General Information:
The Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) is pleased to announce the availability of funds from the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS IRG) for new pilot projects. This grant provides support for beginning investigators to enable the initiation of their independent research program. 

The purpose of the ACS IRG program is to attract new investigators from Notre Dame and IUSM-South Bend into cancer research and to provide support for new pilot studies that will produce preliminary data for the investigator to develop into studies that will compete successfully for external, national funds from both federal and private sources. Faculty from all disciplines, with any project relating to cancer research, are strongly encouraged to apply.

One-year competing renewal applications will also be accepted from eligible investigators previously funded by the HCRI ACS IRG. If you are submitting a competing renewal application, please include a progress report summary (up to 2 pages) of results obtained using your award. 

Funding is available for up to two pilot projects, beginning July 1st, 2020, in amounts up to $30,000 (see below for eligible expenses).

Eligibility: As defined by the American Cancer Society, the eligibility criteria are: 

  • All faculty with ranks of Assistant Professor, Research Professors (all ranks), or Research Scientist at Notre Dame or IUSM-South Bend are invited to apply.
  • Investigators who have NOT held or obtained a nationally competitive research grant (e.g., NIH, NSF, DOD, ACS). Applicants with prior funding from the ACS IRG or with significant funding from other sources are NOT eligible to apply (NOTE: Applicants may have funding from foundation grants as long as the grant is not the result of a national peer-reviewed competition and is for support of a different non-cancer research project).
  • Applicants that are not U.S. CITIZENS must submit proof of holding a visa that will allow the applicant to remain in the USA to complete the project. 
  • Applicants must be (or become) members of the HCRI.  Notre Dame faculty must affiliate subsequent extramural proposals with HCRI in the grant management system. 
  • Applicants who have been awarded previous funding are encouraged to check their eligibility status with Andy Bullock ( prior to the initiation of an application. 

Application Information and Guidelines: click here for ACS IRG Application Template

IMPORTANT: All proposals must describe new pilot studies in cancer research. All applications must present a clear plan for pursuing external funding based on the pilot project you submit to the ACS IRG.  Proposals, which exceed the page numbers or fail to follow the formatting guidelines, will be returned to the investigator without review.

  • Title page: PI information and contact information.
  • Abstract (up to 500 words), summarizing research, focus, and cancer relevance.
  • Introduction to resubmission (resubmission only, one-page limit),  describing how the resubmission addresses reviewers' critiques.
  • Proposal body (six-page limit): Please use the document template, and follow standard NIH format with the below recommendations. Proposals format: Helvetica or Arial, font size 11 point or larger and 1/2 inch margins. The proposal body should include: 
  1. Background and Rationale for the pilot study 
  2. Hypothesis and Aims
  3. Research strategies: a high-level description of the research design, Methods, Data analysis/statistical plan, and alternatives. Make sure to include a description of what preliminary data to be obtained through ACS-IRG that would allow you to submit for external funding. 
  4. Potential external funding (NIH, NSF, DoD, ACS) applications: a description of how this proposal will help leverage the work for external funding. 
  5. Therapeutic Indication/Target Population /Potential Clinical Impact
  • Supporting documents (not included in the six-page limit):
  1. References Cited.
  2. Budget and Budget Justification
  3. Letters of support, independence (if relevant for a research scientist and research professor track application), and collaboration as necessary for the grant aims to be completed.
  4. Cancer Relevance Information Form
  5. Research Promotion Form

  Criteria for Review:

  • Cancer relatedness
  • Scientific merit
  • Potential for subsequent peer-reviewed funding

Proposal Submission and Funding Timeline

  • Completed Application Due: June 07, 2020 (5:00 p.m. EDT)
  • Funding Start Date: July 01, 2020

