Graduate Fellowship Program

Mentor and student in lab

The HCC Graduate Fellowship will provide two-year research fellowships to support the development of highly promising and accomplished graduates with the potential to become independent cancer research scientists. Due to the complexity of cancer, finding ways to prevent and cure this disease requires a multidisciplinary effort. Therefore, doctoral students in any discipline at MUSC with an interest in cancer research are encouraged to apply.

Although graduate students are responsible for a significant amount of the work performed in research labs around the MUSC campus, their contributions are often directed toward someone else’s research program rather than their own independent research projects. The HCC Graduate Fellowship will provide up to two years of stipend and tuition assistance, providing an opportunity for the most promising students to become more immersed in cancer research and to begin developing their own research projects.

Program Eligibility

  • Doctoral students in all disciplines are eligible to apply, including those pursuing dual doctoral degrees.
  • Students must achieve candidacy in their program prior to acceptance of an award. Fellowships offered to students who have not achieved candidacy may be deferred for up to six months.
  • The research proposal must be cancer related and must be prepared by the applicant. Projects with translational potential are encouraged, but not mandatory.
  • Commitment of $2,000 to cover student health insurance from either the mentor or his/her department.
  • Applicants may only apply twice. If a resubmission, a 1-page response to previous critiques is required.
  • US citizenship is not necessary, but the applicant must hold a valid U.S. Visa.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be assigned to internal reviewers who have substantial expertise in cancer research and grant review. These reviewers will score applications based on the standard NIH criteria:

  • Applicant strengths and research potential.
  • Mentor qualifications and training record.
  • Significance, innovation, impact, and approach of the project.

Invitations may be issued for select applicants to discuss their research projects in person. These interviews will be used to ascertain that the student developed the application and to assess the student’s independence and communication skills.

Program Expectations

  • Submission of an external fellowship application. (Students who receive external funding may defer the remainder of their HCC award until external funding is complete).
  • Publication of original, peer-reviewed research.
  • Significant progress documented in a progress report at the end of the first year to qualify for the second year of funding.
  • Progress reports are due annually and should include a description of project results, a list of publications generated, and all fellowship applications submitted and planned.
  • Fellow and Mentor are required to participate in the HCC Bike Ride each year of the fellowship, the fellow as a “student rider” and mentor as a “traditional rider.” If either is unable to ride, the option of “virtual rider” is available with the same fundraising expectations of a traditional rider.
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