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Canadian Cancer Society: Breakthrough Team Grants

Opportunity NameBreakthrough Team Grants: Transforming the future of metastatic cancer
AgencyCanadian Cancer Society
ValueUp to $1,500,000/year
Indirect CostsIneligible
DurationUp to 5 years

Letter of Intent (LOI)

Notify SIRI and FSc of LOIASAP
LOI due to FSc RO at for full review06-13-2024
LOI and fully signed ORS checklist due to FSc RO at for mandatory review06-20-2024
LOI and fully signed ORS checklist due to SIRI for mandatory review06-25-2024, by 9:00AM
Application due at agency 06-27-2024

Full application

Application due to FSc RO at for full review09-30-2024
Application and fully signed ORS checklist due to FSc RO at for mandatory review10-07-2024
Final application and fully signed ORS checklist due to SIRI for mandatory review10-10-2024
Application due at agency 10-15-2024

The intent of the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) Breakthrough Team Grants: Transforming the future of metastatic cancer is to bring together passionate and talented teams of scientists, clinicians, patient partners, and knowledge users from across disciplines to work synergistically and ‘think big’ to address important gaps in cancer research that will be transformational for people affected by the disease.

The primary scientific objectives are twofold (and intended to be represented by at least 2 funded Breakthrough Teams):

Theme 1 - To develop a better understanding of the biology of and mechanisms associated with cancer cell dormancy, including research that:

  • Investigates different models of dormancy such as angiogenic, immune-mediated, and cellular dormancy.
  • Delineates the mechanisms behind why certain types/subtypes of cancer are more prone to dormancy (and hence, metastases).
  • Explores the individual factors (genetic, molecular, etc.) that lead some to develop metastatic disease while others do not.
  • Develops (and utilizes) new, physiologically relevant model systems that accurately represent dormancy in human cancers.
  • Could result in interventions that can prevent the onset of metastatic disease.

Cancer cell dormancy remains an understudied and inadequately understood phenomenon. This funding opportunity attempts to change this. The research proposed should have a strong potential to lead to clinical application, but the primary focus should be on developing a more thorough understanding of dormancy that will inform all future research in this area. 

Theme 2 - To better support people living with advanced or metastatic disease throughout the course of their disease, including research that:

  • Examines interdisciplinary prevention/management of symptoms and chronic conditions (including non-pharmacological management).
  • Seeks to provide improved psychosocial support.
  • Seeks to develop integrated and appropriate palliative care.
  • Improves support for caregivers.
  • Considers longitudinal studies to provide a clearer picture of the unique needs of people living with long-term metastatic disease (particularly as they relate to patient-reported outcomes (PROs), or that could identify factors associated with longer-term survival of people diagnosed with metastatic disease.
  • Seeks to better coordinate and deliver complex care.
  • Considers equitable access to anticipated project outcomes from the outset.

The overarching goal of this Breakthrough Team Grants program is to catalyze collaborative and innovative research initiatives aimed at fundamentally transforming our understanding of cancer metastasis and enhancing support for those living with advanced or metastatic disease, ultimately leading to improved quality of life and extended survival for those affected by cancer.


For this competition there is a limit of one application per Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator. Please review CCS’s eligibility and requirements. Teams will be expected to:

  • Be drawn from at least 3 Canadian provinces, (with international collaborations outside of Canada encouraged where expertise is essential).
  • Be multi-disciplinary in composition (research pillar, scientific/clinical focus, discipline), to stimulate diverse approaches to addressing the research question, including how a potential solution could be administered equitably across Canada.
  • Include, as an integral part of the team, clinical and other health professionals, patient partners/people with lived experience (termed patients/survivors/caregivers, or PSCs), and knowledge users (such as policy specialists), whose experience and expertise will lend valuable insights to the development and implementation of the project.
  • Include at least one early career investigator as a Co-Principal Investigator, and at least 3 trainees at the Master’s, PhD, or Postdoctoral levels– who will be provided with specific training and mentorship (by the team and CCS) throughout the duration of the grant.

How to Apply

An Informational & Networking workshop will be held on May 9, 2024 from 12:00 to 3:00pm ET.

The SIRI Unit in the Office of Research Services, in collaboration with the corresponding Faculty Research Office, will be supporting the development of applications selected to go forward. Sherri Kogan (, Strategic and Institutional Research Initiatives Specialist, will be available to assist your office and your faculty members with any questions regarding the internal and external application processes.

York University researchers are reminded that all applications for external research funding, including Letters of Intent, must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Research Services before they are submitted to the granting agency.  For internal approval, the application must be accompanied by a completed ORS Checklist, which requires the Dean’s signature.  Please send the complete application, with the finalized budget and a completed ORS checklist to, five days prior to agency deadline.

ORS is accepting electronic applications – the process is outlined here.

For specific questions, please contact FSc Research Services at