Post Award Requirements: Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Provide six month and annual progress reports, including information on publications, grants, and intellectual property for a total of five years.
  • Present their research at an interactive poster session or oral presentation during the Harper Cancer Research Day. 
  • Participate in at least one service opportunity sponsored by the ACS during the year of funding.
  • Acknowledge receipt of ACS support in any presentation or publication of work funded by the ACS IRG Grant Mechanism. 
  • Click here for ACS IRG Expenditure Guidelines

Midwest Ovarian Cancer Coalition Workshop Abstract Format General Instructions:

  1. Submit in a Word document only (.docx or .doc)
  2. File Name Format: Submitter's Last Name, Submitter's First Name - PI's Last Name
  3. Limit abstract body to 350 words
  4. 1.5 line spacing
  5. 1-inch margins
  6. Right and left-justified
  7. Title font - Calibri 12 bold; rest of text - Calibri 11
  8. Underline poster presenter; provide the department and institutional affiliations


HCRI Research Day Abstract Format General Instructions:

  1. Submit in a Word document only (.docx or .doc)
  2. File Name Format: Submitter's Last Name, Submitter's First Name - PI's Last Name
  3. Limit abstract body to 350 words
  4. 1.5 line spacing
  5. 1 inch margins
  6. Right and left justified
  7. Title font Calibri 12 bold; rest of text Calibri 11
  8. Underline poster presenter; provide department and institutional affiliations



Across the sciences, the skills required to analyze large data sets, build statistical models, and simulate complex processes are becoming increasingly critical. For example, genomic data sets may consist of millions of sequencing reads from hundreds or thousands of samples. In ecology and earth sciences, researchers are applying new methods for modeling ecological data and assimilating data and models to improve forecasts of ecological and environmental change. In systems biology, scientists are modeling the emergent properties of interacting genes, proteins, cells, and tissues. All of these research areas depend on computational fluency. 

The REACT program (Rapid Exposure to Advanced Computational Training) is a short-term initiative to support graduate students to receive the latest training in computational tools and techniques in their field. REACT is a joint effort between the Environmental Change Initiative (ECI), the Eck Institute for Global Health (EIGH), the Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility (GBCF), and the Harper Cancer Institute (HCRI). REACT will provide up to $1,300 to cover student tuition, registration, and board required to attend nationally-recognized workshops that provide the latest training in computational approaches.


  • The applicant must be a PhD student or thesis Masters student enrolled at Notre Dame.
  • The student's advisor/PI must be a member in good standing with either the Environmental Change Initiative, the Eck Institute for Global Health, Notre Dame’s Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility, or the Harper Cancer Institute. Students should check with their advisors if they are not sure of their PI’s affiliations.
  • Students attending workshops may be asked to share the knowledge they gain with local working groups, journal clubs, classes, or a symposium of fellow REACT awardees.
  • REACT will cover costs for registration, tuition, room and board, up to $1,300. REACT does not cover research expenses or travel costs. Travel costs are expected to be covered by the student’s advisor/PI.

Application instructions

  1. Applications are considered on a rolling basis. All applications should be submitted online. Questions can be directed towards Beth Archie (, Mike Pfrender (, Kathy Taylor (, or Kara Primmer (
  2. Applicants will be required to:
  • Create an account with Submittable in order to submit your online application.
  • Provide information on the workshop they plan to attend.
  • Explain the computational skill(s) they will learn at the workshop and how those skills will help their research.
  • Provide information on the costs for workshop registration, tuition, and room and board. REACT provides up to $1,300 to cover these costs and these costs only.
  • Provide information on their admissions status in regards to the workshop (e.g. the student has not yet applied, the student has applied and the application is pending, or the student has applied and has been admitted to the workshop. If the latter, students will provide evidence of acceptance.)
  • Upload a short letter from the student’s sponsoring advisor/PI that states:  
  1. That the PI supports the student’s attendance at the workshop
  2. That the PI will pay for the student's travel costs
  3. Which of the following ND Centers, Initiatives, and Institutes the PI regularly affiliates with: ECI, EIGH, GBCF, or HCRI.
Harper Cancer Research Institute