University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Impact Grant

Do you have a wild idea that could significantly impact cancer? You could be the next recipient of the Cancer Center Impact Grant!

The Cancer Center will fund one high-risk, high-reward research project in the amount of $250,000 over two years. We encourage novel, impactful studies to address a key problem in cancer that would be unlikely to be supported through conventional mechanisms. No supporting or preliminary data will be required, and any area relevant to cancer will be considered.

The deadline for applications is April 7, 2017.


Any member of the UCSF community is invited to apply, including faculty, postdocs, staff scientists, students, etc. Affiliation/membership with the Cancer Center is not required. (Non-faculty staff members should seek the agreement of their supervisor before applying.) Both individual and team applications will be considered.


Step 1: Anonymous Idea Submission

Applicants will remain anonymous to the review panel during the first round. The initial submission will consist of a two-page proposal outlining the key question, why it is important, and how it will be addressed. A basic budget delineating how the project would use the $250,000 is required, but will not impact the reviewers' decisions. An additional one page of figures (including legends) and one page of references will be permitted.

Step 2: Idea Pitch

After initial review and triage, finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas in a 20-slide, 5-minute public presentation with Q&A (to a UCSF-only audience). The review panel, which will be in the audience and will remain anonymous, will be instructed to embrace risk and support innovation to fund studies that may make a genuine impact on cancer. The panel will convene directly following the pitch session in order to make a final decision. The announcement will be made at a reception event immediately following the presentations.


First-round applications due April 7, 2017
Notification of first-round selection Mid-May 2017
Second-round pitch event and award selection [event details and registration info]

June 14, 2017

Award start date July 1, 2017


 > Application and Cover Sheet [docx]
 > Frequently Asked Questions
 > Download Flyer [pdf]

Submit a PDF of the application by 5:00 pm on April 7, 2017 to:
Meredith Donnelly, Programs Analyst,

Step 1: Submit Your Written Proposal

Applications are limited to two pages (11-pt Arial font, 0.5-in margins, single spaced), with an additional one page for figures and legends, one page for supporting references and one page for budget (PI salary support is not allowed). Preliminary data are not required. To ensure anonymity, no part of your application (including title) should contain any identifying information for you, your department, or any other affiliations. Any information disclosed on the required cover page will be for administrative purposes and not passed to the review panel. No CV or biosketch is required for the initial review.

Ideas will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Cancer relevance
  • Novelty of approach
  • Impact
  • Unlikely to be funded through conventional mechanisms

Questions? View the Impact Grant FAQ.

Step 2: Pitch Your Idea

Detailed instructions will be provided to finalists at the time of selection. Presentations will be 5 minutes in length, with no more than 20 visual slides. There will be an additional 15-minute Q&A session, in front of a public UCSF audience, including anonymous reviewers.