Climb to Fight Cancer Fellowship

research fellow in a lab

What is the Climb to Fight Cancer Fellowship?

The Climb to Fight Cancer 2019 Kilimanjaro cohort and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center are dedicated to increasing diversity in science by training world-class scientists from every background. The 2019 climb promoted gender equity in science, and the Climb to Fight Cancer Fellowship honors and builds on that spirit by supporting the work of postdoctoral researchers who have overcome barriers to pursue a career in cancer research.

This fellowship provides up to two years of funding for one postdoctoral fellow from a background that is underrepresented in science. This initiative aligns with Fred Hutch’s anti-racist values and advances our strategic objectives of retaining talented researchers and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within biomedical research.

The Climb to Fight Cancer Fellow will represent the Hutch as a member of the biotech-focused Climb to Fight Cancer team in 2022 or 2023. Scaling a mountain alongside top leaders in biotech will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for personal and professional growth. The experience will provide extraordinary access to C-suite executives from some of the world’s leading biotech companies, entrepreneurial founders and CEOs of innovative biotech start-ups, and VCs and private investors who invest in biotechnology. Being a member of the climb team will enable the fellow to create unique bonds with these high-powered biotech leaders, grow their network, and become more familiar with the industry. The fellowship will open industry doors for promising trainees while increasing diversity and inclusion in the biotech sector.


How is the Climb to Fight Cancer Fellowship funded?

Although there are other funding sources that aim to increase trainee diversity in the biomedical sciences, very few are as inclusive as the Climb to Fight Cancer Fellowship. For example, to qualify for NIH Diversity Supplement funding, recipients must fall into certain racial/ethnic categories, and underrepresentation based on socioeconomic status cannot be used to determine eligibility at the pre- and post- doctoral level. The fellowship is funded by the 2019 Kilimanjaro Climb team and Fred Hutch. Funding this fellowship and welcoming the fellow as a member of the 2022 or 2023 Climb to Fight Cancer team acknowledges the importance of supporting young scientists from underrepresented minority backgrounds — not just with funding, but with the commitment to helping shape their careers.

Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible, an applicant must be a current or to-be-hired Fred Hutch postdoctoral researcher who has completed their Ph.D. (or other degree, specified below) and established a relationship with a primary mentor in one of three of Fred Hutch’s scientific divisions: Basic Science, Human Biology, and Public Health Science.

Candidates must have fewer than four years’ total postdoctoral experience and be from a background that is underrepresented in science based on the NIH definition, which includes Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, individuals with disabilities, and people from disadvantaged backgrounds.


  • Applicants must have completed (and successfully defended, if applicable) one or more of the following degrees or its equivalent: M.D., Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., D.D.S., D.V.M., D.O. 
  • Eligible applicants are current or to-be-hired Fred Hutch postdoctoral researchers.
  • Applicants must have fewer than four years total experience as a postdoc.
  • Foreign nationals are eligible to apply.

Dates & Deadlines

  • Applications due on Monday, June 14th, 2021 by 5 p.m. (PDT)
What does the fellowship funding cover?

Funds may support salary, fringe, and indirect costs, for a total award amount of at least $125,000/year for up to two years. Fellow salary levels should at least meet the National Institutes of Health minimum for postdocs or current salary amount set by mentor or other sponsored funds. Awarded funds in excess of the above may be used to support other activities as approved by the sponsor.

Funds must be expended at Fred Hutch.

The fellowship also includes $10,000 to cover the full cost of participating in the 2022 or 2023 Climb to Fight Cancer, including travel, equipment, and additional activities.

How are applications evaluated?

Proposals will be evaluated by a committee of scientific leaders from Fred Hutch’s Public Health, Basic Science, and Human Biology divisions, representatives from the 2019 Kilimanjaro climb; and members of the Hutch Philanthropy team. After eligibility is verified, at least two committee members will review each application independently and score them based on the quality of the applicant's research proposal, personal statement, commitment to diversity, letters of recommendation, and statement of mentor support. Applicants who receive the highest scores will progress to the next round of evaluation, where their applications will be reviewed by the full committee.

What are the expectations for fellowship recipient?

Participation in Climb to Fight Cancer in 2022 or 2023 and climb-related promotion

The Climb to Fight Cancer Fellowship aims to foster a more diverse biomedical research workforce. The awardee will participate in the Climb to Fight Cancer and will share his or her story as part of the biotech-focused Climb to Fight Cancer campaign. Because the fellowship is funded by generous contributions from donors, the selected fellow may be called upon to participate in philanthropic events.

Progress report

To be eligible for second-year funding, the fellow will be required to submit a report at the completion of year one that includes scientific progress on the project, a list of publications submitted/accepted during the funding period, presentations given, and other relevant professional development activities. The progress report should also describe the recipient's experience with their climb cohort as well as an individual development plan signed by the trainee and his or her research mentor.

Fellowship capstone presentation:

 When the funding period is completed, the Climb to Fight Cancer fellow will give a 30-minute presentation on their fellowship project. This talk will be open to the Fred Hutch community, Climb to Fight Cancer participants, and/or members of the public.

Start Date for Postdoctoral Fellowship

The start date is October 2021.

Application Submission Opened May 3, 2021.

Mentors Play Key Role

The committee recognizes the important role mentors play in the success of their trainees by providing the physical and mental space they need to complete a challenging research project and offering invaluable career develop guidance.

The principal investigator supporting a current or to-be-hired trainee's application for the Climb to Fight Cancer Fellowship is required to provide a one-page letter of support. This document should include the following elements:

  • Resources your trainee can access to successfully complete their proposed project, such as specialized facilities, equipment, and additional sources of funding.
  • A tailored mentoring and career development plan that links directly to the career goals your mentee described in his or her personal statement.

Contact Us For More Information or Questions About the Fellowship.

 For more information or questions about the fellowship, contact Elizabeth Martin, Associate Director of Corporate Engagement