Our Research Program is an essential driving force for achieving the mission of ending breast cancer forever. As the global leader in the fight against breast cancer, we strive to identify and support the best science around the world. However, the scientific focus areas of our grant mechanisms can vary from year to year and are determined in part through discussion with our Scientific Advisory Board.
Our research focus has evolved over the years. In the beginning we focused on understanding the basic biology of breast cancer. As we learn more about the factors that make cancer cells grow and spread, we have been able to invest more in the translation of this knowledge into treatment, early detection and prevention, with the goal of supporting work that has significant potential to lead to reductions in incidence and mortality within the decade.
As the global leader in the fight against breast cancer, we strive to identify the best science around the world. We are proud that we have funded research in the United States and across the globe. Learn where Komen-funded researchers are located by visiting our interactive Research World Map.
We utilize a multi-step approach to application and review that requires submission of a pre-application and, upon invitation only, a full application.
Pre-applications are first administratively reviewed for eligibility, submission of required application materials, adherence to formatting requirements, and responsiveness to the specific RFA under which it was submitted. Applications that do not meet eligibility, submission, formatting, or responsiveness requirements will be administratively withdrawn and WILL NOT undergo scientific review.
Each qualified pre-application is then reviewed by one member of our Advocates in Science program Steering Committee and three scientists with breast cancer or other expertise as appropriate, including members of the Komen Scholars.
Only Applicants with pre-applications deemed most meritorious and aligned with Komen's research mission will be invited to submit full applications. It is anticipated that full applications will be invited from approximately 20-25 percent of pre-application submitters.
Full applications will be administratively reviewed for eligibility, submission of required application materials, adherence to formatting requirements, and responsiveness to the RFA and the Full Application Submission Instructions. Full applications that do not meet eligibility, submission, formatting, or responsiveness requirements will be administratively withdrawn and WILL NOT undergo scientific review.
Each qualified full application is again reviewed by one member of our Advocates in Science program and three scientists with breast cancer or other expertise as appropriate, including members of the Komen Scholars. Depending on the type of application, a biostatistician is assigned as an additional reviewer. During the full application review stage, assigned reviewers provide detailed written critiques and assign scores according to several review criteria.
Only the top scoring full applications are selected for further discussion, either at an in-person or conference call meeting with the entire review committee composed of the Chairperson and reviewers. Following the peer review meetings, all full applications are ranked by their overall score and the list is submitted to the Scientific Advisory Board to determine the final funding score. Finally, Komen’s Board of Directors approves the final list of grants funded for that year.
Over the past 30 years, Komen has provided a full spectrum of grants that are available or have been available to researchers at every stage of their career. Below are brief descriptions of grant funding mechanisms that have recently been offered by our Research Program.
Please refer to the Funding Opportunities webpage to find out which grant funding mechanisms are currently being offered. The RFAs available for each grant funding mechanism provide specific details and requirements for submission of an application.
GTDR Grants (formerly Post-Baccalaureate Training in Disparities Research Grants, PBTDR) are intended to establish and/or to sustain a training program for students who are seeking careers dedicated to understanding and eliminating disparities in breast cancer outcomes across population groups. GTDR Grants are awarded to a single Mentor/Principal Investigator or a Mentor/PI and Co-Mentor/Co-Principal Investigator to support a minimum of three graduate students/trainees (those in a masters and/or doctoral program) per year. The PI and Co-PIs must serve as the primary mentors for the trainees, but additional mentors may be specified in the application.
Direct costs of $135,000 per year are provided for up to three years.
PDF Grants seek to attract and support promising scientists embarking on careers dedicated to breast cancer research who have no more than three years post-completion of their most recent clinical fellowship, five years post-completion of their most recent residency (for physicians), or five years post-completion of their most recent Ph.D. By providing funding to outstanding postdoctoral/postgraduate fellows under the guidance of a mentor, Komen seeks to ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists will emerge as the next generation of leaders in the field of breast cancer research. This award mechanism supports hypothesis-driven research projects in either basic/translational or clinical research.
Direct costs of $60,000 per year are provided for two or three years.
CCR Grants are intended to foster promising breast cancer researchers who are in the early stages of their faculty careers by providing support up to three years of “protected” time for research career development under the guidance of a mentor committee. It is expected that awardees will launch independent research careers and successfully compete for subsequent research project funding in breast cancer following the successful completion of a CCR Grant. This award mechanism supports hypothesis-driven research projects in either basic/translational or clinical research.
Direct and indirect costs for up to $150,000 per year are provided for two or three years.
IIR Grants provides funding for established independent investigators who seek to explore important issues and novel approaches that will lead to reductions in breast cancer incidence and/or mortality within the next decade. The research focus area for the IIR grant mechanism is determined by the Scientific Advisory Board and changes year to year.
Direct and indirect costs for up to $1,000,000 are provided for three or four years.
The Promise Grant mechanism has provided substantial funding for multidisciplinary teams of clinical and laboratory investigators to conduct a set of related studies that address an overarching issue of critical importance in breast cancer. The research focus area for the Promise Grant mechanism is determined by the Scientific Advisory Board and changes year to year.
Direct and indirect costs up to $7,500,000 are provided for three to five years.
View current funding opportunities for Scientific Research Grants.
Learn how to apply for Scientific Research Grants. Current grantees can also learn about integrating Advocates into your research, accessing breast tissue and many more resources.
View currently funded Scientific Research Grants.
Learn how breast cancer survivors and advocates are involved in our scientific research.
Meet our Scientific Advisory Board
"I'll do whatever it takes to keep fighting." - Kathleen