Launch of African Beginning Investigator Grant for Catalytic Research (BIG Cat)

Funding for African cancer researchers to base their careers in their home countries and institutions and contribute to the overall expansion of capacity for research and training in Africa.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is a large professional organisation dedicated to advancing cancer research. Its mission is to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication and collaboration.

The AACR is running the Beginning Investigator Grant for Catalytic Research (BIG Cat) in partnership with the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) and the US National Cancer Institute Center for Global Health (NCI/CGH) in order to build capacity for cancer research in Africa.

The scheme aims to help the next generation of African cancer researchers to base their careers in their home countries and institutions, and to contribute to the overall expansion of capacity for research and training in Africa by generating evidence that will guide practice and policy.

Research projects may be in any area of cancer research, including basic research, clinical research, population-based research and translational research across the cancer care continuum (prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship). Applicants are encouraged to be innovative in their research proposals and demonstrate local relevance of their proposed research.

The grants will last for two years. They are designed to catalyse subsequent application for funding from other funding sources, not to support longer term research.

At the start of the grant term, applicants must be a beginning investigator, defined as a clinician or scientist who received their highest degree of study within the past ten years. Applicants must reside in and be conducting research in Africa with particular relevance to the African cancer burden on the continent. The grants are not intended for principal investigators outside of Africa, although collaborative research projects are encouraged.

The Principal Investigator is required to have local mentor who will be committed to providing scientific guidance during the application process and throughout the entire period of the proposed project. The local mentor may or may not be from the same institution as the Principal Investigator, and may also serve as a collaborator on the proposed research project.

AORTIC and AACR membership are required. Only AORTIC members in good standing will be eligible to submit a Letter of Intent. Non-members of AORTIC can apply for AORTIC membership online. If selected for submission of a full application, any non-members will need to also submit an application for AACR Membership, and be members in good standing, by the full application deadline.

The total value of the grant is $55,000 over two years. Funding can be used for expenses related to the research project, which may include salary and benefits of the grant recipient and any collaborator, postdoctoral or clinical research fellows, graduate students (including tuition costs), and/or research assistants, research/laboratory supplies, equipment, publication charges for manuscripts that pertain directly to the funded project, and other research expenses.

Letters of Intent should be submitted by the 15 December 2021 (17:00 UTC) deadline.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)