Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

Funding Opportunity Title

Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) in Human Cancers for Years 2015, 2016, and 2017 (P50)

Activity Code

P50 Specialized Center

Announcement Type

Reissue of PAR-14-031

Related Notices
  • December 17, 2015 - Notice of Change to Funding Opportunity PAR-14-353. See Notice NOT-CA-16-013.
  • NOT-OD-16-004 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
  • NOT-OD-16-006 - Simplification of the Vertebrate Animals Section of NIH Grant Applications and Contract Proposals (November 18, 2015)
  • NOT-OD-16-011 - Implementing Rigor and Transparency in NIH & AHRQ Research Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
  • December 17, 2014 - See Notice NOT-OD-15-045. Notice of Action Required by Applicants to PAR-14-353 "Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) in Human Cancers for Years 2015 and 2016 (P50)"
  • October 02, 2014 - See Notice NOT-DE-14-010. Notice of NIDCR’s Participation in PAR-14-353 "Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) in Human Cancers for Years 2015 and 2016 (P50)"
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

PAR-14-353

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.395

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications for P50 Research Center Grants for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs). The program will fund P50 SPORE grants to support state-of-the-art investigator-initiated translational research that will contribute to improved prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of an organ-specific cancer (or a related group of cancers). For the purpose of this funding announcement, cancers derived from the same organ system (i.e., group of organs that perform common function) are considered related. Examples of such organ systems include gastro-intestinal, endocrine, circulatory, and other biological systems. Other programmatically appropriate groups of cancers may include those centered around a common biological mechanism critical for promoting tumorigenesis and/or cancer progression in organ sites that belong to different organ systems.   For example, a SPORE may focus on cancers caused by the same infectious agent, or sustained and promoted by dysregulation of a common signaling pathway. SPOREs are expected not only to conduct a wide spectrum of research activities, but also to contribute significantly to the development of specialized shared resources core facilities, improved research model systems, and collaborative research projects with other institutions. The research supported through this program must be translational in nature and must always be focused upon knowledge of human biology stemming from research using cellular, molecular, structural, biochemical, and/or genetic experimental approaches with the goal of a translational human endpoint within the project period of the grant. In addition, SPOREs must include both a Developmental Research Program for pilot studies and a Career Enhancement Program to foster careers in translational research related to the focus of the SPORE.

Key Dates
Posted Date

September 26, 2014

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

December 27, 2014  

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

30 days before the due date  

Application Due Date(s)

January 27, 2015; May 19, 2015; September 22, 2015; January 27, 2016; May 19, 2016; September 22, 2016; January 27, 2017; May 19, 2017; September 22, 2017 by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on these dates.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

May/June 2015; September/October 2015; January/February 2016; May/June 2016; September/October 2016; January/February 2017; May/June 2017; September/October 2017; January/February 2018   

Advisory Council Review

October 2015; January 2016; May 2016; October 2016; January 2017; May 2017; October 2017; January 2018; May 2018

Earliest Start Date

April 2016; May 2016; July 2016; April 2017; May 2017; July 2017; April 2018; May 2018; July 2018

Expiration Date

New Date September 24, 2017 per issuance of NOT-CA-16-013. (Original Expiration Date: September 23, 2016)  

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

** ELECTRONIC APPLICATION SUBMISSION REQUIRED**

NIH’s new Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST) is available for the electronic preparation and submission of multi-project applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications to this FOA must be submitted electronically; paper applications will not be accepted. ASSIST replaces the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities and provides many features to enable electronic multi-project application submission and improve data quality, including: pre-population of organization and PD/PI data, pre-submission validation of many agency business rules and the generation of data summaries in the application image used for review.

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts) and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

There are several options to submit your application to the agency through Grants.gov. You can use the ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online. Or, you can use other institutional system-to-system solutions to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and track your application in eRA Commons. Learn more.

Problems accessing or using ASSIST should be directed to the eRA Service Desk.
Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications for P50 Research Center Grants for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) in organ-specific or groups of highly related cancers. The FOA targets applicant institutions with demonstrated ability to conduct translational research in the prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and/or treatment of human cancer. Applications may address cancer in any organ site, but each application must be organ site specific or address cancers that are related. Traditionally, these have included leukemias, lymphomas, myelomas, sarcomas, and cancers of brain, breast, gastrointestinal (GI) system, bladder, kidney, cervix, endometrium, head & neck, lung, ovary, pancreas, prostate, skin, oral cavity & pharynx, eye & orbit, and endocrine system. In recent years, applications have been also encouraged when they focus on pathway-driven or other novel cross-cutting themes that have potential for innovation and high scientific impact. Applicants are encouraged to consult with the Translational Research Program (TRP) staff members regarding the focus of their application.

For the SPORE program, the NCI defines translational research as follows:

"Translational research uses knowledge of human biology to develop and test the feasibility of cancer-relevant interventions in humans and/or determines the biological basis for observations made in individuals with cancer or in populations at risk for cancer."

The term "interventions" is used in its broadest sense to include molecular assays, imaging techniques, drugs, biological agents, and/or other methodologies applicable to the prevention, early detection, diagnosis, prognosis, and/or treatment of cancer. SPORE translational research projects may involve the use of any cellular, molecular, structural, biochemical, and/or genetic experimental approaches.

By this definition, SPORE projects are permitted to move not only in the forward direction, toward clinical trials and studies in areas of prevention, early detection, treatment, development of biomarkers, and population science, but also in the reverse direction, using human biospecimens, often from clinical trials, to study new phenomena, to optimize previous findings, or to develop new hypotheses based on results from human studies.

All proposed SPORE projects must be translational. In every SPORE project, the development of new cancer-relevant interventions should include both a laboratory component and a human application that must be performed at some time during the 5-year term of the grant. When human biospecimens are the starting point for SPORE projects, these biospecimens must be used to study the biological basis of observations made in humans. For the purpose of these Guidelines, such human applications are defined as the human endpoints.

At least one of the following types of human endpoints should be proposed in each SPORE research project:  

  • Early phase clinical trials of new investigational drugs and biologics, experimental procedures, medical devices, or combinations thereof, or
  • Early phase clinical trials of new combinations or new uses of the FDA-approved agents and devices, or
  • Discovery and development of biomarkers, only when measurements are made in human specimens, or directly in human subjects, or
  • IND-directed toxicology studies* conducted following a pre-IND meeting with the FDA in which the plan proposed by the investigators is acceptable to the FDA, or
  • Population, behavioral, or psychosocial studies, when these studies address mechanistic aspects of the biology of the disease, or
  • Clinical studies that lead to laboratory studies, which address new clinical hypotheses.

Experiments using cell lines, xenografts, or tumor grafts (using primary human tumors) may be important to the translational studies proposed and are encouraged, but are not sufficient to meet the human endpoint requirement.

Potential applicants are advised to consult with the NCI Scientific/Research staff listed in Section VII. Agency Contactsto clarify whether the proposed aims and research strategy are programmatically appropriate.  

*The TRP realizes that IND-directed toxicology studies do not involve human beings, but as these studies are the last steps before clinical trials begin, they are considered programmatically appropriate as a human endpoint for SPORE translational projects.

The SPORE program fosters highly interactive translational research based on a unique approach with the following characteristics:

  • Focuses solely on translational research, using a team science approach, with at least four scientific projects, containing at least one specific aim that reaches a human end-point within 5 years.
  • In addition to translational research that involves basic research discoveries being applied in the clinic, the SPORE program encourages translational research projects that start with a clinical observation and return to the laboratory to explore the underlying biological mechanisms.
  • Allows flexibility to change research directions during the grant period in order to pursue the most promising projects; research projects that demonstrate little or no translational progress may be terminated and replaced with new projects that have greater translational potential.
  • Encourages projects on early detection, prevention or population science (defined below).
  • Requires collaborations among individual SPORE awardees (inter-SPORE collaborations) and/or collaborations between individual SPOREs and other research programs.
  • Encourages early phase clinical trials and handing off later trials to other mechanisms including industry and other governmental and non-governmental mechanisms.
  • Expects each individual SPORE awardee and the "network" of SPOREs to conduct research that will have the most immediate impact possible on reducing incidence and mortality of human cancer.  

Inherent in this process is the interdependence between investigators conducting basic and applied research. Clinical and/or epidemiological research that does not include a laboratory component or capitalize upon a biological discovery relevant to human cancer is not considered translational for the SPORE.

General Description of SPOREs

In most cases, SPOREs are expected to focus on a particular organ-specific cancer, such as breast or prostate cancer, or a group of related cancers that belong to a common organ system, for example gastro-intestinal cancers, neuroendocrine cancers, or sarcoma. Alternatively, some SPOREs may focus on cancers related by common biological pathway mutations or alterations, or cancers related by other cross-cutting themes, such as pediatric cancers or virally-related cancers. In addition, all SPOREs include the following common features:

1. Translational Research Focus

All SPOREs must be focused on translational research that meets the definition provided above. SPOREs are dedicated to capitalizing on research opportunities that have the potential to change the current paradigm in the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and/or treatment of human cancer. SPORE projects can include some basic science objectives if they are relevant to human cancer and will lead to a human application within the 5-year term of the grant. If a project has lost its translational focus or the likelihood of having an impact on human cancer, it should be discontinued as a SPORE project and replaced by a project with translational focus.

2. Flexibility to Change Research Direction/Team Approach

The flexibility of the SPORE program was established in order for the PD(s)/PI(s) to terminate research projects that demonstrate little or no translational progress and to replace them with new projects that have greater translational potential. New projects may also be substituted for original projects that are completed before the end of the grant period. As a result of this flexibility, the team of scientists that participates in SPORE projects may or may not remain the same, and the roles of co-leaders on projects may change throughout the course of the funding period. The flexibility option may not be used to add full scientific projects over and above the number that was peer reviewed, even if no new funds are requested.

The PD(s)/PI(s) of the SPORE are expected to make decisions about the continuation or discontinuation of projects in consultation with internal and external advisors, as well as with other lead investigators on the SPORE. The flexibility option is available only after the SPORE has been awarded; a new project cannot be proposed for one that has overlap with an awarded or soon-to-be awarded U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) grant. Although it is acceptable for investigators to submit concurrently essentially the same research proposal as a SPORE project and as an independent R01, R21, etc., application to the NIH, they must be prepared to relinquish the R01 (or other single project) award if both are determined to be meritorious and eligible for funding. Investigators may not concurrently submit both a P01 and a P50 application requesting support for the same projects/activities. Potential overlap will be evaluated by NCI staff prior to award; submitted applications will not be reviewed if they do not conform to NIH policies or if they fail to meet the minimum requirements of the SPORE Program.

