Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists Overview

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Program Description | Funding | Eligibility | Reporting | Terms of the Award
Forms for Awardees | Application Guidelines

Program Description

The Damon Runyon Fellowship identifies the nation’s top postdoctoral fellows and provides funding that enables them to complete their training under the mentorship of a leading senior scientist and encourages them to follow their own bold ideas. At the end of the Fellowship, there are often a select few who have greatly exceeded the Foundation’s highest expectations. These spectacular young scientists are the most likely to make paradigm-shifting breakthroughs that transform the way we prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. 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.

In doing so, the Foundation will:

  • Provide additional financial support to enable these scientists to continue the pursuit of bold and innovative ideas
  • Accelerate the path to independence
  • Encourage a continued career in cancer research

Selection and Review

The Fellowship Award Committee will review applications and select awardees for approval by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation’s Board of Directors.

At the beginning of each review session the following Biases Statement is read aloud: As an organization, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation seeks to promote gender equality and increase diversity, in all of its forms, throughout our programs. Studies have demonstrated that often subtle and unconscious biases can dramatically affect outcomes in review processes and that by simply acknowledging that unconscious biases exist, we can combat their potential negative impact. To that end, please be aware of your potential unconscious biases when reviewing, scoring and discussing candidates and applications throughout the review process.

The primary criteria used to evaluate applicants are:

  • Exceptional productivity and significant accomplishments during the Damon Runyon Fellowship
  • Potential of the applicant to become a leader in the field of cancer research
  • Potential of the research to impact the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of one or more forms of cancer


  • The award is $100,000 paid over one year and should be expended within two years of the initial award date.
  • All awards will be made to the host institution for the support of the designated investigator.
  • The funds are intended to be flexible and can be used for a variety of scientific needs including the awardee’s salary, salaries for professional and technical personnel, equipment, supplies, and other miscellaneous items required to conduct the research.  Funds may also be used to defray the cost of the recipient’s healthcare benefits.
  • Should the awardee move to an independent position at another institution during the award period, the funds may be transferred to the new institution.
  • The award cannot be used for indirect costs or institutional overhead.


Damon Runyon Fellows are eligible to apply in the last year of their Fellowship.  Currently, Damon Runyon Fellows selected in November 2020, May 2021, and February 2022 (DRG-2418-21 to DRG-2451-21, DRQ-13-22 to DRQ-15-22) are eligible to apply.
      Fellows who have terminated their awards early to accept an independent academic faculty position or other funding are eligible.
      Fellows who have moved to a position at a for-profit organization are not eligible.

Fellows may only apply once, at the deadline date that correlates with their award selection date.

Deadline Date Award Selection Dates DRG/DRQ
July 15, 2024 November 2020, May 2021, and February 2022

DRG-2418-21 to DRG-2451-21,
DRQ-13-22 to DRQ-15-22



All reports are kept strictly confidential.  The reports serve as an auditing tool to monitor research progress and award impact.

At the completion of the award, the awardee must submit:

  1. A summary of research performed during the award and evaluation of the results.  The summary should be technical, but targeted to a general scientific audience.  Figures and references may be included if appropriate. 
  2. A lay abstract of total accomplishments over the term of the award, including impact of the research on cancer.
  3. A statement indicating how the Damon Runyon Dale F. Frey Award made a difference to the Scientist.
  4. A brief description of collaborations and partnerships related to the Damon Runyon-funded research, with either academic and/or industry scientists. Please identify your collaborator(s) and their academic/industrial affiliation(s).
  5. A statement of future plans.
  6. An up-to-date NIH Biosketch.
  7. A completed intellectual property disclosure form.
  8. A brief description of your participation in any community-based educational mentorship program (e.g. STEM or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives).
  9. Do you have any plans to share your data, either before or after its publication in a peer reviewed journal? If so:

    a. What type of data is it (genome/exome sequence, images, structures, statistical software or algorithms, etc.)?

    b. Where will it be shared (such as Figshare, Dataverse, Open Science Framework (OSF), Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) or Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB))?

    c. Who will be in charge of preparing the data to share?

    d. What are the expected costs of preparing and sharing this data?


    Monies may be used to cover salary (investigator, technical staff, students and postdoctoral fellows) and/or research costs (supplies, equipment, etc.).  Funds may also be used to defray the cost of the recipient’s healthcare benefits.

    The institution's financial officer must maintain a separate account including receipts for each award, and this account must be available for audit by representatives of the Foundation.  All funds should be expended within two years of the initial award date.  Reports of expenditures must be submitted on the form provided by the Foundation and any unexpended balance refunded within 60 days of the award end or transfer date.

    Financial Expenditure Report Preparation Guidelines:
    Please use the Foundation's form for the report.


    Publications (including abstracts of presentations at scientific or clinical meetings) resulting from projects supported by the Foundation must carry the following acknowledgment: "[Name of Awardee] is supported (in part) by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (DFS-#[___])."

    Contact the Foundation at awards@damonrunyon.org if you do not know your DFS#.

    Awardees are also encouraged to identify themselves as a recipient of the Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Award when presenting their work at professional conferences. Download a copy of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation logo for inclusion in PowerPoint presentations or posters.

    Terms of the Award

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

    Please note: The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation will not modify the terms of its policies at the request of individual institutions. Policies have been approved by our Board of Directors, and we do not have the resources to negotiate separately with the many institutions that receive our support.

    All awards are made to the host institution for support of the designated Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Scientist.  An award does not constitute an employer-employee relationship between the Foundation and the recipient.

    Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Scientists are permitted to obtain additional awards or grants.
    The Scientist must commit at least 80% of their full-time professional effort to research activities.

    Should the awardee wish to leave the designated institution or modify any aspect of the award, they 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 awardee by the Foundation.

    Forms for Awardees

    Award Statement
    Award Acceptance Form
    Expenditure Report Form
    Invention Policy
    Intellectual Property Disclosure Form

    Contact Information

    Award Programs | awards@damonrunyon.org

    See Application Guidelines