Funding Opportunities

The Cancer Society Momentum Grant Round

The Cancer Society Momentum Grant Round is now closed – applications are currently under review.

About the Cancer Society Momentum Grant Round


Te Aka has partnered with Cancer Society Auckland Northland (CSAN) to deliver this contestable grant opportunity, to empower teams to deliver cancer research initiatives that demonstrate excellence and clear pathways to impact. This is made possible by the support and generosity of CSAN and those who give to them.

This new opportunity builds on the longstanding relationship between CSAN and the University of Auckland. CSAN continue to directly support other University research partners, the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre and Cancer Trials New Zealand.

CSAN has committed a total of $1,000,000 for this opportunity, and Te Aka is committed to enabling the best use of the fund by delivering a comprehensive contestable fund process.

The intent is to fund several grants, with a delivery window of two years starting from 1 July 2024. Applications are open until 31 May.


What kind of applications are sought?

Proposals should bring together teams with a plan to deliver excellent, impactful work with long-term partnering potential with CSAN.

The criteria of this round also recognise that good research requires funding continuity. Accordingly, applications will suit research teams tackling problems that need longer timeframes to solve.

Successful applications will convey a sense of momentum – compelling proposals will;

  • Illustrate what underpinning work that has brought you to the point of your proposal
  • Convey how this grant will enable and accelerate the work you will deliver during the two-year delivery window
  • Show promise for what might follow beyond the next two year – where will your vision take us?

Grants can include direct research costs (e.g. researcher time/salary) and support costs (e.g. technical and clinical resource, engagement, platform support).

Teams may be new or established, formal or informal – but must have the potential for genuine longevity. Subsequent grant opportunities may become available in the future.

Teams may be new or established, formal or informal – with the potential for genuine longevity. Subsequent grant opportunities may become available in the future. Research excellence, vision and strategic connection will be a key factor, including alignment of the proposed work with CSAN and UoA goals (see the Cancer Society Strategic Plan and Research Strategy for related insights).

Full assessment criteria are found in the guidelines, and include criteria around support for equity in cancer outcomes, Māori health, community impact, and building meaningful partnerships (whether focussed on research, advocacy, community, clinical aspects).

Contact our Research Operations Manager, Travis McDonald or our Director – Research Professor Andrew Shelling if you have questions or would like to discuss this excellent opportunity.


Frequently asked questions

What is the significance of ‘momentum’ to this opportunity?

The idea of momentum speaks to a couple aspects – the sense that strong proposals will build on existing work or ideas and be ‘ready to go’, with a forecast of delivery and impact during the two-year funding period. Equally, proposals are asked to envision what work may follow beyond the two-year funding period. ‘Momentum’ also reflects the assessment criterion of workforce development – we want to see proposals that support sustainability of research careers, particularly at the early to mid-level.

How can I convey meaningful impact within a two-year delivery window?

This opportunity is funded by Cancer Society Auckland Northland, which ultimately means it is made possible by the giving public. We want the outcomes of this grant round to be readily conveyable to the public (and Te Aka and the Cancer Society Auckland Northland will work with the successful applicants on this – see the Guidelines for some detail). This does not mean that the full vision of your proposal must be delivered and outcomes fully observed and measured within the two-year funding window. Conveying credible intent, vision, and credible progress on pathways to impact should be considered. Explore the University of Auckland’s ResearchHub for resources on Research Impact.

How are the assessment criteria weighted?

The primary assessment criteria is the overall quality/research excellence of the proposal – this will account for half of the overall assessment of proposals. All other criteria are of equal importance. They are not explicitly ‘weighted,’ to allow for fair consideration of proposals that demonstrate excellence in certain criteria but perhaps naturally less so in others. This allows for more holistic consideration of the merits of proposals, while still being clear about the assessment criteria.

Are there any other resources to help me ensure our proposal is responsive to Māori?

In addition to the information linked in the Guidelines, a great starting point is the article Achieving health equity in Aotearoa: strengthening responsiveness to Māori in health research by Reid et al. You will find that article linked on this page. Te Aka recommends the Responding to and engaging with Māori in research modules in ResearchHub, which are based on content and research from the Office of the Tumuaki and the Te Kupenga Hauora Māori Team from the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. These are self-directed modules that have been carefully crafted for researchers to use.



What are Cancer Society Auckland Northland looking for?

See the answers to the questions around Momentum and Impact above, as well as the links within the Guidelines document – especially those pertaining to the Cancer Society’s Manifesto and Equity Charter. Further, this opportunity has been crafted with the potential for long-term engagement of the successful teams with Cancer Society Auckland Northland in mind. While the current commitment is for the two-year funding opportunity, there is the potential for further opportunities of the kind in the future.

How will the decisions on whether to fund proposals be made?

Per the Guidelines, the proposals will be assessed according to the stated assessment criteria by a Momentum Grant Awarding Committee, established specifically for this grant round. This Committee is chaired independently of Te Aka and Cancer Society Auckland Northland. Members will individually assess all proposals, before coming together to compare assessments and to make final decisions on awards.

Where should I pitch our budget? Can I make the budget ‘scalable’?

Beyond the mandated minimum budget of $200,000 stated in the Guidelines, there is no ‘ideal’ figure to aim for. Applicants should also be mindful of the intent for the Awarding Committee to select between 2 and 5 proposals overall. The Awarding Committee may wish to support some proposals to a different level than the stated budget. As such, it may be advantageous to consider an element of scalability to your budget, particularly if it is comparatively high. Budget your proposal in full, but consider giving some attention in the body of your proposal as to the level of interdependence or otherwise of proposal elements or suggesting options for adjusting to different budget levels if necessary.

What support is available to help me develop and refine the budget?

Your local FIRST team (Research Programme Coordinators, Research Programme Managers etc) are here to help with your budget needs. Even if you are confident in your budget, it will be helpful for it to be checked with them, as they can assist in ensuring it is in the right state and format to facilitate swift activation of the award should you be successful. Te Aka’s Research Operations Manager can also advised on general budget questions and direct you to the appropriate FIRST contact if you are not aware of them.

Does my proposal need to be peer-reviewed before submission?

We do not need to see any copy of or formal evidence of peer review. We understand this is likely to be part and parcel with the team-based nature of this opportunity.