EIO 2022 Scholars Program

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The Center for Experimental Immuno-Oncology (EIO) was formed to organize and expand the research community at MSK that is focused on the full spectrum of basic science relevant to the interaction of the immune system with tumors.

As part of its mission to train and support a new generation of researchers, the EIO Center is excited to announce The EIO Scholars program, a comprehensive career development program to support trainees engaged in laboratory training in the areas of immuno-oncology (IO), tumor microenvironment (TME), microbe-cancer interactions, and other areas related to the EIO Center. We are particularly interested in scientists from diverse scientific disciplines that may be new to IO/TME and its related topics. Over time, the program will expand to not only be a funding mechanism, but also a community of scholars (with participation of the broader community) who will interact with one another to discuss science, review literature, and engage with the career development activities that will be organized by the EIO scholars program (see Program Components section).

Funding

The EIO Scholars grants will provide stipend support for two years. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will receive stipend support to be applied to their institutional salary (In 2022: graduate students = $43,397; postdoctoral fellows = $50,000). In addition, each scholar will receive an additional $10,000 per year to use for discretionary research costs (e.g., direct research costs, equipment, computer supplies, meeting registration, etc.).

The EIO Center will commit to supporting 2 PhD students and 3 postdoctoral scholars per year under this initiative.
 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a postdoc working in an MSK lab (SKI, HOPP, or MH) or a graduate student working in an MSK lab from GSK, WCGS, TPCB or CBM. Graduate students from the Tri-I MD-PhD program, if eligible, are welcome to apply.
  • Eligible postdoctoral fellow titles at the time of application: research scholar, research fellow, research associate (the scholarship can overlap the mandated 5-year transition to senior research scientist, but scholarship cannot begin during the senior research scientist rank).
  • Eligible graduate students will have passed the qualifying exam requirement of their program and be admitted to doctoral candidacy.
  • Trainee may not have completed more than 5 years of postdoctoral training at the time of application.
  • No citizenship or residency restrictions apply to this opportunity.

 

Application Instructions

The application requires the following elements to be uploaded to eGrants:

  • Abstract - Abstract of the research project, including project title (no more than 300 words).
  • Biosketch - Trainee’s biosketch in NIH Biographical Sketch format.
  • Project Overview – A research project overview of 2 pages of text + 1 page of figures (excluding the abstract and references) which should include the following:
    • o Description of the specific research objectives and details of any related work done to date.
    • o Description of the method or approach for the research project.
    • o An explanation of the high-risk and high-impact nature of the proposal and the significance of the research project to basic science relevant to the interaction of the immune system with tumors.
  • Letters of Support - A letter of support from the trainee’s mentor and one additional faculty member (internal or external) that should highlight of the trainee’s accomplishments and describe the significance the proposed research project to the lab and the field. The mentor also must specifically acknowledge and endorse participation in the component activities of the Scholars program listed below.

Submission Process

A complete application must be submitted as a single PDF via eGrants, MSK’s internal competition portal, by EOD, December 13, 2021.

Review Process

The EIO Scholars Review Committee will review all applications and make recommendations for funding. Proposals will be ranked by:

  1. Strength of the integration of the proposed project into the overall goals of the mentor’s lab
  2. Relevance to the projected goals of the EIO Program
  3. Overall quality of the proposal and track record of the applicant
  4. Feasibility for accomplishment of proposal’s aims
  5. Adherence to the proposal guidelines

The committee will then invite finalists to participate in a presentation session. You will have the opportunity to present your proposal during a 10-minute presentation followed by a 5-minute Q&A to the EIO Executive Committee Members. Although not mandatory, you are allowed to share 1-3 slides with the committee.

All applicants will be notified about the status of their application by email. Funding to awarded proposals will commence on March 1, 2022.

 

Administrative and Reporting Requirements

Each awardee will be responsible for an annual written assessment of the progress in their project one year after initial award. Requests for carry-over of funds from the first year of funding can be made; however, a formal justification is required.

 

Program Components

In addition to research funding, the program will include the following components:

Mentorship Role for MSK Bridge Program Students

EIO scholars will take an active role in mentoring trainees from the MSK Bridge program, an initiative to provide mentored research experiences to recently graduated undergraduates from backgrounds historically underrepresented in science. Depending on need, EIO scholars will be available for mentorship of these students, a role that may include placement in the fellow’s lab (with the consent of the lab PI), formal mentoring sessions outside of the lab, and inclusion in the fellow activities listed below.

Intellectual Community and Career Development

EIO scholars will actively participate in activities to enhance their intellectual and professional development. Although laboratory experimental training is a key component of professional success, other aspects of training key to success are often neglected or left to chance. These include focused training in presentation skills, professional networking, grant writing, and time management. The Center will organize activities in these areas in collaboration with the office of scientific education and training, for the benefit of the EIO scholars, and make these sessions available to the community.

  • Scholars will present yearly, and attend the biweekly EIO WIP on Fridays
  • The EIO Center will sponsor campus visits from leaders in academia, biotech, and pharma to interact with scholars and provide insights into career paths and development.
  • EIO scholars will organize and participate in a biweekly journal club of relevant literature around the tumor microenvironment, tumor immunity, microbe-tumor interactions, and related topics. These sessions will be organized and led by the scholars, in collaboration with a mentored BRIDGE scholar, but be open to the MSK research community. This activity will provide both intellectual engagement and teaching/organizational experience.
  • Grant writing training which will be accompanied by a requirement to submit an application for external support during the scholarship period.
  • The Center will sponsor sessions on effective scientific communication, presentation skills, and time management for the scholars and, as space allows, other members of the MSK community
     

Questions?

Please contact Jessica Gotterer at Gotterej@mskcc.org with any questions about this funding opportunity.