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Gateway Discovery Grant in Immunotherapy Research

The Gateway Discovery Grant in Immunotherapy Research is the inaugural grant under the Gateway Discovery Grant Program. This grant will provide funding of up to $1.5 million over three years for a Phase I or Phase II treatment based clinical trial that has the potential to make an impact on patient care and advance clinical practice standards for today's cancer patients.

The Gateway Discovery Grant Program is an initiative designed to identify compelling areas of inquiry in the field of cancer research and to fund the talented clinician-scientists best positioned to pursue the studies. Grant funding of up to $1.5 million over three years will be provided to support innovative cancer researchers poised to advance clinical practice standards in areas of unmet need. The program is offered every two years and each grant will have a different focus area.

Conquer Cancer® is the scientific partner for the Gateway Discovery Grant Program and will provide scientific expertise and peer review. Gateway for Cancer Research is the grantor and provider of funding for the research grant. Gateway will provide grant administration and the grant recipient must agree to bound to the Terms and Conditions of Gateway.

Research Project Criteria

Cancer immunotherapy encompasses a broad range of medicines and treatment approaches that stimulate the immune system including vaccines, immune checkpoint inhibitors, and most recently, cellular therapies. These interventions have improved the outlook for multiple cancers, producing long-lasting remissions that can last for years in some patients. At present, however, long-term disease control occurs in just a minority of patients. In addition, immunotherapies can cause substantial adverse effects that can be life-threatening and, in some cases, permanent. Methods to identify patients most likely to benefit from immunotherapy and those at high risk for severe adverse events are urgently needed. The ability to adequately assess benefits and risks of immunotherapy for each individual will lead to better outcomes for patients. (Research Priorities to Accelerate Progress Against Cancer.)

Proposals will be accepted for new ideas that better predict response to immunotherapies. A new indication for an existing therapy will be considered only if particularly compelling evidence is provided in the submission. Proposed research should include a phase 1 or 2 treatment based investigator initiated clinical trial.


Applications may be submitted by entities that engage in cancer research including:

  • Higher Education Institutions
  • University Medical Centers
  • Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education
  • Government Organizations (may include medical centers and hospitals that have access to resources and infrastructure to support a research project) 
  • Foreign Institutions are eligible to apply

Multi-institutional collaboration is encouraged for this grant. The person indicated as the Lead Principal Investigator (Lead PI) in the grant application is the one who is personally and actively responsible for the conduct and oversight of the research and who is considered eligible by the Sponsor Institution to apply as PI for a grant.

Principal Investigators (PIs)

  • Must have a doctoral degree (including MD, PhD, MD/PhD, DO, DC, ND, DDS, DVM, ScD, DNS, PharmD, or equivalent doctoral degree) in the biomedical sciences or in a field applicable to immunotherapy research.
  • Must be a full-time employee of the sponsoring institution.
  • Has individual experience serving as PI, Co-PI or collaborator on human research protocols.
  • Has demonstrated ability to carry out the responsibilities of PI, including administrative management of protocols.
  • Physicians must have a valid, active medical license in the country where the research will be conducted at the time of application and during the entire period of the grant.
  • Be able to commit sufficient time and effort to assure successful progress of the clinical trial.
  • Only one application per Lead PI will be accepted for the Gateway Discovery Grant in Immunotherapy Research, although individuals may serve as a co-PI or contribute to more than one application.
  • Postdoctoral or clinical research fellows or the equivalent who are working under the auspices of a scientific mentor are not eligible to apply.
  • There are no citizenship or geographic requirements. However, by submitting an application, an applicant applying from an institution located in a country in which he/she is not a citizen or a permanent resident assures that the visa status will provide sufficient time to complete the project and grant term at the institution from which he/she applied.

Members of the Project Team

  • Gateway funded trials must involve patient advocates: Investigators are required to consult with patient representatives and advocates to gather their input into the trial design.
  • The Team should include at least one young investigator (e.g., clinical research fellow; junior faculty member) that should play a key role in the project.
  • Other collaborators

Application Instructions

This application does not require a Letter of Intent. Full applications must be submitted in accordance with the requirements and instructions of the Gateway Discovery Grant in Immunotherapy Research Program Guidelines and Application Instructions by the application deadline. All application materials must be in English and must be submitted through the Application Portal. Paper applications or applications sent by e-mail or fax will not be accepted. If you have questions, please email


The Gateway Discovery Grant in Immunotherapy Research is supported by: