Press Releases

The American Cancer Society and Emerson Collective Launch Grants to Encourage Collaborative Online Research
Jul 21, 2020
Grants will support interdisciplinary teams who participate in the ACS’s online platform
The global pandemic has laid bare the inequities that exist in our health system and underscored the urgency to creatively leverage the cancer research community

The American Cancer Society and Emerson Collective have launched a partnership to support innovative, collaborative research projects using TheoryLab®, the American Cancer Society’s online platform for funded researchers. The TheoryLab Collaborative (TLC) Grant mechanism is designed to support new and transdisciplinary collaborations among TheoryLab users to explore high-risk ideas, including Covid-19 research relevant to cancer or persons living with cancer. Up to ten pilot grants will be awarded.

TheoryLab is the American Cancer Society’s online research community for scientists and clinical professionals who have a current or previous relationship with ACS as a grant recipient, mentor, peer reviewer, staff researcher, or adviser. Emerson Collective grantees have been invited to join TheoryLab, which currently includes more than 1,200 scientists working across the cancer research continuum at institutions across the country. The community regularly hosts well-attended online chats and webinars about topics such as mentoring, epigenetics, survivorship, and metastatic breast cancer.

TLC Grants are open to teams of two investigators who are active on TheoryLab. Applicants will post collaborative ideas to TheoryLab, where community members will provide feedback and vote on the most innovative concepts. In September 2020, selected investigators will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal.

Once proposals are selected for funding, grant recipients will conduct two virtual research meetings on TheoryLab during their grant term. The purpose of these virtual meetings is to share progress and challenges and to encourage collaboration within the TheoryLab community. The awards also include travel funds for the collaborating investigators to meet face-to-face to generate ideas and advance their collaboration (pending travel recommendations at that time).

“This partnership between ACS and Emerson Collective is designed to foster transdisciplinary collaborations, bringing together our collective grantee networks,” said William Phelps, PhD, senior vice president of Extramural Research. “With this joint initiative, we hope to improve the way cancer researchers share information and to accelerate the pace of progress on behalf of cancer patients.”

“The global pandemic has laid bare the inequities that exist in our health system and underscored the urgency to creatively leverage the cancer research community, which is why we are proud to partner to with ACS’s online research community” said Reed Jobs, Managing Director of Health at Emerson Collective. “Cancer research must continue to accelerate – patients cannot afford to take a step back.” 

Grant recipients will be announced on TheoryLab in December 2020. Grants will be activated on February 1, 2021.

For additional questions about this mechanism please contact:

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to

Emerson Collective is a social change organization that uses a broad range of tools including philanthropy, impact investing, and policy solutions to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Established and led by Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective is working to renew some of society’s most calcified systems, creating new possibilities for individuals, families, and communities.