3. Specialized Research Infrastructure

SPOREs are expected to establish the critical research infrastructure needed to sustain the translational research projects proposed within the SPORE, as well as to promote the horizontal and vertical collaborative projects with other SPOREs and other government and non-government (including industry) supported research groups within the biomedical research community that evolve during the project period. SPOREs must be in a position to facilitate the complex research objectives inherent in studying human cancer.

4. Fostering Translational Research Careers

 SPOREs provide a unique environment for translational research that can be used to prepare new scientists for careers in this evolving field or provide the opportunity for established scientists to re-orient their research careers toward translational research.

5. Research Collaborations, Networks, and Consortia

 SPOREs are expected to identify the kinds of research questions that can only be accomplished through collaborations, networks, and consortia and take full advantage of SPORE scientific expertise and infrastructure. Through the promotion of inter-SPORE research, SPOREs also conceive and initiate research that is further linked to other key programs of the NCI, NIH, and other government and non-government programs. Acceleration along the pathway to the clinic, either directly in the case of therapeutic agent development or indirectly through the various steps of validation in the case of biomarker development, can best be served by two types of collaboration:

  • Horizontal Collaboration: Collaboration in which groups work together coordinately to accomplish a set of research aims or goals on a single level, that is, in the laboratory, or at the clinical trial stage, or as a population clinical study. This is the type of collaboration in which SPOREs have traditionally participated.
  • Vertical Collaboration: Collaboration in which groups work together sequentially, or with some concomitance, to move up the translational research pathway, that is, from discovery, to pre-clinical development, to Phase I trials or studies, to later phase studies, and possibly to a final hand-off to a commercial company.

6. Intellectual Property Rights

Each SPORE must develop an intellectual property management plan (IPMP) which addresses evaluation, protection, and commercialization of solely or jointly owned SPORE inventions, including any patenting and licensing strategies. This plan should address all proposed SPORE projects. Although the IPMP will not be included in the application or evaluated during the peer review process, it must be submitted to NCI program staff prior to award. Therefore, all applicants are strongly encouraged to begin development of their IPMP while they are developing the projects.

The institution should provide a written assurance that it will protect the intellectual property rights arising from inventions of the SPORE investigators and their collaborators; under no circumstances should the institution enter into agreements with commercial entities (e.g., pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies) that would compromise the ability of SPORE investigators to have unhindered access to institutional resources developed in SPORE-related research or participate fully in collaborations with any other researchers. The statement of commitment should also include a written assurance that in its interactions with commercial entities under sponsored research agreements, the SPORE institution(s) will comply with the requirements of the Bayh-Dole Act (37 CFR 401; https://grants.nih.gov/grants/bayh-dole.htm ), the NIH Grants Policy Statement, and any relevant NIH funding agreements while upholding basic principles of academic freedom. Sponsored research agreements with commercial entities should be entered into by the SPORE institution(s) only upon due consideration of the points outlined in "Developing Sponsored Research Agreements: Considerations for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts” (Federal Register, Vol. 59, No. 215; Tuesday, November 8, 1994; pp. 55674-5567).

The IPMP should also include a written assurance that the SPORE institution(s) will manage its interactions with third parties so that they do not restrict the SPORE's ability to receive and disseminate biomedical research materials developed with NIH funding from and to the scientific community. Likewise, letters should be supplied by any relevant third parties (including any external co-investigators, collaborators, or consultants) confirming their adherence to these policies. These letters should outline in detail the agreement made between the commercial entity and the SPORE institution.

Costs related to the patenting and/or licensing of intellectual property may be allowable as F&A costs (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-04-045.html). Applicants should, in developing their IPMP, confer with their institutions’ offices that are responsible for handling technology transfer-related matters and/or sponsored research. Applicants may also wish to independently research and review examples of approaches considered by other institutions, such as those described on the NCI Technology Transfer Branch web site at http://ttb.nci.nih.gov/ipplans.html. Furthermore, applicants are welcome to address inquiries regarding the development of IPMPs directly to the NCI program staff in the Translation Research Program of the NCI.

7. Participation in NCI-Sponsored Meetings and Workshops

 SPORE Directors and selected investigators are expected to participate in NCI-sponsored meetings and workshops to share expertise and research results with other translational grantees funded by NCI mechanisms such as SPOREs, P01s, R01s, U01s, etc. Examples of such meetings/workshops include NCI sponsored organ-site specific workshops. Other goals of these meetings are to share materials, assess progress, and identify new research opportunities as well as to establish research priorities, and collaborations that will reduce incidence, morbidity, and mortality of cancer.

Because of the collaborative nature of the SPORE program, unwillingness or a consistent inability of a PD/PI or SPORE group to attend SPORE-related meetings may be the basis for termination of the grant.

Major Components of SPORE Applications

1. Research Projects

Research projects may be conducted solely through the parent institution, or through collaborative associations that have been developed and/or are planned with other SPOREs and/or with other investigators in the biomedical research community. However, all SPOREs should meet the following criteria:

  • Each proposed project must meet the definition of translational research as described above. Investigators who are not certain about whether their project fits this definition are advised to consult with Scientific/Research staff listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts.
  • Each proposed research project should be designed to test the relevance and/or potential importance of the research to human cancer within the project period of the grant. Projects containing basic research, e.g., employing animal models or cell lines qualify as translational only if a human application is included in the specific aims.
  • SPORE projects should represent a balance and diversity of translational research objectives (e.g., early detection, prevention, diagnosis, treatment). Applications with a specific theme (e.g., gene therapy in prostate cancer) are discouraged.

2. Administrative Core

An Administrative Core is required. This Core now incorporates the elements of the former Program Organization and Capabilities (POC) component and describes the SPORE's organization and capabilities, including the organizational, administrative, and scientific management of the SPORE and explains how coordination and communication among the different projects and programs, shared resources Cores and participating institutions will be achieved at the overall program level.

3. Shared Resource Cores

SPORE applications must include a biospecimen/pathology shared resource Core and may include other shared resources Cores that provide laboratory and/or clinical facilities, equipment, and/or services to be shared by one or more research projects and the developmental programs. Clinical and Biostatistical Cores are strongly encouraged. Shared resource Cores may include non–hypothesis-driven research activities provided that the research is designed to improve Core services.

The shared resource Cores within the SPORE should not duplicate any shared resource facilities that are already available to the research group.

4. Developmental Research Program (DRP)

 Each SPORE must allocate a significant effort to support pilot projects that take maximum advantage of new research opportunities in the organ site or group of related cancers that are the focus of the SPORE. The pilot projects may be collaborative among scientists within one or more SPOREs, or with scientists outside the SPORE community including the international scientific community. High risk/high payoff pilot projects are especially encouraged. These pilot projects do not need to reach a human endpoint during the project period as do full projects.

As a required component of a SPORE, a DRP must be maintained throughout the entire term of the grant. With the approval of the SPORE’s External Advisory Board and the NCI TRP Program Director, DRP studies may become full projects as part of the flexibility option as long as they have translational research potential within the SPORE.

5. Career Enhancement Program (CEP)

 The SPORE must demonstrate a consistent and significant commitment to a career enhancement program (CEP) in translational research. As a required element of the SPORE, the CEP must be maintained throughout the entire term of the funding period. Funds from this program may be used to support junior faculty or established investigators who wish to enhance or refocus their careers on translational research. This program is not a training program and does not support pre- or post-doctoral fellows, either pre-clinical or clinical. However, advanced post-doctoral or clinical fellows who provide a letter from an institution stating that the candidate will be joining its faculty within the year are eligible for this program. Investigators supported by NCI career development awards (K series) may also be eligible for support through this program.

6. Scientific Collaboration (SC)

Each SPORE must demonstrate a commitment to both horizontal and vertical collaboration in completing preclinical projects and moving promising results along the pathway of translational/clinical development. However, not every project within a SPORE must involve collaborations.

Pre-application Communications with NCI Staff

Each prospective SPORE applicant is strongly advised to schedule a pre-application consultation with Scientific/Research staff. The consultation should be scheduled at least 4 to 6 months in advance of the application due date and is intended to help the PD/PI (along with one or more of his/her intended co-investigators) understand the Program and its translational objectives, and discuss strategies for preparing a competitive application. NCI staff will clarify SPORE requirements and current NCI budget allocations, and describe the peer-review process. The NCI staff can also answer questions about NCI-supported clinical trial and other collaborative resources that might be available beyond the funded activities of the SPORE. The following are examples of items that NCI staff find most helpful to guide applicants during pre-application discussions:

  • A brief description (1-2 pages) of the proposed translational research projects, along with their specific aims and the names of project co-leaders;
  • A brief description of the background and proposed responsibilities of the SPORE PD(s)/PI(s) and key senior leaders of the SPORE, including their biosketches;
  • A diagram showing the proposed reporting, programmatic, and advisory structure of the SPORE and how it relates to the structure of the institution as a whole; and
  • A list of active peer-reviewed research grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts that form the research base of the scientific leaders of the SPORE.

PDs/PIs for resubmitted and renewal applications have also found it useful to schedule a pre-application discussion with TRP staff, since program and review policies may have changed since the previous submission.

Requests for supplemental funding for SPOREs are rare and may be awarded only in unusual and compelling circumstances. Those awardees who wish to submit such an application are encouraged to speak first with their Program Officer at the TRP.  

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed

New
Renewal
Resubmission
Revision

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Approximately 8-12 SPORE awards per year are anticipated.

Award Budget

Applicants may request a maximum of $2,300,000 total costs/year. The facilities and administrative (F&A) costs related to subcontracts to other institutions or organizations as well as the grantee organization are included in the total cost cap of $2,300,000.  Please note that in accordance with NIH Policy NOT-OD-12-036, cost of living escalations are not allowed.

Applications that include one or more qualified Early Detection, Prevention, or Population Science (qualified EPPS) project(s) may request additionally up to $200,000 total cost/year to support this project (these projects). 

Award Project Period

The maximum period is 5 years.  

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

For-Profit Organizations

  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)

Governments

  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)
  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

  • Independent School Districts
  • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations
Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are allowed.

