Early Career Seed Grant Scheme

The VCA Early Career Seed Grants are designed to support early career researchers undertaking high quality translational cancer research as defined in the VCA Funding Rules. The grants provide limited seed funding to encourage and retain talented individuals in the field of cancer research in Victoria.The objectives of the Early Career Seed Grants are to:

  • support high quality cancer research conducted by early career researchers who are able to demonstrate clear evidence of translational research capacity
  • provide limited seed funding as a means of enhancing competitiveness of early career researchers to enable leverage of further funding from granting bodies or industry; and facilitate collaboration related to the research project.

The Early Career Seed Grants are available to:

  • support the salary of the researcher
  • support the direct research costs of undertaking the research project.

Applicants who are able to demonstrate their project would be enhanced by undertaking research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) or a NCI-designated Cancer Center will be eligible to participate in the Victoria-USA Cancer Fellowship Exchange Program. This will provide support for up to 12 months to enable the Applicant to undertake part of their Grant in the United States.

The scheme is open to biomedical, medical, nursing and allied health practitioners, health economists, behavioural scientists, statisticians, bioinformaticians, epidemiologists and other disciplines conducting research across the continuum of cancer care.

Victorian Cancer Agency Early Career Seed Grant 2018 Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I received my PhD in 2013 and I am unsure if I am eligible for an Early Career Seed Grant?
A: For the purposes of eligibility, the VCA uses the date you received notification that your PhD is accepted, not the date it was conferred (ie at a graduation ceremony). Therefore, the time elapsed to be eligible for an Early Career Seed Grant is the time between when you received notification and the closing date of this funding scheme, and must be no more than five years with the exception of recognised career breaks.

Q: If I have submitted my PhD but have not yet received a result, am I eligible to apply for an Early Career Seed Grant?
A: No. You are also required to have 12 months post-doctoral research experience to be eligible to apply for an Early Career Seed Grant.

Q: If I have taken a career break or worked part-time, how is time counted post-PhD for the purposes of an Early Career Seed Grant?
A: During the assessment process, applications will be assessed to determine the applicants Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence to accurately measure an applicant's track record relative to stage of career, including consideration as to whether productivity and contribution is commensurate with the opportunities available to the applicant. This will include considerations of career disruptions. Career disruptions are based on NHMRC definitions and are defined as follows:

A career disruption involved a prolonged interruption to an applicant's capacity to work, either due to absence (for periods of one month or greater)  and/or long-term partial return to work, to accommodate carers responsibilities or illness. The career disruption must have occurred post the date of the letter advising that the thesis was passed and resulted in significantly reduced research productivity or nil research output.

The amount of time that has passed post-PhD will be counted so as not to disadvantage you in being able to apply. The VCA will confirm your eligibility prior to assessment of your application. You can contact us before applying if you are uncertain of eligibility.

Q: Is clinical work or other professional work considered a career break for the purposes of an Early Career Seed Grant?
A: No. 

Q: I am a medical graduate, can I apply for an Early Career Seed Grant?
A: Yes. If you meet all other eligibility criteria detailed within the guidelines, you can apply for an Early Career Seed Grant.


Q: Can you please advise on the suitability of my project for this funding scheme? Are there any priority areas for this funding scheme?
A: The VCA is unable to discuss the suitability of a project for a funding round, the VCA can only assist applicants to determine eligibility. Please refer to the funding guidelines for any priorities the VCA has for a funding scheme.

Q: If I have previously applied for VCA funding and been unsuccessful, can I apply again?
A: Yes.

Q: Can funding be used to extend an existing project?
A: Yes, as long as the proposal fits within the grant guidelines and indicates a discrete research objective with no duplication of funding from other sources.

Q: If I have previously received funding from the VCA, can I apply again?
A: Generally yes, however restrictions apply to some types of grants. Refer to individual grant guidelines.

Q: Can I provide references for the summary of proposed research in the application form?
A: References are required in the project description upload.

Q: Who can apply for VCA funding?
A: Any organisation or individual that is, or will be, involved in the conduct of cancer research in Victoria is eligible to apply for VCA funding. Applications must be made under the auspices of a Victorian hospital, research organisation or university. For specific eligibility requirements, see the guidelines provided for individual grants.

Q: How can I apply for funding?
A: When applications are open, we provide a link for you to apply online in the current funding scheme pages. We do not accept applications submitted in hard copy or by email.

Q: Who can I contact if I have any queries about applying for a specific grant?
A: For queries about the guidelines, deadlines, or questions in the form, email 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or phone 1300 664 737 during business hours and quote your application number. For queries about using the application form, contact SmartyGrants on 03 9320 6888 during business hours or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and quote your application number.

Q: What is SmartyGrants?
A: The VCA uses SmartyGrants to administer our grants. SmartyGrants is an online grant management system that provides easy-to-use online application forms, as well as report management functions for successful applicants.

Q: Will you fund research in other states?
A: We will fund collaborative research across Victoria and interstate, but the lead organisation must be based in Victoria and the VCA must be satisfied that majority of the research will be conducted in Victoria .

Q: Will the VCA own the intellectual property (IP) of findings?
A: No. Under VCA agreements, funded parties retain ownership of their Intellectual Property. This policy is in line with industry best practice for the management of IP for publicly funded research. The VCA does ask that findings be commercialised, where appropriate, in a manner that ensures fair and reasonable access for the Victorian public. More information is available from the 
Victorian Cancer Agency Funding Rules (PDF 265KB). 

Q: Will there be any feedback to the applicant following the evaluation process?
A: All applicants will be notified of whether their application was successful or not. Individual feedback can be provided verbally on request

Q: What was the success rates for the 2017 VCA funding round?
A: In 2017, the success rate for the VCA funding round was 33%.