American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center is a recipient of the American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (ACS IRG). The ACS IRG is an institutional award that enables Hollings to provide small pilot research funding to beginning investigators who have no national competitive research grant support. Since 2003, 95 awards have been made. Awards will be up to $35,000 each and upon competitive review can be renewed for a second year. 

The principal investigator of the ACS IRG award is Denis C. Guttridge, Ph.D. The review of applications and allocation of awards will be managed through Hollings Cancer Center using a peer review process. The award is exempt from indirect costs, so all funds are used for cancer research as direct costs. IRB and/or IACUC approvals must be sent to Hollings administration before any funding will be released. If approvals are not applicable, an exemption letter will be required.

Hollings collaborates with the local ACS to promote ACS research opportunities and to disseminate information about research findings and benefits to public and professional groups. To learn more about the ACS IRG and other ACS research opportunities, visit the ACS website.

Applications are due on Monday, April 12, 2021, by 4 p.m.

Eligibility | Evaluation Criteria | Timeline | Application Guidelines


  • Must be within four years of their first independent research or faculty appointment. Although applicants may apply for multiple awards, a grantee may not be the principal investigator on more than one ACS grant at any time.
  • Must not currently hold any national peer-reviewed project grant funding (e.g., R01, R03, R21, national ACS award, national DOD award, etc.). An exception will be made for faculty members who hold national peer-reviewed grants in non-cancer-related areas. However, these proposals must have a direct, unquestionable cancer focus and include a cancer scientist as a mentor. Individuals with career development awards (NIH K awards and career development awards from foundations) are eligible.
  • Individuals who have received national peer-reviewed research grants that were not renewed and who are still at the level of assistant professor may apply for an individual IRG, provided they are within the first four years of their independent faculty (or equivalent) appointment and have not received funds from the ACS IRG before.
  • Must at the time of application have U.S. residency status or hold a visa that will allow time for full completion of the project.
  • Must have a primary academic appointment at MUSC.

Evaluation Criteria

Each proposal will be reviewed by two or more ACS IRG committee members, including a biostatistician, and scored by each committee member using the NIH scoring system and process. Written evaluations of the projects will be provided to applicants after funding decisions have been made.

Review criteria will include:

  • Proposed research has direct cancer relevance and addresses an important problem in cancer.
  • There is high probability that the pilot project supported by this sub-award will form the basis for major peer-reviewed funding.

Please contact Brett Bechtol at with questions about your eligibility.

Timeline for Proposals for Sub-Grant Awards 

  • Each applicant is strongly encouraged to include a biostatistician collaborator as part of the proposal to assist with design and statistical methods. If assistance is needed in identifying a biostatistician, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Hill (, director of the Hollings Biostatistics Shared Resource, as soon as possible. Please use the Biostatistics Resource Request Form to submit your biostatistics requests.
  • Notification of intent to submit is due Friday, March 19, 2021, by 4 p.m. This notification allows us to better prepare for the review. Please send Brett Bechtol ( a brief email stating that you plan to submit an application. The email should contain a preliminary title, notice of any collaborators, and your academic title and department. If your list of collaborators or the nature of the proposed research changes at any time, you must notify Brett Bechtol as soon as possible.
  • Applications are due Monday, April 12, 2021, by 4 p.m. Please send one PDF file of the application packet via email to Brett Bechtol (
  • Applications received by the deadline will be scientifically reviewed by the ACS IRG committee in May, and all applicants will be notified soon after. Every effort will be made to have awards allocated by June 1, 2021. Please notify your departmental business manager about your submission.
  • Grant awards are for a 12-month period, from June 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022. All awards should be completed and spent by May 31, 2022. No cost extensions will only be granted under rare circumstances.