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Pilot Project Research Funding

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The CCSB Center is now accepting applications for pilot project proposals - Year 2024-2025 [Proposals due by July 19, 2024 - 5 PM PDT]


Internal funding opportunity for faculty with UTL, MCL, NLTR and CE faculty appointments and for researchers in other positions (see eligibility) **

Amount of Funding

Pilot Project: $50,000 (direct cost) for 1 year. One pilot project will be selected for a 12-month funding period starting September 1, 2024, and ending August 31, 2025. “No cost extension” is NOT allowed.


Stanford University Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) has been selected as a Research Center in NCI Cancer Systems Biology Consortium (CSBC).  This is an NIH-NCI funded U54 five-year grant (Main PIs: Sylvia Plevritis, PhD and Edward Engelman, MD) that will fund a pilot project each year.
The purpose of the pilot project is to expand the network of investigators and to explore new ideas that complement the current CCSB projects. The seed funding can support one proposal at $50,000 in direct costs.  The pilot project should engage Stanford community (see eligibility) who are not currently part of the U54 grant but have novel ideas that apply principles of systems biology to tumor immunology.  These projects are intended for the exploration of new ideas and emerging opportunities that are distinctly different from, but complementary to the current CCSB projects.  Successful Pilot Projects will be guided and mentored by senior faculty and selected based on the likelihood of future funding.


  • Stanford faculty with PI eligibility [those with University (UTL), Medical Center (MCL), Research (NTLR) appointments] and Clinician Educator (CE) faculty. (Note: CE faculty PI waivers are not needed for internal Stanford funding opportunities.)
  • Instructors  with a faculty mentor.
  • Postdoctoral fellows with a faculty mentor.
  • Applications will be accepted from all schools (Medicine, Engineering, and Humanities & Sciences) and all Departments (Electrical Engineering, Bioengineering, Applied Physics, Chemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Materials Science) to support a multi-disciplinary approach to cancer systems biology research.

Grant description 

The Stanford CCSB aims to identify the mechanisms in which tumor cells instruct the immune system to tolerate them by focusing on the understudied role of lymph node invasion in tumor-mediated immunosuppression. The overall project title of the grant is: “Systems biology of tumor immune stromal interactions in metastatic progression.” Visit the Research page for a complete description of the main projects of the grant.
Our ultimate objective is to advance our understanding of the systemic consequences of lymph node metastases and identify new therapeutic approaches to cancer immunotherapy. Our findings promise to provide critical insights into blocking metastatic progression and thereby preventing cancer-related deaths.

Specific areas of interest for new research include, but are not limited to:

  • Novel methods for studying interactions between tumor, stromal and immune cells
  • Computational/mathematical methods for integrating genomic and spatial data
  • Approaches to dissecting how tumors “teach” the immune system to tolerate them
  • The influence of systemic immune system status on tumor metastatic potential
  • Role of lymph nodes in cancer progression and drug response
  • Imaging methods for tracking immune cells in vivo


The following criteria will be reviewed for final selection:

  • What is the research track record of the PI?
  • What is the scientific significance of the proposed project?
  • Will this project integrate well with existing projects within the CCSB Program?
  • Are the project aims feasible within the timeline and funding?
  • Once completed, how likely is the project to be externally funded?

Application Guidelines

By Friday, July 19, 5 p.m., please send one PDF file containing the following in the order listed below via email attachment to Corinne Beck, CCSB Program Manager at

Institutional representative: 

You do not have to submit your internal proposals to your RPM in RMG or your CGO in OSR for their approval. Please submit your applications directly to Corinne.

File Name:  

Last name_CCSB_Pilot_Project.pdf

Title Page:

  • Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) Pilot Project
  • Project Title
  • PI and Co-PI name, title, department, and email

Scientific Proposal:

  • Current research (1 page max)
  • Proposed research with specific aims (include project title) (2 pages max)
  • Systems biology characteristics of the project (1/2 page max)
  • How the proposed research complements the existing CCSB research (1/2 page max)
  • Format:  Single spaced, half-inch margins, Arial or Helvetica size 11 or larger font.
  • References and figures are not included in the page total

Proposed budget and budget justification:  

1 page max

Biosketches for the PI(s) and Faculty mentor **if the PI is an instructor


Year 1 Pilot Project has been awarded!