CCS/CIHR/BC Spark Grants: Novel Technology Applications in Cancer Prevention and Early Detection


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Cancer Research (CIHR-ICR), and Brain Canada Foundation (BC) 

For More Information

For additional information, please visit the CCS/CIHR/BC Spark Grants website:

  • Program guidelines
  • Application forms
  • Evaluation criteria


The intent of the Novel Technology Application in Cancer Prevention and Early Detection program is to “spark” and accelerate new activity in the development and/or application of truly novel approaches to cancer prevention and early detection. For example, the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital solutions are rapidly evolving, but adoption by the health sector currently lags behind that in other sectors. The desire to improve the efficacy and efficiency of cancer prevention and control continues to drive multiple innovations into practice, including AI.

Spark Grants will support preliminary research to establish proof of principle in novel cancer prevention and early detection approaches. The goal is to fund high risk, high reward studies, that provide sufficient rationale and/or preliminary data to convince reviewers of the novelty and feasibility of the proposed work.  Spark grants are intended to support the development of new partnerships and the exploration of highly novel concepts, involving researchers from any research area, and particularly from non-traditional cancer fields, such as engineering, AI, robotics, physics, nanoscience, statistics, informatics, computer and data sciences, behavioural science, and any other discipline poised to seed the next generation of disruptive technologies in cancer control. These grants are not intended to support research that is the “next logical step” in a program of work, but rather provide the evidence for future larger grants that will serve as “game-changers” in the way we approach cancer prevention and early detection, disrupting existing methods and displacing the status quo.

The objective of this funding opportunity is to harness the power of new technologies and interventions to prevent the onset of cancer and/or reduce its severity through early detection when the disease is at its most treatable, including the early detection of recurrence and metastatic spread.


An applicant must hold a firm academic position (as a primary appointment) which allows the individual to engage in independent research activities for the duration of the project and includes the ability to supervise trainees and publish research results.

A researcher designated as the Principal Investigator must be based in, or formally affiliated with, an eligible Canadian Host Institution such as a university, research institute or health care agency.

Funding Availability

$2.4M available to fund Sparks grants

Please note, that for this funding opportunity there will be two funding pools:
  • Breast cancer
  • Other Cancers

Maximum Project Value

$150,000 per grant

Indirect Costs


Project Duration

one year

Special Notes

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

External Deadline

Abstract: PI to apply directly to sponsor using Canadian Cancer Society's Electronic Grants Administration & Management System (EGrAMS).

For more information: Abstract registration guide

Internal Deadline

Application: PI to submit a copy of application and signed OR5 form to:

External Deadline

Application: PI to submit application directly to sponsor using EGrAMS on line system

More information for the online application will be available at a later date on the sponsor site.

Information For Co-applicants

If you need to meet a deadline set by the lead institution for this opportunity, please ensure that you provide the Office of Research with at least five days in advance of the lead institution’s deadline to review the application, or your proposed component of the project. Please be in touch with the Office of Research (contact information below) ahead of the deadline if it looks like it will be difficult for you to submit all the required documentation on time (i.e. budget, proposal, OR-5 Form).

For Questions, please contact

For questions from applicants:

Office of Research

Ornella McCarron, Grants Officer
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52832

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