We fund All Types of Research

The American Cancer Society (ACS) funds a wide range of investigator-initiated cancer research. We believe that the best science will provide the greatest benefit. That’s why the goal of our Extramural Discovery Sciences program is to fund the most creative, innovative, and promising projects from the grant applications we receive, for any type of cancer and within any part of the research continuum.

Grant applicants may propose projects focused on any of these areas:

  • Basic discovery science, where the goal is to uncover fundamental mechanisms of biology, cancer, or behavior
  • Development of novel therapeutics
  • Translational cancer research, where the goal is to further demonstrate how a discovery can be moved into the clinic

Proposals can include the use of diverse preclinical cancer models (i.e., in silico/computational, cells, organoids and/or animals). Research can also focus on clinical research with people to better understand a disease and to test and refine new treatments and technologies. This includes clinical trials, epidemiologic and behavioral studies, and health services research. Our portfolio reflects this diverse scope. Each of our Scientific Research Programs accepts applications from most grant mechanisms (exceptions are made for some special initiatives).


In addition to our traditional extramural research grants program, our portfolio includes newly launched grant mechanisms: 

  • The ACS Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) Internship is a 10-week summer cancer research experience with longitudinal networking and career development activities. The aim is to increase diversity and inclusion in the cancer workforce for underrepresented minorities who are rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors with an interest in any STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) discipline.
  • Discovery Boost Grants (DBG) support high-risk, high-reward exploratory cancer research across the research continuum. Investigators may focus on developing research methodologies, establishing feasibility, or leading pilot tests.
  • TheoryLab grants support new and transdisciplinary collaborations among TheoryLab users (a private social media platform for current and former ACS grantees) to explore high-risk ideas, including Covid-19 research, relevant to cancer or people living with cancer.

And, we have new requests for research applications!

Learn about the recent restructuring of our scientific programs and peer review committees: 
FAQs: ACS Extramural Program Changes and Grant Application Submissions.


All applications must fit into at least 1 of 6 research priority areas.

Learn more