Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Cellular Cancer Biology Imaging Research (CCBIR) Program (U54 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
November 19, 2020
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
December 10, 2020
First Estimated Application Due Date:
March 17, 2021
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
December 01, 2021
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
January 01, 2022
Related Announcements

NOT-CA-19-016 - Notice of Intent to Publish: Cellular Cancer Biology Imaging Research (CCBIR) Program (UM1 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (rescinded)

Issued by

National Cancer Institute (NCI)


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) intends to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to invite applications for Cellular Cancer Biology Imaging Research (CCBIR) Centers (U54 activity code). The Centers will develop and test enabling imaging technologies at the cellular and organ scales driven by specific fundamental questions in cancer biology. The overall purpose of the CCBIR initiative is to facilitate innovation in advanced imaging technologies that could be applied to fundamental basic and pre-clinical research problems in cancer biology. CCBIR Centers are structured to operate collaboratively between technology developers and cancer biologists at the forefront of their respective fields. CCBIR Centers will increase in experimental sophistication over time to ultimately produce an interoperable suite of state-of-the-art imaging technologies with transformative potential to study the cancer biology process(es) that defines the Center. The cadre of CCBIR Centers will form a consortium that will be expected to engage with the broader cancer research community.

Research Initiative Details

This Notice supersedes NOT-CA-19-016 "Notice of Intent to Publish: Cellular Cancer Biology Imaging Research (CCBIR) Program (UM1 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)".

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into the areas of basic and/or pre-clinical cancer biology, advanced imaging technologies, and computational and image analysis to begin to consider applying for this new FOA. Imaging technologies, such as super-resolution microscopy, adaptive optics, mass-spectrometry-based imaging, and optogenetic probes, offer transformative potential for new understanding in basic and pre-clinical cancer biology research. Cancer research could benefit from the implementation of advanced cellular imaging modalities that enable exploration of the states and dynamic processes across diverse types of cancer at the extracellular to cellular and subcellular length scales. Imaging cancer at these scales entails challenges inherent to cancer biology that are less common when imaging normal cell physiology. The phenotypic diversity in the myriad of cancer cell types, dynamic-longitudinal changes, and different site-specific contextual microenvironments often necessitate modifications and optimization in approaches, methods, and instrumentation. Additional barriers often exist in both cost and access to infrastructure requisite for high-end imaging. The NCI is launching the CCBIR Program to support the combination of technology development with discovery science and foster the implementation and wider dissemination of advanced instrumentation, allied devices, and probes designed specifically to enable mechanistic hypothesis testing in the cancer research community, notably in the emerging areas of imaging live cell dynamics and fundamental cancer biology processes. The cadre of CCBIR Centers will be comprised of multidisciplinary teams of imaging technology innovators and cancer cell biologists who will work together to address fundamental challenges in cancer research.

Each CCBIR Center is required to contain three essential and interconnected structural/functional units:

  • Administration and Coordination Core (ACC);
  • Imaging Technology Development Unit (TECH); and
  • Cancer Biology Research Test-Bed Unit (RTB).

It is anticipated that an iterative cycle of both technological and intellectual development flowing between TECH and RTB units will be coordinated by the Administration and Coordination Core to ensure a continued engagement by all parties that escalates in sophistication over the project period. Ideally, the interconnected structure of the CCBIR Center must lead to integrated imaging toolkit(s) that as a whole are novel and aptly address the significant challenge(s) in cancer biology research defined by the CCBIR Center Theme.

Funding Information
Estimated Total Funding

Up to $9 million in Fiscal Year 2022.

Expected Number of Awards


Estimated Award Ceiling

Each U54 application budget will be limited to $1,250,000 Direct Costs per year for a total of five years.

Primary CFDA Numbers


Anticipated Eligible Organizations
Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Private Institution of Higher Education
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Small Business
For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business)
State Government
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
County governments
Independent school districts
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
U.S. Territory or Possession
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
Regional Organization
Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government

Applications are not being solicited at this time. 


Please direct all inquiries to:

Nastaran Zahir, Ph.D.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)



Weekly TOC for this Announcement
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