Damon Runyon News

July 18, 2022

Amid growing calls for academic and funding institutions to recognize the financial hardships faced by postdoctoral researchers across the country, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation has announced that it will increase its Fellowship stipend by 12.5% over the award’s four-year term. The stipend increase will be effective for all Damon Runyon Fellows whose awards begin or renew on or after July 1, 2022.

Under the new terms, the Fellowship stipend will start at $60,000 and increase by $2,000 each year. Fellows will continue to receive an additional $2,000 each year for research-related expenses, for a total of $260,000 over the four years.

Increased costs of living, financial market instability, and insufficient healthcare and childcare coverage have exacerbated the already precarious nature of the postdoctoral position, making these research opportunities less attractive to those without a financial safety net.

During discussions, the Scientific Committee of the Damon Runyon Board of Directors jointly determined that “Postdocs are highly trained and indispensable members of any laboratory. They should be more appropriately valued and compensated, and the fact that they often fail to receive that recognition is a systemic failure.”

“Postdoctoral fellows are instrumental in advancing scientific knowledge in the U.S. and around the world, but it has grown even more evident in recent years that financial pressures deter promising researchers from continuing their scientific careers,” says Yung S. Lie, PhD, President and CEO of Damon Runyon. “Increasing our stipend is a small step towards the structural change needed to provide postdocs with the resources they need at this critical phase of their careers. We will continue to listen to our scientists and identify opportunities to make our Fellowship programs even stronger and more supportive.”

The Fellowship Award, designed to encourage high-risk, high-reward cancer research, provides postdoctoral scientists with independent funding to support their training as they embark upon their careers in the labs of leading senior investigators. Damon Runyon was among the first fellowship agencies to offer four full years of postdoctoral funding, in response to the financial pressures many scientists face at this point in their careers and in recognition of the lengthy training required to become a fully independent research scientist.

Learn more about the Damon Runyon Fellowship program here.