Damon Runyon Fellowship Award in the United States

  • Phd
  • $52,000-$60,000 p/a + benefits
  • 17 August 2020

The Foundation encourages all theoretical and experimental research relevant to the study of cancer and the search for cancer causes, mechanisms, therapies and prevention.

Awards are made to institutions for the support of the Fellow under direct supervision of the Sponsor. Candidates who have already accepted a postdoctoral research fellowship award are not eligible.

Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are granted for a four-year term with second-, third- and fourth- year funding contingent upon satisfactory progress reports. Fellows in their first and third years of funding will attend Damon Runyon Fellows' Retreats designed to foster collaboration and interaction between scientists working in different fields relevant to cancer.


Applicants must have completed one or more of the following degrees or its equivalent: MD, PhD, MD/PhD, DDS, DVM, DO. The applicant must include a copy of his/her diploma to confirm date of conferral. (If an applicant has not yet received his/her PhD diploma but has successfully completed all PhD requirements, including PhD defense, he/she may submit a letter from the graduate school explicitly stating such, with the date of the successful PhD defense and date of degree conferral.)

Level 1: Basic and physician-scientists must have received their degrees no more than 18 months prior to the application deadline date.* Applicants must not have been in their Sponsors' labs for more than one year prior to the application deadline date and are expected to devote 100% of their time to Damon Runyon-supported research activities.

*The applicant must include a copy of his/her diploma to confirm date of conferral. (See Deadlines chart.)

Level 2: Physician-scientist applicants (MD, MD/PhD, DDS, DVM, DO or the equivalent) must have completed their residencies and clinical training, must be board eligible in the United States at the start date of the Damon Runyon Fellowship, and be able to devote at least 80% of their time to Damon Runyon-supported research activities. Applicants may apply at any time prior to their initial assistant professorship appointment (or equivalent); postdoctoral fellows, clinical fellows and clinical instructors are eligible to apply. Candidates holding or awarded NIH K awards at the time of application are not eligible to apply. Candidates holding institutional K12 awards may apply, but must turn-back K12 funding if they are awarded a Damon Runyon Fellowship.

The proposed research must be conducted at a university, hospital or research institution.

Candidates working in a structured postdoctoral research program at a for-profit institution may apply. If awarded, the for-profit institution will pay the Fellow's salary directly. (If the institutional salary is less than that received by Damon Runyon Fellows, Damon Runyon will supplement that amount to equal the stipend of other Damon Runyon Fellows.) Awardees will have all the privileges and responsibilities extended to other Damon Runyon Fellows, and are required to adhere to the guidelines and policies of the Fellowship Award.

No more than two Damon Runyon Fellows will be funded to work with the same Sponsor at any given time (including Co-Sponsors).

Only one fellowship application will be accepted from a Sponsor or Fellow per review session (including Co-Sponsors); there is no limit, however, to the number of applications from an institution.

Postdoctoral training in the same institution in which the applicant received his/her degree is discouraged, particularly if it is in the same department. (If either situation applies, the applicant must address the reason(s) in his/her application.) Proposals to continue training in the laboratory where the applicant received his/her PhD will not be considered. Proposals that are direct extensions of graduate work will not be funded.

Candidates who have already accepted a postdoctoral research fellowship award are not eligible.

Candidates who are pursuing a degree are not eligible.

Candidates applying to work in foreign-based or United States government laboratories may be awarded a fellowship if the program represents an unusual opportunity for postdoctoral training.

Foreign candidates may apply to do their research only in the United States.

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Increasing yearly stipend starting at $52,000 ending at the 4th year with $60,000. In addition $2,000 yearly expenses.

EXPENSE ALLOWANCE The $2,000 expense allowance is awarded to the laboratory in which the Fellow is working and can be used by the Fellow for his/her educational and scientific expenses. With written request to the Foundation from the Fellow, the expense allowance may be used to defray the cost of health benefits. The Fellow determines how he/she would like to spend the money with approval from his/her sponsor. It is not an allowance for institutional overhead, postdoctoral scholar registration fees or postdoctoral fellowship taxes. Institutions may not automatically deduct any fees from this allowance without the Fellow’s approval.


The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation will retire up to $100,000 of any qualifying medical school debt still owed by the awardee. Payment will be made annually over the course of the award.
Note: Qualified candidates must first apply to the NIH Loan Repayment Program in order to be eligible for loan repayment from Damon Runyon (see Terms of the Award below).


The Foundation also provides a Dependent Child Allowance of $1,000 per child per year. (There is no allowance for a spouse.) Eligible Fellows must submit a dependent child allowance form and a copy of the birth or adoption certificate for each child.


Candidates must apply for the fellowship under the guidance of a Sponsor—a scientist (tenured, tenure-track or equivalent position) capable of providing mentorship to the Fellow. In addition to aiding in the planning, execution and supervision of the proposed research, the Sponsor’s role is to foster the development of the Fellow’s overall knowledge, technical and analytical skills, and capacity for scientific inquiry. The Sponsor is also expected to assist the Fellow in attaining his/her career goals.

The primary criteria used to evaluate applicants are:

  • the quality of the research proposal (importance of the problem, originality of approach, appropriateness of techniques and clarity of presentation)
  • the qualifications, experience and productivity of both the candidate and the Sponsor
  • the quality of the research training environment in which the proposed research is to be conducted and its potential for broadening and strengthening the candidate's ability to independently conduct innovative and substantive research. The proposed research and training environment should represent a new opportunity for the candidate to expand his/her scientific skill set. Direct extensions of the candidate's graduate work (in approach, technique or exact area of study) will not be funded.

The Fellowship Award Committee will review applications and select awardees for approval by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation’s Board of Directors.

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