Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Innovative Molecular and Cellular Analysis Technologies for Cancer Research (R21)

Notice Number: NOT-CA-15-037

Key Dates
Release Date:  October 21, 2015
Estimated Publication Date of Announcement:  December 2015 
First Estimated Application Due Date:  February 2016 
Earliest Estimated Award Date:  November 2016
Earliest Estimated Start Date:  December 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Cancer Institute (NCI)


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) intends to reissue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to support exploratory research focused on the early-stage development research for highly innovative molecular or cellular analysis technologies relevant to basic and clinical cancer research.

This funding opportunity is part of a broader NCI-sponsored Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) Program.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects. 

The FOA is expected to be published in Fall 2015 with an expected application due date in Winter 2016.

This FOA will utilize the R21 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into unmet needs for molecular and cellular analysis capabilities relevant to cancer research to consider applying for this reissued FOA with applications to develop new technologies that may provide those capabilities. The IMAT program is aimed at the early-stage development and integration of novel and emerging technologies that ultimately support cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment. These technology-focused FOAs may support research including, but not limited to, novel instrumentation, materials, devices, chemical methodologies and analysis/controls tools (e.g., computer software). The IMAT program supports such work through 4 closely related FOAs; two phases of support (R21 and R33) for each of two unique thematic areas (molecular/cellular analysis technologies and biospecimen science technologies).

The emphasis of this FOA is on supporting the development of novel molecular and cellular analysis capabilities with a high degree of technical innovation and with the potential to significantly accelerate and/or transform investigations exploring or targeting the molecular and cellular basis of cancer. If successful, these technologies should accelerate and/or enhance research in the areas of cancer biology, early detection and screening, clinical diagnosis, treatment, epidemiology, and/or cancer health disparities. Technologies proposed for development may be intended to have widespread applicability but must be focused on innovative molecular and/or cellular characterizations of cancer.

Applications must include quantitative milestones for each specific aim as a way of determining during the project, and at its completion, whether an applicant has successfully met the proposed functionality described in the specific aims. Milestones should be clearly stated as numerical (i.e., quantifiable) specifications for relevant measures/properties, including the description for how each milestone will be ascertained with the degree of acceptable confidence in those measures. Milestones should further serve to benchmark the performance level of the technology. Please note that a timeline of tasks to be accomplished is not acceptable as a listing of milestones for the purposes of these solicitations.

General attributes applicable to this FOA:

  • The FOA will be open to investigators from both academia and industry, and applications representing multiple principal investigators are welcome. Investigators from non-US institutions are also encouraged to apply.
  • The proposed technology application(s) may be targeted for the needs of basic, translational, and/or clinical cancer research. All proposed applications, however, must offer the potential for substantial improvements over conventional approaches and/or add qualitatively new research capabilities not provided by current technologies and approaches.
  • Applications may be intended for molecular and cellular analyses in one or more various models, including: (a) subcellular systems; (b) cultured cells; (c) animal models (human cancers in situ); and/or (d) human biospecimens.
  • Generally desirable attributes of all proposed applications include: (a) multiplexing (including multiple parallel sample processing and/or multiparametric parallel analyses); (b) improved high throughput capability; (c) cost reduction; and/or (d) improved sensitivity, specificity, and/or selectivity.

Note on Other Related Programs: Researchers focusing on applying new bioinformatics or statistical techniques as the primary focus of their applications, or where the technical innovation is focused on developing novel software or informatics approaches, should consider one of the Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research (ITCR) opportunities.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Tony Dickherber, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 301-547-9980