U.S. institutions may propose consortium agreements with foreign institutions as long as the appropriate federal-wide assurances for the protection of human subjects are in place (see http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/) and the activities at the foreign site(s) do not exceed 49 percent of the direct costs of the overall budget.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons.If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Minimum Research Base: In order for a SPORE application to be accepted for review by NCI, the application must include four or more independent investigators who currently serve as PDs/PIs (or project leaders) on peer-reviewed research grants (e.g., R01, R21, P01, U01, U10, American Cancer Society (ACS), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), or equivalent) or are overall chairpersons or site chairpersons on an active clinical trial sponsored by the NCI Clinical Trials Network (formerly known as Cooperative Groups) or committees.  All these activities must be directly related to the cancer(s) being investigated or the specific expertise required for the project. PDs/PIs supported by the NCI’s non-mentored “K” career development grants or the R00 portion of the K99/R00 award can also be included in the research base requirement if the career award is directly relevant to the cancer or related group of cancers being investigated in the SPORE. Please note that an investigator who is a PD/PI on multiple qualified grants or clinical trials counts only once towards the research base and, in order to qualify, the investigator must be the PD/PI  on the highlighted activity. The qualifying investigators also must have a significant role on the SPORE (i.e., a minimum of 0.6 CM level of effort contributed as a project co-leader or Core director); they cannot only serve as mentors within the proposed Career Enhancement Program or be the project leader of a proposed Developmental Research project.    

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct, proposed in different cancer sites, and are led by different PDs/PIs. A single investigator may participate in more than one SPORE as long as there is no scientific overlap.

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).

In addition, the NIH will not accept a resubmission (A1) application that is submitted later than 37 months after submission of the new (A0) application that it follows.  The NIH will accept submission:

  • To an RFA of an application that was submitted previously as an investigator-initiated application but not paid;
  • Of an investigator-initiated application that was originally submitted to an RFA but not paid; or
  • Of an application with a changed grant activity code.
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants can access the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

Most applicants will use NIH’s ASSIST system to prepare and submit applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications prepared and submitted using applicant systems capable of submitting electronic multi-project applications to Grants.gov will also be accepted.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise and where instructions in the Application Guide are directly related to the Grants.gov downloadable forms currently used with most NIH opportunities. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Letter of Intent

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Igor A. Kuzmin, Ph.D.

Translational Research Program (TRP)
Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-5684
Fax: 240-276-7881
Email: kuzmini@mail.nih.gov

Page Limitations

Component Types Available in ASSIST

Research Strategy/Program Plan Page Limits

Overall

30

Admin Core

12

Core (use for Shared Resources Cores which includes Biospecimen/Pathology Core and Other Cores)

12 pages each

Project (use for Research Projects)

12 pages each

Dev Res Prog (use for Developmental Research Program (DRP))

12

Career Enh Prog (use for Career Enhancement Program (CEP))

12

Additional page limits described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Instructions for the Submission of Multi-Component Applications

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, and should be used for preparing a multi-component application.

Revision applications must include an Overall component and the components that are affected by the revision. Therefore, the component requirements listed below may not apply to the revision application.

The application should consist of the following components:

  • Overall: required
  • Administrative Core: required
  • Research Project: minimum of four required
  • Shared Resources Core:
  • Biospecimen/Pathology Core: required
  • Other Cores: optional
  • Developmental Research Program (DRP): required
  • Career Enhancement Program (CEP): required
Overall Component

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Overall’.

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Overall)

Complete entire form.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement  (Overall)

Note: Human Embryonic Stem Cell lines from other components should be repeated in cell line table in Overall component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Overall)

Follow standard instructions.

Project Summary/Abstract: Provide overall goals/abstract/summary for the entire SPORE application.

Project Narrative: In the "Project Narrative", the relevance of the SPORE's research to public health should be stated.

Facilities and Other Resources: Provide a description of all resources available for the entire SPORE. 

Other Attachments: The following "Other Attachments" should be included with the overall component in order to aid in the review of applications.  The filename provided for each attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image.

  • Tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts relevant to the Overall component, including the SC section.

Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Overall)

Enter primary site only.

A summary of Project/Performance Sites in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Overall)

Include only the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) and any multi-PDs/PIs (if applicable to this FOA) for the entire application. If an applicant's institution is associated with an NCI-designated Cancer Center, the SPORE PD/PI should hold a senior position in the Cancer Center.  Alternatively, if this position is not currently held, such a position should  be taken on after the NCI SPORE funding is secured. The PD/PI's prominent role in the Cancer Center is expected to facilitate interactions between the SPORE and Cancer Center. The PD(s)/PI(s) of the SPORE may be the Cancer Center Director.

A summary of Senior/Key Persons followed by their Biographical Sketches in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons will be generated upon submission.

Budget (Overall)

The only budget information included in the Overall component is the Estimated Project Funding section of the SF424 (R&R) Cover.  

A budget summary in the Overall section of the assembled application image in eRA Commons compiled from detailed budget data collected in the other components will be generated upon submission.

PHS 398 Research Plan          (Overall)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is required in the Overall component.

Specific Aims: Succinctly list the specific objectives and goals of the SPORE as a whole. Summarize the expected outcomes(s) of the SPORE as a whole, including the impact that the results of the proposed translational research will have on prevention, early detection, diagnosis and/or treatment of organ-site specific cancer.      

Research Strategy: Organize the overall Research Strategy section in the specified order and using the instructions provided below. Start each section with the appropriate section heading: Overall Significance, Overall Innovation, and Overall Approach. Preliminary studies (for new applications) and overall progress (for renewal applications) should be included in this section as well. This section should be used to discuss the overall translational strategies that will be employed in the SPORE to reach human endpoints within the project period. In addition, discuss planned activities relating to scientific collaboration. PDs/PIs of renewal applications should succinctly address the most significant translational research achievements in the current funding period of support, including results that were the basis of further movement across translational and clinical trial programs, and their potential impact on human cancer. Renewal applications should also discuss the use of the SPORE’s flexibility to drop projects that are not meeting translational research milestones or have been completed successfully and replacement of those projects with new, promising projects during the current funding award period. Applications may discuss all the projects together for overall significance, innovation and approach for the SPORE, or discuss each project separately.

Overall Significance

Explain the importance of the proposed translational goals, including the overarching problems or critical barriers to translational progress in the organ site(s) that the proposed SPORE addresses.

Explain how the SPORE as a whole will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in prevention, detection, diagnosis or treatment of cancer in the specific organ site(s).

Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventive interventions that drive translational research for the organ site(s) will be changed if the overall aims are achieved.

Overall Innovation

Explain how the overall SPORE challenges and seeks to shift current translational research or clinical practice paradigms.

Summarize novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or intervention(s) to be developed or used in the projects and/or shared resources Cores.

Summarize how the SPORE as a whole will refine, improve, or provide new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions in translational cancer research.

Overall Approach

Summarize the global strategies, methodologies, and analyses that will be used to accomplish the overall specific aims and objectives of the SPORE.

Address potential problems, alternative strategies and benchmarks for success in achieving the aims of the overall SPORE.

Explain how the SPORE as a whole will establish strategies to enhance feasibility and manage high risk aspects of the work, particularly if any of the proposed projects or aims in the shared resources Cores are in the early stages of development.

Discuss the collaboration of applied researchers (e.g., clinical researchers, epidemiologists) with basic investigators in the design and implementation of translational research that is most likely to have an impact on human cancer.

Explain how the proposed research projects, developmental research and career enhancement programs, and shared resources Cores will, together, address the overall goals and aims of the SPORE more effectively than if the projects were done independently.

Explain how each shared resources Core is justified and will provide centralized high quality services to the SPORE as a whole and produce an economy of effort and/or save overall costs compared to each project in the SPORE performing its own tests, assays, animal derivations, clinical studies, etc. 

Preliminary Studies

Summarize the preliminary studies that led to developing the SPORE application. More detailed preliminary studies sections should be included in the individual research projects and shared resources Cores.

Scientific Collaboration

Information related to scientific collaborations must be provided within the Overall (Program Overview) component. This section of the Overall was formerly an independent component. Succinctly address the following:

  • Horizontal Collaboration: Describe the nature, logistics, timelines, milestones, agreements and/or any other pertinent aspects of planned, ongoing, and completed collaborations that the SPORE has entered into for projects and developmental programs in which groups work together to accomplish a set of research aims. Discussion of barriers to collaboration and the process for overcoming obstacles in achieving goals are appropriate in this section. The specific role of SPORE leadership in initiating and implementing successful collaborations should be discussed here instead of in the Administrative Core. Specific discussion of scientific data and conclusions reached from experimental results should be included in the individual research projects and developmental program sections.
  • Vertical Collaboration: Describe the planned, ongoing, or completed integration of scientific achievements from the SPORE across NCI-sponsored clinical trial mechanisms (grant, cooperative agreements, and contracts), and other government and non-government mechanisms in order to rapidly and seamlessly move promising translational concepts from the bench to the bedside and beyond into clinical practice.
  • Applicants should describe potential collaborative arrangements for developing therapeutics, and biomarkers and for expanding population and cancer prevention studies beyond the limits of the SPORE, should early clinical studies prove to be successful. First renewal applications that have not yet reached the 5-year period in which they must show a human endpoint should give a timeline with milestones of where each project is on the translational continuum and what collaborative arrangements, if any, will be made if the SPORE studies are successful. Second renewal applications should demonstrate a successful model of collaborative translational research and clinical studies using Phase I/II Consortia, the Clinical Trials Support Unit (https://www.ctsu.org/public), the NCI Clinical Trials Network (formerly known as Cooperative Groups), pharmaceutical industry collaboration, and/or other types of vertical collaboration. Describe the role of SPORE leaders in the successful hand-off of promising SPORE projects that were ready for the next step on the translational/clinical development pathway.
  • First-time SPORE applications, which are not expected to have accomplished collaborative studies, and renewal applications where the previous competitive application did not fall under these requirements, are nonetheless expected to set out plans for any future horizontal and vertical collaborations for direct translational projects that will eventually reach a clinical study and for translational projects in the reverse direction, such as projects in biomarker discovery, that will eventually require analytical and clinical validation. The plans for scientific collaborations may not be applicable to every research project.
  • Renewal applications should describe planned, ongoing, and/or completed horizontal collaborative projects and programs with set milestones and explain how the joint effort(s) will further the translational goals of the SPORE. In addition, the application should describe the efforts, arrangements, or the milestones toward, and the accomplishments of, any vertical collaborations where promising SPORE results (that are ready for the next step in the translational pathway continuum) are handed off to other NCI-supported clinical trial mechanisms or to other governmental or non-governmental mechanisms. Where appropriate, other types of collaborative arrangements to advance favorable results to the clinic should also be described. These arrangements might include separate multi-institutional grants or contracts specifically for the continued development of SPORE concepts; Collaborative Research and Development Agreements with industry; or any other types of collaborative work that ultimately benefits patients

Progress Report (for Renewal Applications)

For renewal applications, summarize the major achievements of the overall SPORE in the current funding period. More detailed progress reports should be included in the individual research projects, developmental programs, and shared resources Cores. Discuss new research opportunities that have arisen from SPORE research in the current funding period. If an overall major scientific achievement of one or more collaborative studies has emerged during the current funding period it should be described in detail in the SC section within the Overall component, including the nature, logistics, and milestones, of moving the SPORE research across translational and clinical trial mechanisms. Specific scientific data of the collaborations within each project should be included under individual research projects.

