Open Call – Mark Foundation: Emerging Leader Award

Apr 7, 2021 | Awards & Funding, Research

To: All Divisional Faculty and Researchers
From: Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Subject: Funding Opportunity

The Office of Foundations Relations is pleased to share this open call for funding from the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. 

UCSC Contact:
Funder: Mark Foundation for Cancer Research
Opportunity: Emerging Leader Award 2021
LOI Deadline:  May 3, 2021, 5pm EST


The Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Awards support innovative research from the next generation of leaders in cancer research. These grants are awarded to outstanding early career investigators to support high-impact, high-risk projects that are distinct from their current research portfolio.

Award Amount & Terms

  • The grant amount is $250,000 per year for three years totaling $750,000.
  • Indirect costs are not to exceed 10% of direct costs and are included in total.
  • In Year 3, at The Mark Foundation’s discretion, select Awardees may be invited to apply for up to two years of additional funding depending on project progress.
  • Award start date will be January 1, 2022.


  • MD, PhD, or equivalent is required.
  • Applicants need not be U.S. citizens but must be employed by a U.S. non-profit academic institution.
  • Applicants must be three to nine years from the start of an independent faculty research appointment as of December 31, 2021 (i.e., the official start date of the appointment must fall within the calendar years 2012-2018). Exceptions due to prolonged medical or family leave will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • This award is not intended to be the main source of funding for the applicant’s laboratory. Applicants must demonstrate multi-year independent funding that sustains the central activities of the laboratory (e.g., at least one or two grants such as NIH/R01, NSF/CAREER, or equivalently substantial multi-year awards).
  • Projects for this award must be centered on evidence-based laboratory, data, and/or medical science.
  • Proposed projects must not be supported by other sources of funding. Finalists will be asked to discuss any potential overlap with other current or pending awards during the interview.
  • Only one submission per applicant is permitted.
  • If selected, finalists must be available for virtual interviews the week of October 10, 2021.
  • The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or any other legally protected characteristics.

To apply

Letters of Intent will be accepted through the online portal beginning March 24 and must be received no later than 5 PM Eastern Time on Monday, May 3, 2021. Registration and email address verification are required.

The Letter of Intent will include:

  • Project Title
  • Project Summary: description of the proposed project, including a concise discussion of the rationale, experimental approach, innovation, and potential impact (350 words).
  • Statement of Project Distinction: brief paragraph describing how the proposed project is unique from the main focus of the lab and prior research activities.

Applicants will also be requested to provide an NIH biosketch and a list of current grants and other funding supporting the lab.

The initial review process of the Letters of Intent will conceal the applicant’s name and institution. Please avoid citations and references to the applicant’s name in the letter.


  • May 3, 2021 – Letters of Intent Due by 5pm ET
  • Week of June 13, 2021 – Full applications Invited
  • July 26, 2021 – Full applications due by 5pm ET
  • Week of October 3, 2021 – Finalists Notified
  • Week of October 10, 2021 – Virtual Interviews of Finalists
  • Week of October 17, 2021 – Selection of Awardees
  • December 10, 2021 – Signed Agreements Due
  • January 1, 2022 – Grant Start Date

Special Requirements

If invited to submit a full proposal, please promptly submit your proposal intake form prior to UCSC’s Internal Institutional Deadlines.

For LOI development support, or for any questions about institutional requirements, please send requests and questions to the research development team at A proposal development specialist will field your requests.

The Office of Foundation Relations is a unit of University Relations. The FR team creates and maintains mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with private organizations, matching funding initiatives with educational and research programs and centers. FR supports faculty and staff to identify and approach these and other private foundations and corporations for funding, assists in inquiries and grant proposals including drafting and/or editing depending on the need, gathers supporting materials, helps in campus visits, facilitates interactions with the Office of Sponsored Projects and other collaborators, and obtains institutional signatures.

For a list of recent funding opportunities, please visit the FR website.  FR Calls for Funding

If you have any questions or comments, please contact