Young Investigator Award Criteria and Application Process


The SSO Young Investigator Awards in Surgical Oncology promote and recognize translational or clinical research that advances innovative ideas and concepts designed to improve health outcomes through advances in the delivery of cancer-related care.

Translational science is defined as research that accelerates the transition of scientific discoveries into clinical applications by efficiently by generating new knowledge that has clinical application.

Proposals in the area of clinical research include:

  • Quality of cancer care research
  • Cost effectiveness and decision analysis
  • Meta-analysis
  • Survey analysis
  • Comparative effectiveness research
  • Qualitative research
  • Health disparities research
  • Operations research
  • Health economics
  • Quality of life and patient-reported outcomes
  • Patient safety


The SSO will provide one award up to $25,000 for one year. The Young Investigator Award is non-renewable. 

The proposal must be submitted both electronically and in hard copy format. Please email the proposal as a single PDF file to by midnight, January 7, 2020. The hard copy of the application should be sent to The SSO Foundation, c/o Society of Surgical Oncology, 9525 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 870, Rosemont, IL 60018 postmarked by January 10, 2020.

Eligibility Stipulations 

‣ Applicant must hold DO, MD, or MD/PhD degrees.

‣ Applicant must be a surgical oncologist within 5 years of completion of training.

‣ Applicant must be a full SSO member for at least 6 months prior to application submission.

‣ Proposed research cannot have received other competitive peer-reviewed funding for the project.

Terms of the Award 

‣ The award will be granted in full April 1, 2020.

‣ The award is given to the sponsoring institution and may be used for research fellows or staff support, tuition, travel (no more than $2,000 per year), infrastructure or equipment, and/or supplies. No additional funds are available for paying indirect costs.

‣ A publication quality manuscript of the research must be submitted to the Annals of Surgical Oncology no later than March 31, 2021. Submission of the manuscript to the Annals of Surgical Oncology does not guarantee publication. A copy of the manuscript must also be submitted to the Society of Surgical Oncology.

‣ A brief final report with financial reconciliation will be required April 30, 2021.

‣ A brief (up to 10 minutes) presentation of results will be required at the SSO Annual Cancer Symposium, scheduled for March 2021, in Chicago, IL.

Application Process

The SSO requests a proposal in which the applicant plays a central role in the conduct of a specific clinical research project. The clinical research focus must be hypothesis-driven and must have a direct patient-oriented focus. The track record of the applicant, scientific merit of the application, novelty and clinical impact of the anticipated results, and resources available to ensure completion of the study will comprise the review criteria.

Instructions for Award Submissions 

Applications should be limited to 5 pages and must include the following items in order:

A. Title page: The title page must include the following information: the title of the proposal, name of applicant, applicant’s position, institution and contact information, and the name and contact information for the individual authorized to act for the applicant if the award is made.

B. Curriculum Vitae: A three-page bio sketch in NIH format. Each grant or award must include each of the following: 1) Title of the project/grant and name of funding source; 2) name of the PI and role of the applicant if not the PI; 3) percent effort; 4) dates of entire project period; 5) award amount (direct dollars) for the current award period; 6) scientific overlap with proposed project; 7) manner in which any adjustments will be made for scientific overlap.

Failure to include all information may be grounds to dismiss the application from scoring and consideration.

C. Letters of Support: A letter from the applicant’s institution is required and should include a review of the proposal and summary of the applicant’s qualifications. It should also describe the facilities and support available to complete the project. The letter should also specifically stipulate the percentage of time effort the applicant will devote to the research project. The letter should be from the institution’s cancer center director, chair of their department or dean of research. Other supporting letters (no more than 3) may be included.

D. Research Proposal: This should include the following items:

  1. Abstract: The abstract should describe the research project, the hypothesis being tested; specific aims of the research, and the novelty and clinical impact of the anticipated results. (Limited to 1 page, single spaced, 12 pt. font, one inch margin)
  2. Research plan: This section should focus on any critical preliminary data, overall and specific approaches/methodology, any alternative approaches, statistical plan if applicable, expected results, and the exact role of the applicant. (Limited to 3 pages, single spaced, 12 pt. font, one inch margin)
  3. Resources: This should include a brief description of the research project infrastructure at the applicant’s institution as well as any required resources in population science, epidemiology, bio specimen repositories, biostatistics, etc. (Limited to 1 page, single spaced, 12 pt. font, one inch margin)
  4. Literature cited. (no page limit)

E. Budget: In no more than one (1) page, describe proposed budget utilization and justification. Please identify the percentage of time that would be devoted to the research effort. (The reviewers will take this information into account when reviewing applications and providing recommendations for funding.) F. Appendix: Clinical protocol, informed consent form, IRB approval notice. Summary statements are acceptable.

The proposal must be submitted both electronically and in hardcopy format. Please email the proposal as a single PDF file to by midnight, January 7, 2020. The hard copy of the application should be sent to Society of Surgical Oncology, 9525 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 870, Rosemont, IL 60018 postmarked by January 29, 2020.

Applications received after this date, or those that do not adhere strictly to the instructions, may not be considered. Award recipients will be announced at the 2020 SSO Annual Cancer Symposium, and applicants will be informed of the outcome via email shortly after the conclusion of the meeting. Please be aware that applicants will not receive reviewer comments or an application score.

PLEASE NOTE: Funding of grants will be determined by scientific peer review process and consistent with any restrictions required by the grantor. 

Questions regarding the Young Investigator Awards? Contact Jeanette Ruby; Email: , or phone 847-427-1400, ext. 111. 
Society of Surgical Oncology 

 9525 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 870 Rosemont, IL 60018 
Phone : 847-427-1400, ext. 111

Scroll to Top