Explain any significant changes to the program during the current funding period, including the use of the SPORE “flexibility option”, and any new directions proposed in the new funding period. For renewal and resubmission applications, include new, continuing, completed, and discontinued projects, indicating the previous number/letter of each component, as a summary of changes in the SPORE since the last review. Explain the decision to discontinue or substantially modify previous projects or shared resources Cores and/or to propose new projects or shared resources Cores, and how that affects the overall SPORE. Discuss how recommendations of the External Advisory Board, Internal Advisory Board (if proposed), and the SPORE leadership have influenced the modification, discontinuation, or initiation of any projects or shared resources Cores.

Discuss any opportunity or problems that arose in moving a discovery forward for commercialization during the past funding period. Report any patent or licensing activities related to the translational research supported by the SPORE.

Progress Report Publication List: The publications and accepted manuscripts, which have resulted from projects that are not being continued in this application and that cite the SPORE grant, conducted during the current funding period should be included here. Using an asterisk, mark each listed publication if it is a result of formal collaborations among different projects within the SPORE, with other SPOREs, or with other funded NCI networks, such as the NCI Clinical Trials Network (formerly known as Cooperative Groups) or the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). For publicly available citations, PMC submission identification numbers (PMCID), if required, should accompany the full reference. Publications resulting from projects that are continuing in the proposed application should be included within each Research Project component section.  Copies of these publications should not be included as appendix material.

Multi-PD/PI Leadership Plan: A Leadership Plan is required for applications designating multiple SPORE PDs/PIs. The Leadership Plan should describe a rationale for choosing a multiple-PD/PI approach. Additionally, the governance and organizational structure of the leadership team and the research projects should be described, including the administrative, technical, and scientific responsibilities of the SPORE PDs/PIs; the process for making decisions on scientific direction and allocation of resources; procedures for resolving conflicts; data sharing and communication plans; fiscal and management coordination; and publication and intellectual property policies. For more background information on the Multi-PD/PI initiative, see: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/multi_pi/index.htm.   

Letters of Support: Attach letters of support here that are relevant to the overall application, including the SC section. The letter of commitment from the host institution should describe the integration and synergies between the institutional resources and those of the overall SPORE and its components. The letter must be addressed to either the SPORE PD(s)/PI(s) or the NCI and must be signed by one of the institution's leaders. If the host institution is associated with an NCI-designated Cancer Center, a separate letter of commitment from the Cancer Center should describe the integration and synergies between the Cancer Center resources and those of the overall SPORE and its components, and delineate organizational relationships and responsibilities between the SPORE and the NCI-designated Cancer Center. If the SPORE PD/PI does not hold a prominent position within the Cancer Center, the letter should describe the future authority of the SPORE PD/PI within the Cancer Center once the NCI SPORE funding is obtained. The letter must be addressed to either the SPORE PD/PI or the NCI and must be signed by the Cancer Center Director.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.   

Research Project

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ‘Project ’

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Research Project)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project, starting with "Project 1:", "Project 2:", etc.
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Research Project)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Research Project)

Human Subjects: Answer only the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

Vertebrate Animals:  Answer only the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

Project Narrative:  State the relevance of the Research Project's activities to public health.

Project /Performance Site Location(s) Research Project)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Research Project)

  • The project must have at least one basic and one clinical/applied co-leader.  In the PD/PI section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other (Specify)’ and designate the role under 'Other Project Role Category' as ‘Basic or Clinical co-leader’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
  • For other co-leaders, in the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, use Project Role of ‘Other (Specify)’ and provide the role under 'Other Project Role Category' as ‘Basic or Clinical co-leader’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
  • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list other Senior/Key persons that are involved in the Research Project and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
  • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person listed in the application regardless of the number of components in which they participate. When a Senior/Key person is involved in multiple components, the Biographical Sketch can be included only in one component.
  • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used   

Budget (Research Project)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

Budgets are also required for each consortium (subcontract) if they are part of any projects.

Each project must include both basic and applied/clinical scientist co-leaders who will use their combined expertise to design and implement the project. Each co-leader must commit individually to a minimum of 0.6 calendar months (CM) of effort. It is not necessary that the co-leaders commit equal amount to the project.

Applications that include one or more qualified Early Detection, Prevention, or Population Science (qualified EPPS) project(s) may request additionally up to $200,000 total cost/year per grant for each of 5 years to support this project (these projects). These additional funds must be requested only in the budget(s) of qualified EPPS project(s).If an application has more than one EPPS project, the applicant may divide up to $200,000 among the EPPS projects and should specify in the budget sections the amount for each project. The request for additional funding must be justified on the project Budget Justification page. For definitions of qualified EPPS projects, see Section IV under subtitle PHS 398 Research Plan (Research Project), Specific Aims. The Program and review provide final determination of the eligibility and appropriateness of each qualified EPPS budget request. 

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan          (Research Project)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is required in the research project component. Summarize your response to the reviewer's critique of the previous application.

Specific Aims: State concisely the translational goals of the proposed Research Project and summarize the expected translational outcomes(s), including the impact that the results of the Research Project will exert on the human disease site(s) involved. List succinctly the specific objectives of the Research Project, e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, to generate new hypotheses relevant to translational research, to solve a specific problem that has yet been unsolved in the field, to challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, to address any critical barrier(s) to progress in the field of translational cancer research, or to develop new technologies, detection methods, or biomarkers appropriate for testing in human cancer patients or populations at risk for cancer. At least one specific aim must address a human endpoint.

Only Phase I and early Phase II clinical trials (generally non-randomized, small accrual (<100), investigating the activity of agent(s) in a particular disease) may be supported by funds from the SPORE program. SPOREs are strongly encouraged to establish collaborative clinical trial activities across NCI-funded mechanisms early in the development of projects that have clinical trials/studies as their goals.

For multicenter, randomized Phase II therapeutic trials (>100 patients), SPOREs wishing to collaborate as an inter-SPORE endeavor or with investigators funded by other grant mechanisms, should use the appropriate NCI Disease Specific Steering Committees and their Task Forces (http://restructuringtrials.cancer.gov/steering/overview) working together to develop clinical concepts from early SPORE trials that could move forward, beyond SPORE grant support, to the NCI Clinical Trials Network (NCTN; formerly known as Cooperative Groups). Collaborative trials using this opportunity may also include correlative studies. However, correlative studies associated with an NCTN trial may be supported within a SPORE project.

It should be noted that a clinical trial may not be the goal of many SPORE projects. Some projects will reach a human endpoint by using human specimens in the laboratory to expand upon observations made in the clinic, a process known as “reverse translation.” However, when biomarker studies are ready for clinical trials, SPOREs are encouraged to collaborate with trans-NCI clinical trial mechanisms to validate the biomarkers clinically

Note: SPORE applications may include qualified Early Detection, Prevention, or Population Science (EPPS) projects. If a particular component is proposed as qualified EPPS project, the applicant must provide a statement in the Specific Aims section of that component confirming its EPPS designation. Specific programmatic requirements pertaining to qualified EPPS projects are set forth in the following definitions:

  • Early Detection: An early detection project is one that develops and/or tests an assay (biological or imaging) that determines the presence of an early invasive cancer or detects a pre-cancerous lesion, for which a subsequent intervention is established or for which an experimental intervention will be performed.  This includes early detection of a new primary in a “cancerized field” (an area of epithelium surrounding an excised or treated primary tumor that contains genetically transformed, but histologically normal cells that are predisposed, perhaps because of continual carcinogenic insult, to subsequent tumor development.) Testing for metastases or recurrence of the primary tumor is not early detection.  Although screening and early detection are sometimes used interchangeably, screening is the application of the assay in general populations and is beyond the scope of a SPORE project.
  • Prevention: A prevention project investigates a medical, surgical, or lifestyle intervention that has as its aim the reduction of cancer incidence in individuals at risk.  A project that addresses the prevention of a second primary tumor is also appropriate.  A project that addresses prevention of cancer recurrence is not acceptable.  A therapeutic vaccine in a no-evidence-of-disease state would not be considered secondary prevention, but rather a therapeutic intervention (i.e., adjuvant therapy.)  However, a project that develops a vaccine that targets “at risk” lesions (e.g., pancreatic cysts, Barrett’s esophagus or DCIS) is appropriate.

Population Science: Population science, in general, aims to understand the causes and distribution of cancer in diverse populations, supports the development and delivery of effective interventions to reduce cancer risk, mortality and morbidity, as well as social cost of cancer, and monitors and explains cancer trends in all segments of the population. A population science project specifically in the SPORE may focus on study participants selected from sampling frames drawn from the general population, individuals at risk for cancer, or cancer patients. Unlike clinical trials with their specific inclusion criteria, population studies should be sufficiently representational to allow for substantial external validity, i.e., generalized inferences to the target populations in the studies. Likewise, population studies that focus on biomarker discovery and/or validation may not draw on specimens from convenience samples, such as a case series of highly selected patients, but instead must be drawn from a sampling frame that represents the target population under study and must be based on samples that allow for inferences to the target populations. SPORE Population Science project may draw upon already existing population science resources or may develop new cohorts in order to examine a specific translational research question in collaboration with basic, clinical, and population science investigators. An example of a project fitting the definition would be a study to validate the potential for biomarkers to predict the progression of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to invasive cancer that uses a sampling frame of women undergoing routine breast cancer screening drawn from clinical practice. However, a project focused on biomarker discovery of DCIS that is based on tissue samples drawn from a case series of patients (particularly as part of a single clinical study) and who are not representative of the target population for breast cancer screening would not be appropriate.

