Idea Award

The purpose of the Idea Award is to stimulate the development of high-quality, innovative cancer research projects that will move forward to extramurally-funded grant awards. Idea awards provide early funding support for high-risk, high-payoff research for which external grants are difficult to obtain.

Purpose and Overview | Eligibility | Evaluation | Awardees

Idea Award Application

Applications are due on Friday, May 31, 2024.

Purpose and Overview

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center leadership anticipates distributing awards of up to $50,000 for one year without the option to renew. Sources of funding for the award include the Hollings Cancer Center Support Grant (P30 CA138313), fundraising from the LOWVELO bike ride, and other Hollings philanthropy/foundation accounts.

Awardees are required to submit a timeline for a National Cancer Institute R01 or equivalent grant submission. In addition, a final progress report is required upon project completion and for five years following its conclusion. The reports should include an outline of project results and grant applications submitted and/or planned for submission. Any no-cost extensions will require prior approval. Principal investigators (PIs) are expected to seek regulatory (e.g., IACUC, IRB, etc.) approvals within three months of award decision. Please note that the funding cannot be released until required approvals have been obtained for any human and animal subject protocols and copies have been provided.  For more information or questions regarding the Hollings Idea Award, eligibility, or the application process, please contact Mary Shipp-Tabor (


  • Proposed research must be cancer-relevant.
  • All MUSC faculty members are eligible to apply. Priority will be give to junior investigators.
  • Research can only take place, and expenditures incurred, at MUSC.
  • All awarded PIs and co-investigators are encouraged to participate as a registered rider in the annual LOWVELO bike ride event and actively participate in HCC research program meetings and retreats.


Each full application will be assigned to both internal and external reviewers who have substantial expertise in cancer research and in reviewing grants.

Review criteria include:

  • Standard NIH criteria (significance, innovation, approach, and investigative team);
  • Likelihood that preliminary results will lead to external, peer-reviewed funding;
  • Participation in Hollings Cancer Center programs (e.g., attend program meetings, participate in grant review panels, participate in annual research symposia, etc.);
  • The Future Funding Plan (see instructions) must describe how the funds will provide data that is critical to future extramural grant application(s);
  • When appropriate, describe the likelihood of the research to ultimately produce intellectual property, such as patents.