Grant Writing Workshop and FAQs

Would you like to improve your grant writing skills? Do you want to learn proven tips to increase your chances of getting funded? Do you wish you knew what the reviewers were looking for and how to make your application stand out?

Successful grant writing is a set of skills that can be learned and improved upon with proper guidance and practice. Conquer Cancer provides grant writing resources for new and established applicants alike.

If you have any questions, please contact Conquer Cancer Grants & Awards.

Tips for Preparing Grant Applications

  • Start preparing early and note the grant due date when you begin to prepare an application. Check your institution’s internal deadline and requirements when submitting a grant application.
  • Read the Request for Proposal. Follow the instructions and application guidance carefully. Present information according to the prescribed format.
  • Be concise and clear. Make each point understandable. Make sure the information provided in each table, chart, attachment, etc., is consistent with the proposal narrative and information in other tables.
  • Know your reviewers. Different types of reviewers will evaluate your application including scientists, biostatisticians, and lay reviewers (patient advocates).
  • Reviewers will evaluate only the information provided in the application. The application and responses to program requirements and expectations should be complete and clearly written. Keep the review criteria in mind when writing the application.
  • Be organized and logical. Many applications are not funded because the narrative in the grant is unclear, and reviewers cannot follow the thought process.
  • Proofread the application. Avoid misspellings and grammatical errors. Be sure all pages are numbered (including appendices) and that page limits are followed. Limit the use of abbreviations and acronyms and define each one at its first use.

General Resources

All prospective applicants must have an ASCO account to log in to the ASCO and Conquer Cancer Application Portal. If you do not have an ASCO account, go to ASCO Sign In and click ‘Create an Account.' For assistance with log-in, contact ASCO Customer Service.

Conquer Cancer Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ

Sign Up for Virtual Office Hours

Sign-Up for Virtual Office Hours with Conquer Cancer Staff: Meet virtually with a member of Conquer Cancer’s staff for a 15-minute consultation to ask questions about application eligibility and requirements as well as navigate the online application portal. If you would like to provide supplementary documents, including the most recent copy of your CV or Biosketch, please email the grants team.

Sign-up for Virtual Office Hours with an Experienced Grant Writing Professional: Meet virtually with an oncologist who has experience with grant writing to ask questions and seek feedback as you develop your application.

Recorded Webinars 

Learn the essentials of effective grant writing, practical tips to develop high-quality applications, and insights into achieving success in grant writing

IDEA, LIFe, GO YIA Application Orientation Webinar (slides linked here)

Essentials of Effective Grant Writing (Speaker: Sogol Mostoufi-Moab, MD, MSCE)

Essentials of Effective Grant Writing (Speaker: Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, FASCO)

Developing a Strong Personal Statement and Biosketch (Speaker: Oladapo Yeku, MD, PhD)

Working with a Biostatistician (Speaker: Karla V. Ballman, PhD, FASCO)

From the Perspective of a Young Investigator Award Recipient: Working with a Patient Advocate (Speaker: Evan C. Chen, MD)

Working with a Patient Advocate (Speaker: Patty Spears)

Grant Writing Pearls (Speaker: Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, FASCO)

Choosing a Mentor and Obtaining Letters of Support (Speaker: Charles Thomas Jr., MD)

Mock Application Review (Speakers: Gary Schwartz, MD, FASCO, Yvonne Saenger, MD, Karla Ballman, PhD, Mary Lou Smith, JD, MBA, FASCO)

What to Do When Your Grant Gets Rejected (Speaker: N. Lynn Henry, MD, PhD, FASCO)

Examples of Grant Applications

The sample applications below are from previous cycles. Some sections may not reflect the current application requirements. Please refer to the current cycle’s Request for Proposals for the most up-to-date application requirements.

2022 CDA Funded Application

2021 CDA Unfunded Application

2020 LIFe Funded Application

Examples of Application Weaknesses

Finding Patient Research Advocates

Patient research advocates play an important role in helping researchers bring the best science to those affected by cancer. By collaborating with scientists, researchers, and clinicians in the development, oversight, and dissemination of cancer research, patient advocates help to advance research progress that improves outcomes for patients with cancer. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to research advocacy groups at their institutions.

Cancer.Net: Cancer-Specific Resources

How Patient Advocates Help Cancer Research: An Expert Q&A

How Patient Advocacy Helps Advance Cancer Research: A Conversation on Collaboration

Research Advocacy Network

ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group

SWOG Cancer Research Network

Children’s Oncology Group

Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology

National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD

AACR Scientist↔Survivor Program®

NCI Office of Advocacy Relations

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Clinical Trial Network Patient Advocate Committees

Susan G. Komen Advocates in Science

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

Helpful Articles

Highlights From the ASCO 2020 Grant Writing Webinar Series” by Inas Abuali, MD, FACP

“How To Get Funded” by Jae H. Park, MD (2011 YIA, 2014 CDA)

“Grant Writing: 10 Tips from a Successful Researcher” by Ezra Cohen, MD (2003 YIA, 2005 CDA)

“Submitting a Great Mentor Letter for Your Grant and Award Applications” by Dawn L. Hershman, MD, FASCO (2002 CDA, 2007 ACRA in Breast Cancer, 2015 CERP)

“Five Mistakes to Avoid in Your YIA Grant Application” by Thomas Flaig, MD and Wells Messersmith, MD, FACP, FASCO (2004 YIA)

“Patient Engagement in Cancer Research From the Patient’s Perspective” by Patricia A. Spears (Patient Advocate)

Other Resources

NIAID Apply for a Grant

How to Write an NIH Biosketch (Scientific Writing School)

The Anatomy of a Specific Aims Page

Know What To Look for When Choosing a Mentor

Grant Writers’ Seminars & Workshops