  • For each qualified EPPS project, there must be a laboratory element addressing relevant mechanistic aspects of human cancer biology.  The project may involve genetic, epidemiological, behavioral, social, applied, and surveillance studies.

If an existing qualified EPPS project is discontinued before expiration of the SPORE project period and a substitute project is not qualified as an EPPS project, the grantee will lose the additional EPPS funds for the remaining term of the SPORE award.

Research Strategy: Organize the Research Strategy, using the instructions given below, including the Preliminary Studies (for New Projects) and Progress Report (for Renewal Applications). Start each section with the appropriate section heading. Experimental details should be cited using the Bibliography and References Cited section and need not be detailed in the Research Strategy.

NOTE: Provide clear and specific cross references to information in other sections of the application (such as the Personal Statement in the Biosketches; power calculations or recruitment and retention strategies for participants in clinical trials in the Human Subjects section; or methods for derivation of animal strains or power calculations for animal experiments in the Vertebrate Animals section). In cases where the applicant wishes to provide a short video clip as part of the application, a hyperlink must not be included. A short video of not more than 25MB may be included in a CD and sent to the Scientific Review Officer. A few selected “still shots” from the video may be incorporated into the application under preliminary studies or methods, or wherever it is most appropriate, with clear references to the full video.  Additional information on including video content in NIH applications can be found at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-12-141.html.  

a) Significance

  • Explain the importance of the problem or the critical barrier to progress in translational cancer research that the proposed project addresses.
  • Explain how the proposed translational science project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in the organ site(s) studied.
  • Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventive interventions that drive organ site research will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved.

b) Innovation

  • Explain how the project challenges and seeks to shift current translational research or clinical practice paradigms.
  • Describe any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or intervention(s) to be developed or used, and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation or intervention(s)
  • Explain any refinements, improvements, or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions

c) Approach

  • Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted.
  • Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the specific stated aims and the overall aim of reaching a human end-point within the five year funding period.
  • If the project is in the early stages of development, describe any strategy to establish feasibility, and address the management of any high risk aspects of the proposed work.
  • Point out any procedures, situations, or materials that may be hazardous to personnel and precautions to be exercised.

Preliminary Studies for New Projects: For new projects, include information on Preliminary Studies as part of the Approach section. Discuss the preliminary studies, data, and/or experience of the co-leaders of the project that are pertinent to the project. Discuss any preliminary plans for vertical and/or horizontal collaborations in the SC section of the Overall component.

Progress Report for Renewal Applications: For renewal applications, provide a Progress Report as part of the Approach section. Provide the beginning and ending dates for the period covered since the last competitive review.

Summarize the specific aims of the previous project period and the importance of the findings, and emphasize the progress made toward their achievement. For completed aims, state whether the work will be continued outside the SPORE through another trans-NCI funded mechanism or other non-NCI funded mechanisms and refer to the Overall component (SC section) where this will be more fully described. Explain any significant changes to the specific aims and any new directions that will be taken.

Progress Report Publication List (for Renewal Applications): List all publications and accepted manuscripts resulting from previously funded project(s) that are being continued and which cite the SPORE grant. Using an asterisk, mark each listed publication if it is a result of formal collaborations among different projects within the SPORE, with other SPOREs, or with other funded NCI networks, such as the NCI Clinical Trials Network (formerly known as Cooperative Groups) or the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). For publicly available citations, PMC submission identification numbers (PMCID), if required, should accompany the full reference.  Copies of these publications should not be included as appendix material.

Letters of Support: Attach appropriate letters specific to the project detailing the nature and extent of participation. The letter of commitment from the host institution should describe the integration and synergies between the institutional resources and those of the SPORE project

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide:

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

A copy of a draft or Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved clinical trial protocol, along with informed consent forms and a specific data and safety monitoring (DSM) plan, are required and should be included in the Appendix if the trial is already underway or is anticipated to begin within the first 2 years of an award. If the trial will be performed during the latter part of the grant term, submission of these items to NCI program staff is required prior to the initiation of the trial.

Planned Enrollment Report  (Research Project)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report (Research Project)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

Administrative Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type 'Admin Core'.

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Administrative Core)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project: Administrative Core
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Administrative Core)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Administrative Core)

Human Subjects: Answer the questions ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’

Vertebrate Animals: Answer the question ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’

Project Narrative: State the relevance of the Administrative Core's activities to public health.

Facilities and Other Resources:

If the SPORE will benefit from a funded institutional, local, state, or national resource/consortium, the funded resource should be described in the application.

Statement of Institutional Commitment: An institution applying for a SPORE grant should demonstrate a commitment to the proposed SPORE's stability and success. The application must provide a statement of commitment that includes a plan addressing how the institutional commitment will be established and sustained, how the institution will maintain accountability for promoting scientific excellence, and how the SPORE research effort will be given a high priority within the institution (relative to other research efforts). The institutional commitment may be in the form of support for recruitment of scientific talent, providing protected time for physicians, assignment of specialized research space, cost sharing of resources, and/or other ways proposed by the applicant institution. Letters from a high-level institution official(s) (e.g., Dean of the School of Medicine, President, and Vice President for Research) and the Cancer Center Director should be attached confirming this commitment. In the case of a SPORE that involves two or more institutions, the applicant institution must submit a formal written agreement(s) from the other participant organization(s) that states how the participating institution will commit to the SPORE.

For a SPORE application originating from an institution that is supported by an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30), a list of existing Cancer Center Cores that will be shared with the SPORE should be provided, along with a brief description of each that includes staffing, commitments and capabilities and any fees waived for its use. Where practical, use should be made of the Internal Review Board, Data and Safety Monitoring Board (s), as well as clinical resources available throughout the Cancer Center. Whenever there is dependence on Institute-wide Core Resources, a letter of agreement from the Core Director should be included.

The primary institution (as well as any participating institutions) is strongly encouraged to demonstrate commitment by providing financial support to the Developmental Research and Career Enhancement Programs on an awarded SPORE, as well as to other programmatic needs identified as high priority in the application. The institution(s) is also encouraged to provide the SPORE PD/PI with discretionary funds. These funds can be used to support anticipated as well as unanticipated activities during the funding period. All financial commitments made by the institution to the SPORE will be monitored and are expected to be maintained during the entire term of the award.

Other Attachments:  The following "Other Attachments" should be included with the application. The filename provided for each attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image.

  • Tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts relevant to the Administrative Core

Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Administrative Core)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Administrative Core)

  • In the PD/PI section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Lead’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the Credential field.
  • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that have an involvement in the Core and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the 'Credential' field.
  • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person involved in this component.  When a Senior/Key person is involved in multiple components, it is only necessary to attach his/her biographical sketch to just one of the components.
  • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.

Budget (Administrative Core)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

The SPORE PD/PI (or at least one of the SPORE PD/PIs in multiple PD/PI applications) is expected to serve as Core Lead of the Administrative Core with minimum effort of 0.6 CM. If multiple PDs/PIs serve as co-Core Leads, each must devote a minimum effort of 0.6 CM. The minimum total effort for the PD/PI on a SPORE grant is 2.4 CM. If the SPORE application is submitted as a multiple PD/PI application, each PD/PI must commit a minimum of 2.4 CM. The minimum of 2.4 CM time commitment should be an aggregate of efforts in different components.

Budgets are also required for each consortium (subcontract) if they are part of the Administrative Core.

The budget may include a request of up to $50,000 to be used as discretionary funds. Budgets for costs to cover the travel of (up to) 10 investigators per SPORE to NCI sponsored meetings/workshops and NCI-related activities, and allowable advocate-associated costs should be included. Any costs related to advisory board meetings should be included. Funds should not be requested for participation in grant review meetings, special emphasis panels, and other evaluation groups where reimbursement derives from other sources.

Budget Justification. In Personnel Justification section, discuss the time commitment of the PD(s)/PI(s) for the overall successful conduct of the SPORE.  

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Administrative Core)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is required in the Administrative Core component.  Summarize your response to the reviewers' critique of the previous application.

Specific Aims: Succinctly describe the list of specific objectives and goals of the Administrative Core.

Research Strategy: Succinctly address the following items:

Leadership:  Detail the plans for the organizational, administrative, and scientific management (both basic and clinical research) of the SPORE program. Describe and/or diagram the chain of authority for decision making and administration within the program. Leadership with respect to initiating, facilitating, and implementing successful translational/clinical research collaborations should be discussed in the SC section of the Overall component.

Administrative Management: Describe the plans for the fiscal management, clerical support, manuscript preparation and compliance to NIH public access policy (PMCID), and meeting organizations.  Quality control and communication aspects of the grant, particularly if more than one institution is involved in the SPORE should be discussed.  A succession plan should be included which describes the process by which new leadership will be selected in the event that the SPORE PD(s)/PI(s) is no longer willing or able to lead the SPORE. A statement of commitment to attend NCI sponsored meetings/workshops and NCI-related activities should also be included.

Integration within SPORE and the Institution: Provide a narrative  how the SPORE integrates with existing Cancer Center/institutional resources (e.g., use of clinical data and safety management systems, biostatistics Cores, etc.) Explain how coordination and communication among the different projects and programs, shared resources Cores and participating institutions will be achieved at the overall program level. [Note: SPORE projects are not required to interact with each other.]

Cancer Patient Population: Each SPORE must document access to a substantial patient population for the organ site or group of related cancers that are the focus of the application and provide reasonable assurance that the patients and human specimens needed for translational research are readily available. If the appropriate patient population is not available at the applicant institution, a consortium agreement may be established with a different institution(s) to provide adequate access to clinical specimens and/or patients. Describe the access to cancer patients and populations for conducting current and projected therapeutic, prevention, detection, and control research within the SPORE and collaborating institutions. For renewal applications, document the accomplished translational goals, including evidence of human subject enrollment on clinical/population research studies during the past funding period.

Data Management: Describe the development and use of bioinformatics capabilities of the SPORE as they relate to the Cancer Center, institution, or activities of other NIH/NCI initiatives for overall data management.

