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Cancer Research: Swim Across America & Bears Care

Application Dates & Deadlines

Application RSVP due by Monday, April 15, 2024.

Proposals due by Wednesday, May 15, 2024. The full application link will be sent to PIs who completed the RSVP form.

View past awardees

View all currently active funding opportunities

In the interest of providing seed funds to support cancer research at Rush University Medical Center, Swim Across America (SAA) and Bears Care have committed philanthropic funds to support investigator-initiated research. The intent of these grants is to encourage translational research by funding well-designed projects that could be competitive for future larger grants from a federal or private agency. Early-stage investigators, defined as individuals who do not have or have not previously received NIH R01 or equivalent funding, are encouraged to apply.

  • For Swim Across America, applications are being solicited to conduct innovative translational, basic science, or population-based research relevant to the cause, prevention, diagnosis, cure or improved treatment of cancer.
  • For Bears Care, only breast cancer research projects that are new to Bears Care will be considered.

Funding amounts and availability

  • Swim Across America funds up to six awards per year. Applicants may apply for either $50,000 or $100,000. Special consideration for early-stage investigators. Capital equipment not allowed.
  • Bears Care funds one award per year of $75,000 - $100,000. Capital equipment not allowed.

The period of support is one year. Applicants may reapply for continued support.


  • The award recipient must commit at least 10% of their research effort to the research contained in their proposal.

Who can apply

  • At least one investigator in a proposal must be an active Rush University faculty member at the assistant professor level or above.
  • Inter-institutional or inter-disciplinary proposals are of particular interest.
  • Early investigators, women and members of groups underrepresented in research are encouraged to apply. There are no citizenship or residency requirements. 
  • Applicants may submit only one proposal as a principal investigator or multiple PI in response to each opportunity.  
  • Instructors may apply if the department chair submits a letter indicating that they will be promoted to assistant professor by the award date.
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