Our Mission

The primary focus of the Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) team, led by William Phelps, PhD, is to identify and invest in the most creative young investigators across the country who are doing the most innovative cancer discovery research by using a rigorous, independent, anonymous, and highly competitive peer review process.

Discovery research takes place throughout the American Cancer Society’s research programs. The mandate of the EDS department is to review and fund research performed at eligible US research institutions external (extramural) to the ACS that can help cancer patients and their families.

We are committed to maintaining a broad cancer research portfolio—any type of cancer and within any part of the cancer research continuum. In addition, we place a special emphasis on solution-based health equity research.

The funds that we use to support research grants are possible because of generous donations to the ACS.

Key Terms

  • Discovery research: Experiments with genes, cells, animals, or people to find a new or improved understanding of an action, health behavior, process, technique, technology, or model to improve care.

  • Research continuum: The full scope of research—often referred to as bench to bedside. The research can be performed in a research lab, in clinical trials, with health care providers, in health care systems, and within communities. 

Our Work

The Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) team facilitates the evaluation of grant applications by external and independent reviewers and manages the grant portfolios, providing appropriate oversight and stewardship of donors’ investments in cancer research.