Innovation Grants

Please see the eligibility and requirements section prior to creating an application.

Please note:

  • the abstract registration phase is no longer required
  • there must be no overlap (0%) with any pending or held grant applications (i.e. 100% unique aims)

Deadline dates

Full application due date: January 15, 2019

Results announcement: July, 2019
Anticipated start date: August 1, 2019

Application guides can be found on the EGrAMS documentation for applicants page.

Program description

Innovation Grants support the highest quality creative problem solving in cancer research. The goal of the Innovation program is to support the development and testing of unconventional concepts and approaches to address problems in cancer research, enhance our understanding of cancer, and generate new approaches to confront the challenges we face in defeating cancer.

Successfully funded Innovation projects are ideally based on “high risk” ideas that have a strong potential for “high reward”. They are feasible and doable by the applicant(s), but not necessarily based on a significant amount of preliminary data. With strong emphasis on innovation, the program encourages bold attempts to test novel hypotheses and/or generate new knowledge and/or improvements related to cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and support. Therefore, applications that explicitly address the Canadian Cancer Society’s mission to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer are encouraged from across all areas and disciplines of cancer research.

It is hoped that this program will accelerate the introduction of innovation into the entire cancer research system and contribute to the scientific idea pipeline. Proposals with scientific merit that are deemed derivative, pursue next logical steps, or seek to make incremental advancements are not considered innovative. Significant findings from investigators funded by Innovation Grants may be developed further through CCS Research "Innovation to Impact" and “Impact” Grants or operating grants offered by other agencies.

Funds available

It is anticipated that approximately 22 grants will be awarded in this competition.

A special call for breast cancer research is included in this competition. For applicants wishing to be considered under the breast cancer research initiative, a relevance statement is required that explicitly demonstrates how the project is relevant to breast cancer.

Innovative applications with a focus on cancer prevention and survivorship are encouraged.

Additional funds may be available from the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation, to support innovative projects focused on the application of complementary and alternative approaches in cancer treatment and control.

Grant budgets may be up to $100,000 per year and a maximum of $200,000 per grant. Grant expenditures may be extended over 3 years if justified in the application. Grants will be non-renewable.

Funding will be provided to support the direct costs of research, including supplies, salaries, and equipment associated with the proposed work. Equipment requests cannot exceed 25% of the requested budget. Indirect costs are not eligible.

Peer review panels

Multidisciplinary peer review committees will be assembled to review the full applications. Peer review committees will consist of scientific experts with broad expertise, along with community representatives to provide patient/survivor/caregiver perspectives.

Review panel information can be found here. Note that panel composition will be finalized after the Full Application deadline, based on best-fit for each application. CCS may determine that the creation of additional panels is necessary to accommodate the volume and breadth of applications.

Full application

Note that the Abstract registration phase has been removed. Only Full applications are required for this competition.

A maximum of one application per Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator will be permitted in each competition. 

The proposal will contain no more than 4 pages of single-spaced text and 2 pages of figures/tables/charts and associated legends. Specific guidelines for the online application are available here.

When preparing the full application, the following is required:

  1. a public summary of the proposed research (please note requirements have changed)
  2. a scientific abstract 
  3. an innovation statement explicitly describing how the project is “innovative”. Applications addressing diverse aspects of “innovation” are expected.
  4. a breast cancer relevance statement (as applicable), explicitly demonstrating how the project is relevant to breast cancer.
  5. a detailed scientific proposal clearly stating the aims of the project including any previous work done in the area, experimental design, methods and analysis.
    • Investigators must provide convincing rationale for the hypothesis.
    • Details of the investigator(s) including which member(s) of the research team will be responsible for which aspect of the project and a rationale for their inclusion in the project are required, and a description of the research environment where the work will take place.
  6. a vision statement explicitly describing how the proposed work could move the field forward and accelerate progress in cancer research. This statement should also clearly address the expected “next steps” following completion of the project.
  7. a budget justification related to the supplies, equipment and personnel associated with the research project. This must include the number of personnel required to complete the work and a description of their experience and/or education level and their commitment to the project.

Review criteria

The review criteria will include, but not necessarily be restricted to, five assessment categories: Innovation, Research Strategy, Investigator(s), Environment, and Cancer Relevance.


(Innovation rating scale)

  • potential to address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field
  • potential to improve or apply a new theoretical concept, approach, methodology or tool
  • degree to which the research is original, unique and creative
  • potential gain relative to (any) perceived risk
  • degree to which the research proposes new paradigms or challenges existing ones
Research strategy
  • scientific merit and convincing rationale that considers critical review and analysis of preliminary data and/or published literature, as appropriate
  • identification of potential problems and how they will be addressed, including alternative approaches
  • appropriateness of the term and amount of support requested
  • qualifications and appropriate expertise of the investigator(s)
  • quality of the research environment in which the work will take place
Cancer relevance
  • potential impact on cancer control
  • degree to which the proposed research addresses CCS’s mission to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life for people living with and beyond cancer.

Multiple applications/multiple sources of funding

There must be no overlap (0%) with any held or pending applications including those at the registration, abstract or Letter of Intent submission stage to any agency as of this competition due date. The Innovation grant must contain 100% unique aims to comply with this policy. Duplicate applications will not be accepted.

Applicants are reminded to review the eligibility and requirements section for details on scientific and financial reporting, funder acknowledgement, Canadian Cancer Society policies on open access and tobacco related funding.

Partner Description

Founded in 1962 to support charitable causes in Vancouver, the Lotte & John Hecht Memorial Foundation has since broadened its mandate to include the investigation and support of complementary and alternative medicine, particularly in the treatment of cancer. As part of its support for health research, the Foundation has partnered with Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) since 2012 to support relevant research projects in the CCS Innovation, i2I and Impact Grant programs.

Last modified on: October 18, 2018