Notice of Information: Contributing to the Global COVID-19 Crisis Response by Allowing Some NCI-supported Projects to be Redirected to COVID-19-related Research During the Crisis

Notice Number: NOT-CA-20-054

Key Dates
Release Date: April 28, 2020

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Cancer Institute (NCI)


The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis that has engaged the attention of researchers who want to be able to contribute their expertise and resources toward a better understanding of the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease on cancer patients disease progression, response to therapy, care delivery, or survivorship.

NCI anticipates that in infrequent cases, NCI-funded investigators will have novel insights and research proposals of immediate relevance to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. In those cases, but only for the duration of the present crisis, NCI would consider requests from its funded grantees and cooperative agreement awardees to engage in limited COVID-19 related research using part of their existing NCI-funded resources under the following conditions:

  • Any proposed COVID-19 projects would have to be novel, innovative, compelling, and scientifically meritorious. Projects should have cancer relevance and the potential for high impact.
  • Proposed projects should not duplicate other efforts or be simple extensions or modifications of ongoing research.
  • Proposed projects must be able to start immediately and be time limited, not to exceed 1 year.
  • If the proposed research requires access to laboratories and facilities currently not available, the sponsoring institution must provide explicit concurrence that those facilities would be made available for the project.
  • The investigator must have the resource capacity within the existing NCI grant to pursue the project.

The NCI must review and approve any proposed project and budget, in accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement which states that grantees must obtain prior approval for a change in scope. A change in scope is a change in the direction, aims, objectives, purposes, and/or type of research training, as identified in the approved project.

The use of existing NCI funds would be only for immediate, short-term activities that directly address the crisis. Proposals for longer-term projects, those that require additional funds or those that cannot begin immediately should follow the guidance in NOT-CA-20-042 [Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): National Cancer Institute Announcement Regarding Availability of Urgent Competitive Revision and Administrative Supplements on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)] and should be directed to either:

  • PA-18-935 [Urgent Competitive Revision to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Urgent Supplement - Clinical Trial Optional) for projects outside the scope of the parent award]


  • PA-18-591 [Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional) for projects within the scope of the parent award].

Despite the current COVID-19 crisis, cancer continues to be a major public health challenge. Therefore, NCI encourages investigators to continue to pursue their cancer research activities to the extent possible during the pandemic when access to their laboratories is limited or not possible. These activities include data analysis, manuscript preparation, remote mentoring. In particular, pre-doctoral students are encouraged to continue working on their NCI-funded research projects and are discouraged from diverting their efforts to COVID-19 projects.

The option provided in this Notice is only for the duration of the current COVID-19 crisis. Once routine access to institutional facilities is again available, NCI grantees will be expected to resume their funded research. A Notice will be published when the present opportunity is no longer in effect.

NCI grant and cooperative agreement awardees who are interested in the possibility offered by this opportunity are encouraged to contact the NCI program officials for their respective awards.


Please direct all inquiries to:

The NCI program director/officer who has stewardship of the applicable parent grant or cooperative agreement award.