourth year of their award.

 

 

Contact Information:
Award Programs | 212.455.0520 | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)