Research We Fund: Extramural Discovery Science

We are the research funding arm of the American Cancer Society (ACS). Our grants fund
high impact and innovative cancer research conducted by hundreds of promising scientists and health care professionals—primarily early in their careers—at institutions across the United States. 

Our Mission

All American Cancer Society (ACS) research programs include discovery research. The distinct mandate of the Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) team is to review and fund research performed at eligible US research institutions external (extramural) to ACS that can help cancer patients and their families.

The primary focus of the EDS department is to identify and invest in the most creative early-career investigators across the country.

We support the investigators who are doing the most innovative cancer discovery research by using a rigorous, independent, anonymous, and highly competitive peer review process.


AHEAD  Awards

(Advancing Health Equity and Addressing Disparities)

Learn more

We are committed to maintaining a cancer research portfolio that includes any type of cancer, spans the cancer research continuum, and is aligned with our research priorities.

Our priority focus on health equity places special emphasis on addressing the social determinants of health that drive cancer health disparities and funding innovative solution-based health equity research.

We strongly encourage all ACS grantees to share their data freely and rapidly with systems that are open to the public to maximize value to cancer patients.  

Our Grants Portfolio

In addition to our traditional extramural research grants program for independent investigators and mentored awards, our portfolio includes grants for institutions, professors, and requests for applications (RFAs) for featured funding opportunities. See our complete list of grants, and make sure to notice what's new and which grants have recently changed.

One opportunity that isn’t on that list are the TheoryLab Collaborative (TLC) grants, which are selectively open to teams of 2 investigators who are active on ACS TheoryLab. TheoryLab is the online research community for scientists and clinical professionals who have a current or previous relationship with ACS as a grant recipient, mentor, peer reviewer, staff researcher, or adviser. 

The funds that we use to support research grants are possible because of generous donations to the ACS. See our current research investments.

See How ACS Grantees Are Helping End Cancer 

Go to Research Highlights.

Our Work

The Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) team facilitates the evaluation of grant applications by external and independent reviewers and manages the grant portfolios, providing appropriate oversight and stewardship of donors’ investments in cancer research. 

I was on the verge of shutting down my laboratory. In a career-changing move for me, the American Cancer Society funded my first grant.

Dr. Gary Hammer, M.D., Ph.D, - American Cancer Society Grantee