The O’Neal Invests program at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB seeks to promote excellence in the areas of basic, translational and population science research relevant to cancer. The program supports nascent, paradigm-shifting cancer research proposed by O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center investigators. These are novel ideas with considerable promise and potential impact in the field of cancer care, as determined by a peer-reviewed panel of experts.

By investing in our researchers and their work, the O’Neal Cancer Center hopes to find and fund the greatest scientific research projects that our experts have to offer. Investigators who apply to the O’Neal Invests program but are not awarded funding for a particular project still receive feedback on their proposals from the review panel and are encouraged to reapply for the program in the future.

The goal of O’Neal Invests is to provide funding for two years that will allow O’Neal Cancer Center investigators to develop preliminary data that can support applications for competitive five-year grants from the National Cancer Institute. The grants range from $2 million (R01) to $12 million (SPORE, P01) in research support. These NCI awards will provide the long-term support needed to fuel transformative cancer research and exceptional cancer care at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB.

By donating to the O’Neal Invests program, you can help support cancer research throughout the O’Neal Cancer Center. To give to O’Neal Invests, contact Lisa Roth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (205) 934-0930.

How the Program Works

The O’Neal Invests program was designed to do exactly what it sounds like – invest in our cancer scientists, their novel ideas and, ultimately, the future of oncology as we know it. By supporting the best nascent research at UAB and encouraging investigators to pursue grants that have the potential for NIH funding, the O’Neal Cancer Center hopes to create a culture where big budding ideas come to life.

There are two funding cycles per year – one in the spring and one in the fall – and two award mechanisms:

Pre-R01: This mechanism will support research projects that will lead to an R01 submission within two years. The award is $80,000 per year for two years.

Pre-P01/Pre-SPORE: This mechanism will support collaborative team science that will lead to an application for a large, multi-PI extramural grant, such as a P01 or SPORE, within two years. This award is for $250,000 per year for up to two years. Three or, preferably, four investigators with distinct, interrelated projects must apply together.

Therapeutic clinical trials cannot be supported by these mechanisms, but the inclusion of diagnostic or biomarker correlative studies related to a therapeutic protocol that are within the budget constraints will be considered.

Check out the O’Neal Cancer Center’s list of active funding opportunities to learn more about eligibility and how to apply for the current funding cycle.

O’Neal Invests Funding

As of November 2021, O’Neal Invests has funded a total of 21 research projects, worth a total of $3.36 million, since the program’s first funding cycle in Spring 2020.

The O’Neal Invests program distributes funds from individual gifts made by donors like you, as well as a variety of other funding sources, including: