Research Like a Champion

Do you have an innovative idea for cancer research?

In early  2014, Notre Dame students from all colleges were invited by the College of Science and Harper Cancer Research Institute to submit proposals for innovative projects looking into the causes, treatment, and prevention of cancer. Three of the submitted proposals received $12,500 research awards.


The College of Science and Harper Cancer Research Institute will host the Research Like A Champion competition once again in 2015. Individual Notre Dame students or groups of students who choose to work in a team (no more than three students per team) may submit proposals for high risk/high reward cancer research projects.  Undergraduate and graduate students from all Notre Dame colleges are eligible to submit research proposals. Innovative research proposals must be based on scientific research and breast cancer projects will have special consideration. Students will also be expected to present their research at Harper Cancer Research Day in April 2016.

Each proposed project must have a mentor, but mentors can range from a Notre Dame faculty or staff person, to an outside corporate or physician mentor to oversee each project. Please contact Andrew Bullock, Ph.D. if you or your team needs help identifying a mentor.

The three best proposals will receive a $12,500 research award that will provide support throughout the academic year and summer. Funding can be used to support summer student stipends, research supplies, and travel.

Proposal requirements

Proposals should be no more than two pages in length (12-point font, single-spaced) and must include:

  • Student information (name, graduation year, major)
  • An overview of the proposal
  • Project design
  • Expected goals
  • Budget (attached to the two page proposal)
  • CV or bio of mentor (attached to the two page proposal)
  • Letter of support from mentor (attached to the two page proposal)

Helpful proposal tips

  • Acknowledge logistical hurdles. You do not have to provide every detail in your proposal; however, if your proposal involves activities such as collecting patient surveys, your proposal should show that you have a preliminary plan for how you will get access to patients, etc.
  • Special attention will be given to bold and creative approaches to cancer research. Unrealistic projects, however, will be at a disadvantage.
  • Remember the size of the award.  While a detailed budget is not a requirement, do not propose more than you can accomplish.  An innovative and well designed project that would cost $100,000 will likely not be competitive.
  • Chose your mentor carefully. Mentors do not need to be members of the Notre Dame faculty; however, they should have expertise relevant to the research proposed.

Deadline: The 2015 competition deadline is 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, March 6, 2015. Please email your completed proposals to Andrew Bullock and include the t-shirt sizes for each member of your group in the email.

For more information: Please feel free to contact Andrew Bullock (Harper Cancer Institute) or Sean Kassen, Ph.D. (College of Science) with any questions.

Help us spread the word through your social networks using  #ResearchLikeAChampion and #NDScience.