Grants from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) are often awarded to the same institutions, according to a study published in the Journal of Cancer Policy

The study authors evaluated grants awarded by ASCO between 1984 and 2021, looking specifically at grants that were awarded for 1 year or more and had $10,000 or more in annual funds.

More than one-third of the grants were awarded to researchers at 4 institutions — Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and John Hopkins University.

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Two-thirds of the grants were awarded to researchers from 18 institutions in 10 states.

The study included 1732 grants in total. The grants were mostly given to US researchers (93%), and most recipients were men (61%). 

The top 10 institutions receiving grants were Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (14%), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (10%), MD Anderson Cancer Center (8%), John Hopkins University (6%), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (3%), Stanford University (3%), University of Chicago (3%), Columbia University (2%), University of California, San Francisco (2%), and Massachusetts General Hospital (2%). 

The study authors looked specifically at career development awards and identified 304 recipients. Two-thirds of these recipients were affiliated with an institution in 1 of 5 states: New York (60 awards), Massachusetts (55 awards), Texas (43 awards), California (25 awards), and Pennsylvania (18 awards). 

The authors also looked at the 1249 recipients of young investigator awards. Two-thirds of these recipients came from institutions in 1 of 5 states: New York (286 awards), Massachusetts (184 awards), Texas (124 awards), California (122 awards), and Maryland (109 awards). 

The study authors concluded that there was “a significant concentration of grants awarded to oncology investigators from a few institutions.”

“Although this pattern may be explained by the higher interest of investigators and/or availability of strong mentorship from those institutions, it is concerning that awards centered around career development and support of junior faculty were also heavily concentrated in a few institutions,” the authors wrote. “Lack of appropriate distribution of grants may worsen disparities across academic institutions and increase the gap in academic progress among investigators.”

Disclosures: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Al Hadidi S, Abu Zaid MI, Ali MM. Institutional disparities in the distribution of the American Society of Clinical Oncology grants. J Cancer Policy. 2023;35:100404. doi:10.1016/j.jcpo.2023.100404