Planning and Evaluation Activities: Discuss the planning and evaluation of SPORE activities, e.g., the evaluation of the translational research productivity of existing projects and shared resources Cores, the process for the discontinuation of projects of low productivity and their replacement with new, more promising projects, and the initiation of activities in response to important translational research opportunities. Describe the establishment of the required External Advisory Board and the recommended Internal Advisory Board (if proposed). Either list the membership or describe areas of expertise for each group, as well as the role of each group in planning and evaluation processes.

Interaction between the SPORE and NCI-designated Cancer Center: If a SPORE application originates from an institution that is supported by an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG; P30), the following are also expected:

  •  The SPORE must be an integral part of the Cancer Center and the lines of authority should be clearly indicated. 
  • The applicant should discuss how the SPORE will interact synergistically with existing P30 programs and their resources in order to maximize both SPORE and Cancer Center research objectives. While the SPORE is expected to become an integral element within the NCI-designated Cancer Center, a distinct institutional commitment to the SPORE must still be maintained throughout the term of the SPORE grant.
  • The proposed Cores within the SPORE should not duplicate any available facility already in place and supported by another granting mechanism (e.g., P30, P01, U01, U10, DOD, etc.). Applicants may, however, augment pre-existing Cancer Center or institutional resources in order to direct these activities toward more effective fulfillment of the requirements of the SPORE. For example, the SPORE should use the Cancer Center-specific IRB(s) and DSMB(s) as well as other clinical trial resources, whenever possible.

If applicable, renewal applications should detail how discretionary budget funds were spent during the current funding period.

Letters of Support: Attach appropriate letters relevant to the Administrative Core detailing the nature and extent of participation.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans [Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)] as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Planned Enrollment Report  (Administrative Core)

Not Applicable

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report (Administrative Core)

Not Applicable

Shared Resources Core

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type 'Core'.

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

SF424 (R&R) Cover (Shared Resources Core)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Core(s) starting with "Core 1:", "Core 2:", etc.
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (Shared Resources Core)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (Shared Resources Core)

Human Subjects: Answer the ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’ questions.

Vertebrate Animals: Answer the ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’ question.

Project Narrative: State the relevance of the Core's activities to public health.

Facilities and Other Resources:

If the core will benefit from a funded institutional, local, state, or national resource/consortium, the funded resource should be described in the application.

Institutional Commitment: Discuss how the institutional commitment to the core, by providing support for recruitment of scientific talent, providing discretionary resources to the Core Director, assignment of specialized research space, cost sharing of resources, and other assurances proposed by the applicant institution, will specifically facilitate the research proposed.

Other Attachments:  The following "Other Attachments" should be included with each Core component in order to aid in the review of the application.  The filename provided for each attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image.

  • Tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts relevant to the Shared Resources Core
  • Distribution of Shared Core's Effort to Projects:
  • Attach a table showing the percent effort dedicated to each project as well as to the Developmental Research Program (DRP) and Career Enhancement Program (CEP). 

Project/Performance Site Location(s) (Shared Resources Core)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (Shared Resources Core)

  • In the PD/PI section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘Core Director’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the 'Credential' field.
  • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that have an involvement in the Core and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the 'Credential' field.
  • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person involved in this component.  When a Senior/Key person is involved in multiple components, it is only necessary to attach his/her biographical sketch to just one of the components.
  • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.

Budget (Shared Resources Core)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

Budgets are also required for each consortium (subcontract) if they are part of any Cores.

Core Director(s) must commit to a minimum of 0.6 CM of effort.

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (Shared Resources Core)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is required for each Core component.  Summarize your response to the reviewers' critique of the previous application.

Specific Aims: Succinctly list the specific objectives and goals of the Core.

Research Strategy: If a proposed Core appears to duplicate other facilities at the applicant institution(s), justification should be provided along with an explanation for why these institutional resources cannot be used for the SPORE activities.

If any of the participating institutions has two or more ongoing SPORE awards, the application must address how related (e.g., specimen banking) activities are coordinated across all SPOREs, as well as within the Cancer Center. For example, it might be anticipated that a request to support a Biospecimen Core at an institution with a CCSG and substantial ongoing SPORE support will be smaller, based on the infrastructure already in existence at the institution. Prior to an award, NCI will carefully review proposed SPORE Core activities and budgets for overlap with ongoing CCSG and SPORE Cores. It should be the objective of all involved Core directors to make sure that biospecimen-related, biostatistical, bioinformatics, and clinical activities are performed in a cost effective and coordinated manner.

Biospecimen/Pathology Core (Required)

Describe the plans for collecting and distributing human cancer site-specific and/or related specimens, including fixed tissue, frozen tissue, paraffin blocks, slides, preserved cells, serum, plasma, urine, sputum samples, and other body fluids, as appropriate for the cancer site. Describe the plans for achieving detailed annotation of parameters of collection and preservation that are pertinent to the pre-analytic and analytic considerations of potential SPORE studies as well as essential pathological, clinical, and family history information needed for conducting a wide range of translational research activities. Describe the informatics that will be used for tracking specimens, as well as linkage to clinical and follow-up data sets. Networking with informatics systems at other SPORE sites is encouraged, but is not required. Address development, acquisition, storage, and usage of standardized reference specimens and materials, and any other services related to the analysis of specimens (e.g., tissue microdissection, immunohistochemistry) that will be provided. Describe and justify any research activities to improve Core services and how they will benefit the SPORE.

Provide a plan for prioritizing distribution of biospecimens to SPORE scientists and others, both inside and outside the parent/consortium institution(s), based on the merit of the proposed translational cancer research projects. Renewal applications should also include a list of the studies and/or collaborations that benefited from this Core, as well as a summary listing the numbers and types of specimens accrued and distributed during the previous funding period. If significant collaborations have emerged from this Core, over and beyond the distribution of specimens, the data should be discussed in this section, but the details of the collaboration itself, including the strategy for moving the project through the translational research pathway to the clinic should be discussed in the SC section of the Overall component.

Other Cores (Optional)

Additional shared Cores (e.g., clinical, biostatistical, animal, etc.) may also be proposed as distinct components that are supportive of one or more of the research projects of the SPORE. These Cores may also include other analytical or non-hypothesis driven research activities designed to enhance a service. Clinical and Biostatistical Cores are strongly encouraged.

For all Cores, describe the facilities and/or services that will be provided, and state the rationale for centralizing them in the Core, rather than including them in individual projects. Indicate why the shared resources Core is an essential part of the SPORE, and how the proposed services will facilitate accomplishment of the proposed goals and objectives of the SPORE as a whole. Address plans for prioritization of services (if necessary).

If a Clinical Core is proposed, the application also should discuss how duplication in the reporting of clinical trial data to the NCI will be avoided.

For New Applications, summarize the preliminary studies that support the ability of the Core to provide the proposed services.   

For renewal applications, use of the Core facilities and services by projects and developmental programs during the current funding period should also be clearly documented.

Progress Report Publication List (for Renewal Applications): List all publications and accepted manuscripts resulting from previously funded Core(s) that are being continued and which cite the SPORE grant. Using an asterisk, mark each listed publication if it is a result of formal collaborations between this Core and other projects within the SPORE, with other SPOREs, or with other funded NCI networks, such as the NCI Clinical Trials Network (formerly known as Cooperative Groups) or the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). For publicly available citations, PMC submission identification numbers (PMCID), if required, should accompany the full reference.  Copies of these publications should not be included as appendix material.

Letters of Support: Attach appropriate letters relevant to the each Core detailing the nature and extent of participation.

Resource Sharing Plan:  Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans [Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)] as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Planned Enrollment Report (Shared Resources Core)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report (Shared Resources Core)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

Developmental Research Program (DRP)

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ' Dev Res Prog'.

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

SF424 (R&R) Cover (DRP)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive title: "Developmental Research Program"
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (DRP)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (DRP)

Human Subjects: Answer the questions ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’

Vertebrate Animals: Answer the question ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?’

Project Narrative: State the relevance of the DRP's activities to public health.

Facilities and Other Resources: Institutional Commitment: Discuss how the institutional commitment to the DRP, if provided, will specifically facilitate the research proposed.

Other Attachments:  The following "Other Attachments" should be included with the DRP component in order to aid in the review of the application.  The filename provided for each attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image.

  • Tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts relevant to the DRP.

Project/Performance Site Location(s) (DRP)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (DRP)

  • In the PD/PI section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘DRP Director’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the 'Credential' field.
  • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that have an involvement in the DRP and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the 'Credential' field.
  • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person involved in this component.  When a Senior/Key person is involved in multiple components, it is only necessary to attach his/her biographical sketch to just one of the components.
  • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.

Budget (DRP)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

Budgets are also required for each consortium (subcontract) if they are part of the DRP.

DRP Director(s) must commit to a minimum of 0.3 CM of effort.

The DRP, as a required component of a SPORE, must be maintained throughout the entire term of the grant. A minimum commitment of $50,000 direct costs per year from SPORE funds per year MUST be proposed and maintained for a DRP. Most DRPs have commitments of between $100,000 and $300,000 direct costs per year, including the contribution(s) made by the parent and/or consortium institutions. The NCI will monitor the activities of both SPORE and institutionally sponsored DRP projects during non-competitive years to ensure that the institutional commitment is being maintained. DRP funds should be used for research activities and cannot be used for the purchase of any large equipment.

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (DRP)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is required for the DRP component.  Summarize your response to the reviewers' critique of the previous application.

Specific Aims: Describe the specific objectives and goals of the DRP.

Research Strategy: Clearly describe the process for solicitation of DRP projects and the institutional review process for funding pilot and/or collaborative projects that generate feasibility data. These funds are intended to remain flexible and to support studies of 2 years or less. The expectation is that successful feasibility studies that have translational potential will replace full projects that are not progressing satisfactorily toward their translational research objectives within the SPORE or projects that have been completed.

New applications should describe the processes to be used to set up the DRP within the SPORE and the process to be established for the continuous reviewing and funding of the pilot and collaborative projects based on quality and importance to the overall SPORE goal. New applicants may also supply a short description of eligible projects as examples. Renewal applicants should include their track records of funding pilot projects, methods of monitoring and assessing ongoing pilot projects, and short descriptions of other potentially eligible projects.

