The Mary Kay Ash Foundation is a non-profit public foundation, which focuses on funding research for innovative grants for translational research of cancers affecting women (ovarian, uterine, breast, endometrial or cervical cancer among others). Translational research is broadly defined as research that will provide a scientific link between laboratory research and the clinic. Ultimately, such research would lead to improvement in diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, or treatment of the cancer. Each year the Foundation extends invitations to NCI designated cancer institutes and accredited medical schools to apply. Only one application is accepted per institution.

Grant proposals are reviewed by a Scientific Research Review Committee comprised of notable members of the American medical and scientific community. Grants are awarded up to $100,000 (combined direct and indirect costs) for a two-year period. The Foundation anticipates funding between 10 and 15 grants annually. Grant submissions are typically open from November through February with a final selection made during the month of June.

In order to receive an invitation, a review by the Research Review Committee Chair and approval by the Foundation Board of Directors will be needed to determine if the inquiring institute is an appropriate fit for the grant program.


Dr. Jerry Shay, Ph.D., who has chaired the Research Review Committee for the Mary Kay Ash Foundation Innovative/Translational Cancer Research Grant Program since inception in 1996, also serves as principal investigator for the Mary Kay Ash Foundation’s new international fellowship program.

The new one-year fellowships offer five international postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge cancer research at the world-renowned UT Southwestern Medical Center facility in Dallas and allow them to continue research activity in their native country.

“Expanding the program internationally will allow us to focus on cancers that affect women the most,” Shay said. “We plan to identify a group of dedicated postdoctoral candidates from around the globe, invite them to Dallas, and equip them with all the tools and resources they need to continue their groundbreaking research in our outstanding cancer lab. Their work could have a tremendous impact on how we understand and treat cancers around the world.”