Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 11/16/2023

Damon Runyon-Scholars Program for Advancing Research and Knowledge

Damon Runyon wants to ensure that the best young college students and recent college graduates are encouraged to pursue rigorous scientific education and to commit their talents to tackling longstanding challenges in cancer research. We recognize that these emerging scientists will come from a variety of backgrounds. To provide those with the talent, passion, curiosity, and determination to pursue a career in cancer research with an opportunity to do so, we are introducing the Damon Runyon Scholars Program for Advancing Research and Knowledge (SPARK).     

SPARK seeks to accelerate representation and success in biomedical graduate programs of scholars who are interested in research who come from backgrounds that are typically underrepresented (UR) in the sciences. During their one-year SPARK internship, SPARK Scholars will develop and hone their research skills by working in a cancer research lab with a mentor who is a Damon Runyon scientist. They will begin their training to become highly skilled researchers, with the goal of transitioning to competitive biomedical graduate programs following the completion of their post-baccalaureate research. In addition to rigorous scientific training and comprehensive mentorship, SPARK Scholars will receive support with graduate school applications. The goal of the program is to encourage and train our brightest, most creative young minds so that they are prepared to pursue professional degrees that lead to careers in cancer research and enable them to join the effort to eradicate cancer. For the purposes of the SPARK Award, UR individuals are those from racial, ethnic, or other groups underrepresented in biomedical fields, including first-generation college students, those from economically and/or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, and those with disabilities.  

In summary, the year-long SPARK program identifies outstanding scholars from UR groups who have the potential to become leaders in cancer research and provides them with scientific training and a network of mentors to support their next career steps. At Damon Runyon, we fund high-risk, high-reward cancer research. We identify and enable young scientists who are brilliant, brave, and bold enough to go where others haven’t.  

Deadline: Feb. 2, 2024

Eligibility Requirements

Application for a Damon Runyon SPARK Award is open to current college seniors and those who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree within the last 36 months who meet the following criteria:  

  • From a racial, ethnic, or other group underrepresented in biomedical fields, including first-generation college students, those from economically and/or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds as defined by the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity, and those with disabilities; 
  • U.S. citizen, permanent legal resident, or DACA recipient who is eligible to legally work in the United States; and  
  • Strongly committed to a future career in research, with a curiosity for cancer research, and planning to pursue a PhD, MD/PhD, or MD degree following completion of post-baccalaureate research.   
Amount Description

Awards (Stipend/Travel allowance) are made to the host institution in support of the designated Scholar. Scholars should consult the institution about tax liability. The total stipend should not exceed the level of support for other individuals at the same level of training in that institution. If the full $50,000 is not to be expended as salary, the balance may be applied to Fringe Benefits.