CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR Program

Apply to become a
Lloyd J. Old STAR

The CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR Program—Scientists TAking Risks—provides long-term funding to mid-career scientists, giving them the freedom and flexibility to pursue high-risk, high-reward research at the forefront of discovery and innovation in cancer immunotherapy.

Rooted in CRI’s exceptional track record of identifying and supporting people who have had a major impact in immunotherapy, these grants are not tied to a specific research project, but rather support outstanding researchers based on the quality and promise of their overall work. The Lloyd J. Old STAR program provides up to $1.25 million over a five-year period to tenure-track assistant professors (minimum 3 years) and associate professors (maximum 3 years).


Named for CRI’s founding scientific and medical director, whose vision and expertise guided CRI’s programs for forty years, earning him the title “Father of Modern Tumor Immunology,” the CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR Program supports today’s scientific visionaries.

Candidates selected for this award are expected to be the future leaders in the field of cancer immunotherapy, and this sustained funding will enable them to carry out transformational research. Because the funds are not restricted to a particular project, the award allows the recipients to follow new and promising lines of investigation, which often lead to unanticipated scientific breakthroughs. This long-term funding provides a degree of flexibility and freedom to explore outside-the-box and disruptive avenues of research.

The profile of a recipient investigator would be a scientist who takes risks with the expectation of high rewards, even in the face of potential failure. They will use their expertise, scientific acumen, and visionary curiosity to ask important, significant, and often non-obvious immunological questions. They will be the rare researcher who connects disparate pieces of discoveries, often from multiple disciplines, to develop and test new hypotheses that lead to step changes in our understanding and innovation to the field of cancer immunotherapy.

It is expected that their discoveries in basic or translational research will ultimately influence the development of new immune-based therapies that will be effective for more cancer patients. CRI Lloyd J. Old STARs will be at the forefront of discovery and innovation and will be viewed as the leaders in scientific thought and invention.

Financial Information

Lloyd J. Old STAR Program grants provide up to $250,000 per year for five years. Awarded funds are intended to be flexible and may be used for salary, technical assistance, supplies, capital equipment, or scientific travel. CRI does not provide funds for indirect costs. Payments are made quarterly in U.S. currency to the host institution.


The process for applying for a Lloyd J. Old STAR Program grant consists of two parts:

  • Application
  • Invited interview

The deadline for the receipt of applications is January 15. Candidates will be notified in early March whether they have been invited for an interview. Interviews will be conducted virtually with members of CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council leadership. It is the policy of CRI that all reviewers are required to adhere to ethical guidelines that mandate strict confidentiality concerning all aspects of any letters of intent (“LOIs”), grant applications, and research proposals submitted to CRI for funding consideration. Confidentiality agreements with all reviewers are kept on file at CRI. The earliest an award can activate is July 1. Awards must activate on the first of the month.


Candidates for the Lloyd J. Old STAR program must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The applicant must have an M.D., Ph.D., or M.D./Ph.D. (or equivalent)
  • Applicants must belong to one of the following categories as of July 1 (following the deadline):
    • Tenure-track assistant professor with a minimum of 3 years in this position (for Jan. 15, 2024, deadline must be appointed on or before July 1, 2021)
    • Tenure-track associate professor with a maximum of 3 years in this position (for Jan. 15, 2024, deadline must be appointed on or after July 1, 2021)

Adjunct or acting positions are not eligible.

Applicants are expected to commit a minimum of 80% of their time to conducting research.

CRI has no citizenship restrictions, and research supported by the award may be conducted at medical schools and research centers in the United States or abroad. Please note that the Cancer Research Institute does not support research at for-profit institutions.

Instructions for Applying

Applications must be submitted electronically. Once you access the application, you will be asked to create a user account unique to you, which will catalogue all applications you submit to CRI. If you have submitted a grant application to CRI in the past, please login with your existing user account.

Supporting Materials

After you have filled out all required fields on the online form, you will be asked to upload the following five (5) items as individual PDF documents.

  • Abstract: A 300-word overview of the research questions, goals, and approaches of your lab. The content should be written in non-technical English.
  • Research summary: A summary (not to exceed 4 pages) of your ongoing and planned research, highlighting your past work and plans for the next 5 years.
  • List five (5) publications of note: Five peer-reviewed papers that cover your most important scientific contributions. For each publication, provide a citation followed by a 300-word or less summary of the publication’s significance. Do not include copies of the publications with your application. 
  • Curriculum vitae and bibliography (limit bibliography to past 5 years and relevant publications).
  • List your current research support.


  • Only PDF documents will be accepted. All files must be submitted individually on the attachments page of the online application.
  • When you have finished uploading the attachments, click “Submit.” You will receive a notice confirming that you have successfully submitted your Application Form. Immediately after, an automated notification from CRI will be sent to your email address, also confirming submission. If you encounter problems uploading your attachments, email them to [email protected]. Be sure to note the application number, which will be assigned to you at the time of submission.
  • Online applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the deadline date. If the deadline falls on the weekend, applications will be accepted until the close of business that following Monday. We strongly suggest submitting your applications as early as possible to provide ample time in case your application is incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Formatting Guidelines: Any documents you attach to your online application form must be typed single-space using a 12 point or larger font size.

Award Terms and Conditions

All awardees must adhere to the terms of this award.

Please note: The Cancer Research Institute will not modify the terms of its policies at the request of individual institutions. Policies have been approved by our Board of Trustees, and we do not have the resources to negotiate separately with the many institutions that receive our support.

Application Deadlines

January 15


Spring (TBD)

(If a deadline falls on the weekend, applications are due the following Monday.)

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