Skip to main content

VICC SPORE in Gastrointestinal Cancer

Career Enhancement Program Call for Applications

The overall goal of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) SPORE in Gastrointestinal Cancer Career Enhancement Program (CEP) is to provide individuals with the training, mentorship, and collaborative interactions necessary for them to have successful and independent careers in translational gastrointestinal cancer research. The VICC GI SPORE CEP announces a funding opportunity which aims to provide outstanding translational research mentorship, training, and opportunities for investigators to develop sufficient knowledge, skills and expertise to successfully pursue independent, translationally oriented investigative careers focused on GI neoplasia. The goal of this funding is to support junior and established investigators who wish to enhance or refocus their research in GI cancer for the generation of preliminary data required for the submission of external, GI cancer-relevant grant applications (e.g. R type, DOD).

Funds are available to qualified faculty from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt University, Meharry Medical College, and Tennessee State University. Underrepresented minority investigators are encouraged to apply. For CEP, junior faculty are defined as investigators at the rank of assistant professor or equivalent who are eligible to apply as a principal investigator for grant support from national agencies (e.g., NIH, ACS, NSF). The investigator must be within six (6) years of their first independent research or faculty appointment and have a commitment from the institution for salary and space. Up to two $50,000 grants will be awarded for one-year projects beginning June 1, with the possibility of renewal for a second year based on measurable progress of impact.

Ranking will be by peer review, based on novelty and scientific merit with consideration given to the projects with relevance to GI cancer. A major criterion will be the perceived probability that the research project will lead to the submission of a competitive research grant application to the NCI or similar major source of extramural funding. The purpose of this program is not to serve as the sole source of funding for small projects, but rather to catalyze the generation of relevant preliminary data needed for a larger study. Other factors to be considered in the review will be the areas of expertise of the investigator(s), and the value of the project to the cancer research priorities of the VICC.

Interested applicants for the Career Enhancement Program should submit the following:

  • Cover letter which includes the title of the project, participating investigator(s), a statement elaborating on the applicant’s career goals and long-term interests in translational GI cancer research, whether the proposed research will involve human subjects or vertebrate animals, and the status of the appropriate committee (e.g., IACUC or IRB) approval if appropriate.
  • NIH biographical sketch for the applicant (and the mentor for junior faculty)
  • Other Support of the applicant (and the mentor for junior faculty) using the NIH PHS398 form
  • Two-page research proposal (excluding references)
  • Detailed budget for the project period (earliest anticipated start is June 1) using the NIH PHS 398 detailed budget form page (form page 4)
  • Budget Justification (include a certification that there is no financial or scientific overlap with existing projects)
  • For junior faculty, a letter from the department chair, division director or mentor supporting the applicant’s proposal and commitment toward research supplies and providing specific assurances that space and resources are available for the applicant


To submit your application electronically, please submit a single PDF containing all documentation through the VICC Pilot Project Application Portal. A link to the VICC Pilot Project Application Portal can also be found at the top right-hand corner of the VICC Funding Opportunities web page ( In the VICC Pilot Project Application Portal, please select “GI SPORE Pilot Project” from the dropdown options.

The VICC GI SPORE may require presentations of competitive projects to the GI Research Mentoring Panel before final funding selections. Oral and written progress reports will be required.

If you have further questions or comments, please contact Meghan O’Loughlin at