Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key dates in the application process?

Cycle 3 Program Announcement and Applications Open October 2, 2023
Upcoming Webinar for Potential Applicants (Passcode: 784247) October 2, 2023 18:00 UTC 
Letter of Intent (LOI) Due Date (online submission) December 20, 2023, 23:59 UTC
Application Due Date (online) February 2, 2024, 23:59 UTC
Scientific Merit Review March 2024
Decisions Announced April 5, 2024
Training Start Date May 3, 2024

How do I determine what track is best for me?

The PI Track is designed to train doctoral trained individuals (MBBS, MBBCh, MD, PhD, or equivalent) to develop cancer research careers as a principal investigator.

The PM Track is designed to train individuals who have prior training or experience in medicine, nursing, laboratory science, public health, or other health- or research-related disciplines to work as a member of a research team in support of cancer research.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

PI Track: African researchers who are resident in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) who have a terminal doctoral degree (MBBS, MBBCh, MD, PhD, or equivalent).

PM Track: Individuals from resident in SSA who have prior training in medicine, nursing, laboratory science, public health, or other health- or research-related disciplines.

I am African but currently living outside Africa, can I still apply?

Only African national’s resident in SSA are eligible to apply.

What kind of institutional affiliation do I need to have?

In order to be competitive for training, you must identify a host institution that can support the research training you will undertake. This can be determined in one of two ways. Certain institutions have been pre-approved as eligible institutions for training. The list of pre-approved institutions can be found here.

If your institution is not on the pre-approved list, you can still apply for training but you must provide additional information about the resources and facilities available to your institution that will convince the application reviewers that you are able to successfully complete your training at that institution.

Do I need a sponsor to apply?

All trainees must identify a primary sponsor who is affiliated with the institution where training will occur. The sponsor must be identified and agree to guide the trainee at the time of application:

PI Track: Your Sponsor should be an active investigator with expertise in the area of the proposed research training. The sponsor must be committed to your research training, direct supervision of your research, and ongoing career development. The Sponsor need not be an expert in the area of the proposed research and can serve primarily as an academic mentor. However, if the Sponsor is not an expert in the proposed research area, members of the mentoring team must be identified in advance to ensure that adequate scientific oversight of the research project exists.

PM Track: Your Sponsor should be your current primary supervisor, a researcher (e.g., principal investigator), or other research staff member with experience in project management.

How do I identify a Sponsor?

The applicant is responsible to identify experienced sponsors from the institution at which they propose to undertake their training. The sponsor must be identified prior to the submission of the application and will be required to provide a letter of support outlining their role in the training process.

Can I identify additional mentors?

In addition to the primary sponsor, each trainee is expected to identify a mentoring team that will assist them in their training. Members of the mentoring team need not be affiliated with your home institution. A list of possible mentors is available for successful applicants, and the STARS program will assist in identifying a strong mentoring team for the trainees.

PI Track: Members of the mentoring team should provide expertise relevant to the area of proposed research. The mentoring team should complement the expertise of the Sponsor and consist of individuals with the content-area skills needed for the successful completion of the proposed research.

PM Track: In addition to the Sponsor, PM track trainees may identify additional mentors with skills that complement their training and career development needs.

How many trainees will be selected for the Class of 2024?

The number of awards is contingent upon funding availability and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. For the Class of 2022, we trained 8 SSA PI track trainees and 15 PM track trainees. For the Class of 2023, we trained 10 SSA PI track trainees and 18 PM track trainees.

How do I apply?

The application guide is available by clicking on the links below. The application form should be submitted online by February 2, 2024.  In addition, we are asking applicants to submit a brief LOI online by December 20, 2023. The LOI describes your Institution, experience, and future project scientific area (for PI-Track) and broad aims. You should also indicate your Sponsoring Institution, Sponsor, and Mentor(s) if known at that time.

Can multiple individuals from the same Institution apply for the PI and PM-Track training opportunity?

Yes. We welcome multiple applications from the same institution and each application received will be carefully reviewed by the review panel based on individual merit.

Can I submit multiple applications for the PI-Track with different research ideas?

No. Only one submission per applicant is allowed.

What is the structure of the training?

Trainees are expected to participate in part-time training over an eight-month period (i.e., May-December 2023). During this period, trainees will participate in virtual lectures and live discussion sections, seminars, live interaction with sponsors, live and/or virtual interaction with mentors and STARS program staff, as well as exchanges with other institutions.

If you have additional questions, please contact us by email at: