• LOI: 11/04/2019
  • Proposal: 11/18/2019


  • Amount: Up to $75,000 per year
  • Duration: 3 years


The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) is soliciting proposals that address the gap in translational science (i.e., turning scientific discoveries into tools and/or treatments for high-risk individuals and patients with melanoma). Successful proposals have the potential of applying important basic and preclinical discoveries to the near-term development of clinical trials and studies impacting melanoma detection, prevention, diagnosis, staging, and/or treatment.

Proposals for clinical studies testing well-defined and clearly articulated hypotheses are welcome and should be accompanied by a brief protocol synopsis and timeline with milestones. IRB approval is not required at the time of application but is required before initial payments are made.

Young Investigator Awards: Young Investigator Awards aim to attract early career faculty with original ideas into the field of melanoma, thereby recruiting and supporting the next generation of melanoma research leaders. Awardees will be provided funding to accomplish innovative and original, preclinical, translational, and/or early clinical research projects. A mentorship commitment from a senior investigator is required.

MRA welcomes proposals in the following areas:

  • Prevention: Elucidation of environmental, epidemiological, and biological factors in melanomagenesis that lead to improved strategies for melanoma prevention.
  • Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging: Development of innovative detection and diagnostic methodologies; identification and validation of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.
  • Treatment: Projects emphasizing the translation of scientific findings to new treatments for patients with melanoma. Examples include, but are not limited to, studies of melanoma immunotherapy, therapeutic applications based on molecular mechanisms involved in melanoma formation and/or progression, treatments that target the tumor microenvironment or microbiome, combination therapies, and development of novel biomarkers of response to therapy.

Special Emphasis Areas: For the 2019-2020 cycle, MRA seeks proposals in the following areas, which are focused on current unmet clinical needs in melanoma. These areas are of particular interest, will receive special consideration, and can include pre-clinical, translational, clinical, and/or correlative studies:

  • Identifying strategies to overcome treatment resistance, difficult-to-treat melanoma subtypes such as acral, mucosal, or uveal melanoma, and/or non-BRAF-mutant melanomas such as NRAS or NF1-mutant;
  • Informing logical and optimal combination therapies, therapeutic sequences, and/or treatment regimens in adjuvant and neoadjuvant approaches;
  • Developing strategies to prevent and/or treat metastatic disease;
  • Identifying markers of response, resistance, and/or risk of recurrence or death;
  • Improving prevention and early detection strategies; and/or developing new diagnostic approaches, including artificial intelligence or machine-learning endeavors.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

Young Faculty Award Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applicants must be within the first four years of their first independent, full time academic faculty appointment at the application deadline at the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent position).
  • Applicants must designate at least one Mentor who is an established investigator at the same institution who will ensure that adequate support and guidance are provided for successful completion of the proposed research project and provide career mentorship.
  • Applicants who have secured an independent full-time faculty position commencing by July 1, 2020 will be considered.
  • Applicants who have been awarded a prior MRA Young Investigator Award are not eligible to apply for an additional MRA Young Investigator Award.

General eligibility requirements (see FOA for full eligibility):

  • PIs must be able to show clear evidence of an independent research program.
  • If previously funded by MRA, applicant must be up-to-date on all reporting requirements.
  • Investigators need not be specifically trained in melanoma research, however, they should be working in an environment capable of conducting high-quality, high-impact melanoma research.
  • An investigator may serve as PI on only one proposal submitted to MRA for any of the award mechanisms in this cycle. This includes any Special Opportunity Awards.
    • Mentors for Young Investigator Award applicants may serve as a PI on a separate proposal this cycle; however, that proposal must represent a distinct hypothesis from the Young Investigator’s proposal.

Contact Information

Email questions about this RFP, eligibility, or other issues about MRA or its awards to Kristen Mueller, MRA Scientific Program Director at