Progress Report Publication List (for Renewal Applications): List all publications and accepted manuscripts resulting from previously funded DRP component and which cite the SPORE grant. Using an asterisk, mark each listed publication if it is a result of formal collaborations between the DRP and other projects within the SPORE, with other SPOREs, or with other funded NCI networks, such as the NCI Clinical Trials Network (formerly known as Cooperative Groups) or the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). For publicly available citations, PMC submission identification numbers (PMCID), if required, should accompany the full reference.  Copies of these publications should not be included as appendix material.

Letters of Support: Attach appropriate letters relevant to the DRP detailing the nature and extent of participation.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans [Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)] as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Planned Enrollment Report (DRP)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report (DRP)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

Career Enhancement Program (CEP)

When preparing your application in ASSIST, use Component Type ' Career Enh Prog'.

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions, as noted.

SF424 (R&R) Cover (CEP)

Complete only the following fields:

  • Applicant Information
  • Type of Applicant (optional)
  • Descriptive title: "Career Enhancement Program"
  • Proposed Project Start/Ending Dates

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement (CEP)

Enter Human Embryonic Stem Cells in each relevant component.

Research & Related Other Project Information (CEP)

Human Subjects: Answer the questions ‘Are Human Subjects Involved?’ and 'Is the Project Exempt from Federal regulations?’

Vertebrate Animals: Answer the question ‘Are Vertebrate Animals Used?

Project Narrative: In the "Project Narrative", the relevance of the CEP's activities to public health should be stated.

Facilities and Other Resources: Institutional Commitment: Discuss how the institutional commitment to the CEP, if provided, will specifically facilitate the research proposed.

Other Attachments:  The following "Other Attachments" should be included with the CEP component in order to aid in the review of the application.  The filename provided for each attachment will be the name used for the bookmark in the application image.

  • Tables, graphs, figures, diagrams and charts relevant to the CEP.

Project/Performance Site Location(s) (CEP)

List all performance sites that apply to the specific component.

Note: The Project Performance Site form allows up to 300 sites, prior to using additional attachment for additional entries.

Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile (CEP)

  • In the PD/PI section of the form, use Project Role of ‘Other’ with Category of ‘CEP Director’ and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the 'Credential' field.
  • In the additional Senior/Key Profiles section, list Senior/Key persons that have an involvement in the CEP and provide a valid eRA Commons ID in the 'Credential' field.
  • Include a single Biographical Sketch for each Senior/Key person involved in this component.  When a Senior/Key person is involved in multiple components, it is only necessary to attach his/her biographical sketch to just one of the components.
  • If more than 100 Senior/Key persons are included in a component, the Additional Senior Key Person attachments should be used.

Budget (CEP)

Budget forms appropriate for the specific component will be included in the application package.

Budgets are also required for each consortium (subcontract) if they are part of the CEP.

CEP Director(s) must commit to a minimum of 0.3 CM of effort.

The CEP, as a required component of a SPORE, must be maintained throughout the entire term of the grant. A minimum commitment of $50,000 direct costs per year from SPORE funds per year must be proposed and maintained for CEP.  Parent institutions often supplement this amount; a commitment of between $50,000-$150,000 per year is typical.  The NCI will monitor the activities of both SPORE and institutionally sponsored CEP projects during non-competitive years to ensure that the institutional commitment is being maintained. CEP funds should be used to support research activities, including partial salary support for the candidate, research personnel, supplies, travel, and/or other expenses, and cannot be used for the purchase of any large equipment.

Note: The R&R Budget form included in many of the component types allows for up to 100 Senior/Key Persons in section A and 100 Equipment Items in section C prior to using attachments for additional entries. All other SF424 (R&R) instructions apply.

PHS 398 Research Plan (CEP)

Introduction to Application: For Resubmission and Revision applications, an Introduction to Application is required for the CEP component.  Summarize your response to the reviewers' critique of the previous application.

Specific Aims: Describe the specific objectives and goals of the CEP.

Research Strategy: Clearly describe the plans for this program including the policies, criteria, and processes for selecting candidates (e.g., advanced post-doctoral fellows who are ready to transition to a faculty position within one year, junior faculty, and established investigators), including the special efforts that will be made to recruit qualified women, individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, as well as individuals with disabilities. The plan should include the number and types of positions that will be made available, the criteria for eligibility and selection of candidates, a description of the selection process, and the process for mentoring or advising junior level candidates or monitoring the progress of all candidates. New applicants should provide short descriptions of potential candidates, as well as the names and research activities of mentors/advisors. Renewal applicants should provide this information in addition to their past performance on recruiting women, individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, as well as individuals with disabilities, and the track record of awardees supported on the SPORE. Support of a CEP awardee should not exceed 2 years.

Similar to the DRP, outstanding career enhancement projects may be promoted to full projects to replace those that are not meeting their translational research objectives within the SPORE or projects that have been completed. Successful CEP awardees may be provided continued support as project co-leaders of the promoted projects.

Letters of Support: Attach appropriate letters relevant to the CEP detailing the nature and extent of participation..

Progress Report Publication List (for Renewal Applications): List all publications and accepted manuscripts resulting from previously funded CEP component and which cite the SPORE grant. Using an asterisk, mark each listed publication if it is a result of formal collaborations between the CEP and other projects within the SPORE, with other SPOREs, or with other funded NCI networks, such as the NCI Clinical Trials Network (formerly known as Cooperative Groups) or the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). For publicly available citations, PMC submission identification numbers (PMCID), if required, should accompany the full reference.  Copies of these publications should not be included as appendix material.

Letters of Support: Attach appropriate letters specific to the CEP detailing the nature and extent of support and/or participation.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans [Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)] as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:

All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix: Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Planned Enrollment Report (CEP)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report (CEP)

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies) using ASSIST or other electronic submission systems. Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

For information on how your application will be automatically assembled for review and funding consideration after submission go to: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/ElectronicReceipt/files/Electronic_Multi-project_Application_Image_Assembly.pdf.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

Important reminders:
All PD(s)/PI(s) and component Project Leads must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management (SAM). Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed.

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information

Important Update: See NOT-OD-16-006 and NOT-OD-16-011 for updated review language for applications for due dates on or after January 25, 2016.

1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

Overall Impact - Overall

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the SPORE as a whole to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria - Overall

Reviewers will consider, but not individually score, each of the review criteria below, taking into account the merit of research projects, cores, developmental research and career enahancement programs, and scientific collaborations in the determination of scientific merit of the SPORE grant. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the SPORE address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the SPORE are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capacity, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the SPORE? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI , do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?  

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?   

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the SPORE? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? 

If the SPORE involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?     

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?  

Scientific Collaboration

The Scientific Collaboration (SC) section is part of the Overall component. Renewal applications where an SC section was not required in the previous application will be considered for submission and review as a first-time application for this section only. Reviewers will assign a numerical score based on the following criteria.

  • Horizontal Collaborations: Do any/many of the proposed projects (and the Developmental Research Program, if appropriate) detail scientific collaboration with other SPOREs, other NIH/NCI programs, or other government or non-government organizations such that information, expertise and resources are shared to complete translational goals within the SPORE more rapidly and efficiently? Are the plans to promote collaborative projects by the SPORE leadership adequately addressed? For new SPORE applications, are plans described for collaborative projects, and are these plans sufficient? For renewal applications, have proposed milestones and timelines in collaborative activities been reached? Were the participation in and outcome of collaborative projects and Programs contributory to the overall translational goals of the SPORE?
  • Vertical Collaborations: For renewal applications, has the SPORE participated in trans-NCI mechanisms, or has it partnered with ongoing trials for SPORE-initiated biomarker studies, or has it used other grant or contract mechanisms to expand clinical studies that were begun in the SPORE, collaboratively outside the P50 mechanism, or has it partnered with industry to continue the development of a SPORE concept? Have proposed milestones and timelines in collaborations been met? Has the SPORE leadership played an important role in moving SPORE concepts through translational/clinical development so that patients can most quickly reap the benefits of SPORE research? For new applications, is there a plan for potential collaborative agreements in developing cancer therapeutics and biomarkers, and for expanding population and cancer prevention studies beyond the limits of the SPORE, should early clinical studies prove to be successful?
Review Criteria for Research Projects

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. A project does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field. An assigned reviewer will give a criterion score for each of the following five criteria for the individual research projects. However, criterion scoring is not used for the other SPORE components.

Significance

Does the project address an important translational research goal or barrier for this particular organ site or the related group of cancers? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventive interventions that drive this field?

Investigators

Are the Project co-leaders, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project?  Is there adequate evidence of co-leadership of the project by basic and applied/clinical investigators in the conception, design, and proposed implementation of the project?  If investigators are in the early stages of independent careers or are new to translational cancer research do they have appropriate experience and training?  If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)?  If the project is collaborative with other groups, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approaches, governance and organizational structures appropriate for the project?

Innovation

Does the project challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions in the context of translational research?  Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research?  Are the concepts novel in a broad sense?  Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project?  Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?  If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Will the research achieve a human endpoint within the five year project period?  Is it likely the study will be completed within the project period?  If the project is ongoing and has changed research direction, is there appropriate rationale for the new approach?  Are the plans for (1) protection of human subjects from research risks and (2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?  Note: Aspects of collaboration unrelated to scientific data will be reviewed in the SC section (Overall component) and not in the SPORE Research Projects section.

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success?  Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed?  Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements? In the case of multiple institutions involved in a single SPORE, is there an adequate plan for communication among investigators to achieve the goals of the grant?  Is there evidence of institutional support? Is there evidence of effective use of SPORE Cores?

Additional Review Criteria for Research Projects Designated by the Applicants as Qualified Early Detection, Prevention, or Population Science (EPPS) Projects

Do specific aims and overall strategy conform to at least one of the definitions of qualified EPPS projects provided in Part 2 Section IV PHS 398 Research Plan (Research Project) Specific Aims

Review Criteria for Administrative Core

Reviewers will assign a numerical score based on the following criteria (these criteria do not receive separate scores):

Leadership

Are the scientific qualifications, involvement, leadership and time commitment of the PD(s)/PI(s) sufficient for requirements of the proposed SPORE? (Leadership for collaborations will be reviewed in the SC section, now part of the Overall component.)

