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Four Diamonds offers funding for pediatric cancer research

Four Diamonds offers funding in support of pediatric cancer research at Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State Cancer Institute.

The main goal of the research mission of Four Diamonds is to support innovative research leading to enhanced cure rates and therapies in childhood cancer to improve the quality of life for these children in need of medical care.

Three types of funding are available each year:

The logo of Four Diamonds includes the organization's name and the tagline Conquering Childhood Cancer.

  • Faculty research grants
  • Trainee research grants
  • Funding for pilot projects in collaborative pediatric cancer research

Submission information will be posted when applications are being accepted.

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RFA Details: Four Diamonds Faculty and Trainee Research Grants

Overview: Faculty Research Grants Expand answer

Faculty applications may be submitted under this mechanism for clinical research, laboratory-based research or quality projects with budgets less than or equal to $40,000 (indirect costs are not allowed). Applications may be in any area of pediatric cancer research. The principal investigator cannot be a Four Diamonds Endowed Investigator or be currently supported by a Four Diamonds endowed laboratory.

Applicants who have previously been funded by Four Diamonds are expected to include their publication record resulting from the initial funding period, advancing either fundamental understanding of pediatric oncology or a novel diagnostic or therapeutic approach to pediatric cancer. Successful application for external funding resulting from prior Four Diamonds awards is advantageous.

Funded investigators are required to present their findings approximately 12 months after initial funding to a pediatric oncology academic conference. A final progress report will also be required.

Overview: Trainee Research Grants Expand answer

Trainee applications may be submitted for clinical research, laboratory-based research or quality projects with budgets less than or equal to $20,000 (indirect costs are not allowed). Applications may be in any area of pediatric cancer research.

The principal investigator cannot be currently supported by a Four Diamonds endowed laboratory.

Funded investigators are required to present their findings approximately 12 months after initial funding to a pediatric oncology academic conference. A final progress report will also be required.

Review Process Expand answer

Applications will undergo scientific merit review facilitated by Research Development at Penn State College of Medicine.

Recommendations for funding will be made by the Four Diamonds allocations committee and approved by the chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, the chair of the Department of Pediatrics and the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies of Penn State College of Medicine.

Requirements for Awardees Expand answer

It is expected that all the necessary compliance protocols (IACUC, IRB, etc.) will be submitted by Oct. 31, 2021. Failure to do so will result in termination of the award unless dispensation is applied for and awarded.

Awardees may be required to present at a Four Diamonds advisory board meeting and to a pediatric oncology academic conference, and may be asked to present at a Four Diamonds advisory board meeting at the end of the funding year.

Note for Previous Awardees Expand answer

Those who were awarded previous Four Diamonds research funds are reminded that a condition of their award is to send an update on the use of those funds to FourDiamondsApplications@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

These updates have an impact on the consideration of future funding requests.

RFA Details: Funding for Pilot Projects in Collaborative Pediatric Cancer Research

Overview Expand answer

The mission of Four Diamonds is to provide superior care and comprehensive support for pediatric cancer patients and to support innovative research in pediatric oncology. For many years, the Four Diamonds research mission has been advanced through the laboratories of Four Diamonds pediatric cancer investigators who have primary appointments in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Penn State Children’s Hospital/Penn State College of Medicine.

This announcement invites applications from Penn State investigators who are not currently funded by Four Diamonds. Applications are required to have a scientific collaboration with a cancer researcher in the Department of Pediatrics to pursue pilot projects in important and promising areas of pediatric cancer research.

The pilot projects supported under this initiative will facilitate the development of substantial collaborative interactions between Penn State pediatric cancer researchers to further the mission of Four Diamonds.

Eligibility Expand answer
  • Pilot Projects for Collaborative Pediatric Cancer Research may focus in any area of cancer research with relevance and applicability to pediatric oncology.
  • The principal investigator must have their primary academic appointment at Penn State at the rank of assistant professor, associate professor or professor. Junior investigators with promising preliminary data are encouraged to apply.
  • The principal investigator cannot be a Four Diamonds Endowed Investigator or receive other support from Four Diamonds.
  • The application must include as a collaborator one of these investigators:
    • George Blackall, PsyD
    • Valerie Brown, MD, PhD
    • Smita Dandekar, MD
    • Sinisa Dovat, MD, PhD
    • Elizabeth Finch, MD
    • Andrew Freiberg, MD
    • Chandrika Gowda, MD
    • Robert Greiner, MD
    • Suming Huang, PhD
    • Wei Li, PhD
    • Lisa McGregor, MD, PhD
    • Daniel McKeone, MD
    • Barbara Miller, MD
    • John Neely, MD
    • Pooja Rao, MD
    • Nidhi Shah, MD
    • Gayle Smink, MD
    • Vladimir Spiegelman, MD, PhD
    • H.G. Wang, PhD
  • An investigator may only be listed as the principal investigator on one submitted application; however, there is no limit to the number of applications that an investigator listed above may contribute to as a collaborator.
  • A track record of research relevant to pediatric oncology is preferred.
  • Applicants who have previously been funded by Four Diamonds are expected to have a publication record resulting from the initial funding period, advancing either fundamental understanding of pediatric oncology or a novel diagnostic or therapeutic approach to pediatric cancer. Successful application for external funding is desirable.
  • Applicants may only hold one Four Diamonds Grant at a time. Applicants who were previously funded can submit a new application, but this must be on a new area of research.
Program Guidelines Expand answer
  • Applicants should propose basic research or clinical/translational research on important and promising pediatric cancer-related problems that will lead to the development of preliminary data for a grant application to NIH or another national sponsor of cancer research. The intent is for these funds to support the collaborative project.
  • Pilot projects will initially be funded for a 12-month period beginning July 1, 2021, with funding of up to $100,000 direct costs (indirect costs are not allowed). A second year of funding for an additional $100,000 may be applied for if productivity in the first year is sufficient (see below for details).
  • Grant funds may not support the salary and fringe benefits for either the principal investigator or the primary collaborator(s). Alternatively, grant funds may be requested to support salaries and benefits for research staff, student stipends, supplies, equipment, expenses related to the use of human subjects, and publication expenses. Four Diamonds will not pay for travel to meetings.
  • Grants to obtain preliminary data to be used in applications to external research sponsors, particularly to NIH are encouraged.
  • PIs of funded Four Diamonds grants must agree to:
    • submit a final progress report at the completion of the Four Diamonds award;
    • provide the Four Diamonds Office with a copy of any publications resulting from the Four Diamonds project;
    • notify the Four Diamonds office regarding any external funding that is subsequently received using preliminary data obtained with support;
    • submit an abstract to the next Pediatric Research Day, and if selected, to present; and
    • present findings from their research at Pediatric Oncology Academic Conference.
  • No awards will be made if relevance or commitment to pediatric oncology research is not clearly evident.
  • It is expected that all the necessary compliance protocols (IACUC, IRB, etc.) will be submitted by Oct. 31, 2021. Failure to do so will result in termination of the award unless dispensation is applied for and awarded.
  • Funded investigators are required to present their findings 12 months after initial funding to a pediatric oncology conference to assist in determining sufficient progress for award of the second year. A second year of funding may be requested by completing a new application as per instructions, including stating the progress in the first year. At the end of the second year, a presentation at a pediatric oncology research conference and a final progress report are required.
Review Process Expand answer

Full applications will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee facilitated by Research Development at Penn State College of Medicine.

Final funding decisions will be made by the chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and the chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

The criteria will be scientific and technical merit, the likelihood of making an important contribution to the treatment of pediatric oncology patients and the potential for external funding.

Learn More

For details on these opportunities, email FourDiamondsApplications@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

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