Administrative Management

Does the plan for the Administrative Core adequately address how the SPORE will be managed administratively including the fiscal and data operations? Are the communication aspects of the SPORE facilitated by this Core adequately addressed, particularly if there is more than one institution involved in the proposed research? Is there evidence that appropriate clerical and administrative personnel and quality controls are in place for the smooth running and total integration of the SPORE? Are the qualifications, experience, and commitment of the Shared Resources Core Director(s) and other key personnel adequate and appropriate for providing the proposed facility or services? Will this Core provide adequate meeting/travel support, and support for the advisory boards? Are the qualifications, experience, and commitment of the Core Director(s) and other key personnel adequate? Does the proposed plan include a succession plan for SPORE leadership that could be enacted in the event that the SPORE PD(s)/PI(s) is no longer willing or able to lead the SPORE? If patient advocates are included, are their activities appropriate to the goals of the SPORE?

Institutional Commitment

Is the institutional commitment for facilitating the research objectives of the SPORE (e.g., through special facilities, recruitments, discretionary funding, supplemental resources for CEP and DRP) documented and sufficient?

Integration within the SPORE and the Institution

Are the activities of SPORE projects and proposed Cores well integrated? Does the entire SPORE integrate with the existing cancer center/institute (e.g., use of clinical data and safety management systems, biostatistical and other Cores, etc.)? Is there evidence of, or plans for, coordination and communication across all components of the SPORE and among all participating institutions at the overall SPORE level?

Cancer Patient Population

Is the access to patients and populations for conducting current and projected therapeutic, prevention, detection, and control research adequate to ensure likely success of the SPORE? For renewal applications, documentation of accomplished translational goals, including evidence of human subject enrollment on clinical/population research studies (if applicable) during the current funding period should be provided.

Data Management

Are the plans for and/or track record of the overall data management and/or bioinformatics capabilities of the SPORE as they are related to the Cancer Center, institution, and/or activities of other NIH/NCI initiatives sufficient for the requirements of the proposed SPORE?

Planning and Evaluation of Activities

Are the plans for and/or track record of evaluating the translational research productivity of existing projects and Cores adequate for the requirements of the proposed SPORE? Are the plans for and/or track record of use of advice from internal and external advisors sufficient? For renewal applications, is there evidence that the flexibility available to the SPORE has been used effectively?

Review Criteria for Shared Resources Core(s)

Each Shared Resources Core must provide essential functions or services for at least one project. Reviewers will assign a numerical score based on the following criteria (these criteria do not receive separate scores):

Biospecimen/Pathology Core

Does the proposed plan for this Core adequately address the development, annotation, and maintenance of a human cancer site-specific specimen resource, including linkage of specimens with pre-analytical parameters and pathological, clinical, and family history data that maximize their potential use in translational research?

Does the proposed plan adequately address and prioritize the distribution of specimens within and outside the SPORE? For renewal applications, is there clear documentation of the use of specimens by SPORE investigators within full and developmental projects, as well as details, if applicable, about the distribution and use of SPORE collected specimens outside of the SPORE and/or institution?

If applicable, does the proposed plan adequately address the performance of analyses on specimens (e.g., tissue microdissection, immunochemistry) and/or develop new technologies and methodologies that enhance or benefit activities of the SPORE? For renewal applications, is there clear documentation that demonstrates these analyses were critical to the success of certain projects and are worthy of continued support, if requested?

Is there sufficient evidence of proficient personnel dedicated to the activities of specimen collection, annotation, quality control, storage, distribution, and analysis? Is there sufficient oversight of the collection of initial and follow-up clinical information, data entry, and maintenance of database and computer networks? For renewal applications, the performance and relative time commitments of these individuals should also be evaluated based on the past accomplishments of the Core.

Does the proposed plan give sufficient evidence that the activities of the Core are well integrated with those of the projects and that the investigators within the projects are working closely with those of the Core to meet project objectives?

Does the proposed plan adequately augment and/or complement any existing specimen resource supported by a Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG; P30 grant mechanism) or other funding mechanism(s)? Do investigators applying from institutions with a CCSG and multiple SPORE grants address how their Core will benefit from already established infrastructure, databases, etc., that will enable this proposed specimen Core to be more cost effective and efficient?

Does the proposed plan adequately address if and how the investigators will obtain written informed consent for all prospectively collected tissues/specimens in a manner that will protect patient confidentiality and enable studies?

Other Cores

Is the proposed Shared Resources Core well matched to the needs of the overall SPORE? Does it provide essential facilities or services for one or more scored research projects? For renewal applications, does the application demonstrate the use of each Core by SPORE projects during the previous funding period?

Does the proposed plan demonstrate that the activities of the Core are well-integrated with those of the projects and that the investigators within the projects are working closely with those of the Core to meet project objectives?

What is the overall quality of the proposed Core services? Are adequate quality control processes proposed for the facilities or services provided by the Shared Resources Core (including procedures, techniques, and quality control)? What are the criteria for prioritization and usage of Shared Resources Core products and/or services?

Are the qualifications, experience, and commitment of the Shared Resources Core Director(s) and other key personnel adequate and appropriate for providing the proposed facilities or services?

Will the proposed shared resources Core(s) provide cost effective services to the SPORE? Are there adequate plans to augment and/or complement an existing shared resources supported by an NCI Cancer Center Support grant (P30), if applicable?

Is the environment for the shared resources Core adequate to support the program as proposed?

Review Criteria for the Developmental Research Program (DRP)

Reviewers will assign a numerical score based on adherence to the following criteria.

Will the proposed plan for the DRP attract new ideas and pilot studies within and/or outside of the SPORE institution(s)? Is the plan for periodic solicitation, review and funding of a spectrum of pilot projects, as well as for promoting pilot projects with translational research potential to full projects within the SPORE, adequate?

For renewal applications, did the DRP generate a strong publication record? Were any high-risk/high-impact projects funded through the DRP? Did data produced by the DRP lead to success in the competition for outside funds? Did any DRP projects reach translational potential and become full SPORE projects? Was funding from the DRP used for collaborative projects with other institutions/programs?

Review Criteria for the Career Enhancement Program (CEP)

Reviewers will assign a numerical score based on the following criteria.

Is the proposed plan to select promising candidates for independent careers (academic, industrial, governmental) in translational cancer research adequate?  Is the plan for recruitment, retention and communication with awardees adequately addressed?  For renewal applications, are the research activities, independent grant awards, publication(s), and promotion/current status of individuals who have been supported by the CEP addressed? 

Does the proposed plan address how the investigators will seek out and include qualified women and minorities in the program?

Does the proposed plan address periodic review of the CEP awardees and the role of mentors/advisors?

For renewal applications, did any CEP projects become full SPORE projects?

    
Additional Review Criteria - Overall

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed.  For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Resubmissions

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.  Suggestions for Renewal applications are included within each of the SPORE sections above. The main aspects to address include the following points:

  • Has adequate progress been made in projects, shared resources Cores, the developmental programs, and SC since the previous competitive review?
  • Were the previous specific aims accomplished, and are the proposed research goals logical extensions of work during the current funding period?
  • Has scientific collaboration occurred, as indicated by joint publications and new collaborative aims and/or projects?
  • Were any significant changes to the SPORE during the current funding period, including the use of the SPORE “flexibility option” and any new directions proposed in the new funding period adequately explained?
  • If discretionary funds were requested, has the disposition of these funds been adequately addressed? 
  • Has a translational project been completed and been moved forward on the translational/clinical developmental continuum to a later phase of product/intervention development?
  • Is there adequate justification for adding new projects and/or deleting previous components?

Revisions

For Revisions, the committee will consider the appropriateness of the proposed expansion of the scope of the project. If the Revision application relates to a specific line of investigation presented in the original application that was not recommended for approval by the committee, then the committee will consider whether the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group are adequate and whether substantial changes are clearly evident.

Additional Review Considerations - Overall

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s), convened by the NCI in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Cancer Advisory Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.  
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.      

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.  This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

When an award is made, it is the policy of NCI that meritorious projects reviewed as part of the SPORE be funded as part of the SPORE even though other funding may be available. Duplicate funding will not be awarded.

NCI program staff may administratively delete funding or reduce the duration of support for components of SPOREs that are judged by peer review to be less meritorious and/or nonessential to the conduct of the SPORE. Additional funding requested by the applicants for qualified EPPS projects may be removed if, in the judgment of review and/or the NCI Program Official, the proposed research strategy does not meet qualifications established for EPPS projects in Part 2 Section IV, PHS 398 Research Plan (Research Project), under Specific Aims description.

The NCI program staff may reduce SPORE funding to support only three scientific research projects in cases where the overall impact score is within the funding range for the fiscal year but one or more project(s) (not the required project) are judged significantly less meritorious compared with the overall impact score. The exercise of this option by the NCI staff is expected to be a rare event. Under no circumstances may the applicant submit a SPORE application with less than four research projects.

Prior Approval to Substitute Research Projects

Substitution of the research projects that have been proposed as part of a reviewed and funded SPORE application requires prior approval of the NCI Program Official. Such substitution can be allowable if the original project is not performing as expected (i.e. unlikely to reach its proposed translational goals) or if the translational goals have been accomplished earlier than anticipated. The awardee is required to provide justification of the proposed changes. Project substitutions cannot be approved during the first year of the current SPORE project period.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Continuation Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement. 

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone: 301-710-0267
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Toby T. Hecht, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Email: hechtt@mail.nih.gov

Rajeev K. Agarwal, Ph.D.
Program Director (Gastrointestinal [GI], Pancreas and Skin Cancer SPOREs)
Email: agarwalraj@mail.nih.gov

Julia T. Arnold, Ph.D.
Program Director (Brain and Ovarian Cancer SPOREs)
Email: jarnold@mail.nih.gov

Andrew Hruszkewycz, M.D., Ph.D.
Program Director (Prostate and Genitourinary [Kidney and Bladder] Cancer SPOREs)
Email: hruszkea@mail.nih.gov

Igor Kuzmin, Ph.D.
Program Director (Breast and Gynecologic [Cervical and Endometrial] Cancer SPOREs)
Email: kuzmini@mail.nih.gov

Steven F. Nothwehr, Ph.D.
Program Director (Lymphoma, Leukemia and Myeloma SPOREs)
Email: nothwehrs@mail.nih.gov

Peter Ujhazy M.D., Ph.D.
Program Director (Head & Neck, Sarcoma, and Lung Cancer SPOREs)
Email: ujhazyp@mail.nih.gov

Translational Research Program (TRP)
Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-5730

Peer Review Contact(s)

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6390
Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Shane Woodward
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6303
Email: woodwars@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.

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