This Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) informs current awardees that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is providing the opportunity for supplemental funding to stimulate interest and promote studies on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global cancer prevention and control. This Administrative Supplement is designed to support NCI-funded investigators who have existing relationships/partnerships in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), inclusive of upper-middle-income countries, to leverage those partnerships to conduct research on the pandemic’s impact on cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global health threat and has disrupted public life. The severity of illness and course of the infection is heterogeneous and appears to be more severe in the elderly and in individuals with underlying comorbidities, including cancer. The COVID-19 pandemic has also challenged the capacity of many health systems more broadly, making access to cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment services difficult. These acute challenges have the potential to impact preventative services and treatment outcomes and result in increased cancer incidence and mortality over the next several years. Despite significant global advances in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, the pandemic has and will continue to impact cancer research, public health measures, and care delivery. This is particularly true in LMICs, where fewer resources are available to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and COVID-19 vaccine rollouts may stretch over multiple years.
Studies should contribute to understanding the impact of COVID-19 on global cancer prevention and control. This may include the direct effects of COVID-19 in cancer patients or the indirect health, economic, and sociocultural impacts of the pandemic across the cancer continuum.
Studies that generate an evidence base necessary to mitigate the effects of this and future pandemics on persons with cancer, at risk for cancer, undergoing treatment for cancer, or in remission are especially encouraged.
Specific Areas of Research Interest:
Possible research interests include, but are not limited to, the following areas:
- Implementation studies to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the adoption, adaptation, integration, implementation, scale-up and/or sustainability of evidence-based interventions, tools, policies, and guidelines in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship in LMICS, including:
- Studies to understand and describe innovations in the implementation of care delivery in low-resource settings developed as a result of the pandemic with a potential for global relevance (so-called ‘frugal innovations’), as well as studies to understand multi-level factors and processes influencing the acceptability, adoption, adaptation, feasibility, integration, implementation, scale-up, and/or sustainability of such innovations;
- Studies to understand the feasibility, acceptability, and/or barriers to implementation of telemedicine and mobile health applications that aim to facilitate interaction between cancer patients and providers in the absence of in-person health visits.
- Studies to understand and describe adaptations and/or delivery of digital health technologies, including mobile health and telemedicine tools, developed for detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer at the point-of-care, or that reduce or eliminate barriers to timely care resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, inclusive of, but not limited to:
- Point-of-care in vitro diagnostics;
- Self-care technologies, including self-screening;
- Patient navigation and care triage;
- Bioinformatics and information technologies;
- Clinical decision support technologies.
- Studies to generate and/or assess the use of evidence-based decision tools or models to inform decisions related to efficient utilization of existing and emerging technologies such as those listed above, and strategies for cancer control in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in LMICs, inclusive of, but not limited to:
- The impact of COVID-19 on health and research outcomes in cancer patients and/or cancer survivors;
- The impact of COVID-19 on cancer screening, including strategies for recovery;
- The long-term impact of COVID-19 or future pandemics on cancer risk, incidence, and mortality.
- Studies seeking to understand the psycho-social impacts of COVID-19 on health-seeking behaviors of groups suffering from or at risk for cancer, inclusive of, but not limited to:
- The influence of cancer-related stigma on health-seeking behaviors;
- The influence of COVID-19 on care-seeking pathways for cancer primary prevention, secondary prevention, and treatment;
- The impact of COVID-19 stigma on the mental health of healthcare workers and its effect on care delivery.
- Studies seeking to understand the impact of COVID-19 on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes of HIV-associated malignancies.
Within the above research interests, studies that aim to generate evidence on the mitigation of negative impacts of future health emergencies are strongly encouraged.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NCI Program Director of the parent award to discuss potential applications and whether urgent competitive revision applications or administrative supplement requests are more appropriate for the proposed research.
Applications that are submitted in response to this NOSI must:
- Focus on the intersection of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 and cancer prevention and control in LMICs;
- Include LMIC investigators in the research team.
Applications nonresponsive to the terms of this NOSI will not be reviewed. The following applications would be considered non-responsive and withdrawn without review:
- Projects that engage collaborators only in high-income countries;
- Projects that do not aim to generate findings relevant to the continued mitigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic or future pandemics on cancer prevention and control;
- Projects that address the response to the COVID-19 pandemic outside the context of cancer research and control.
Application and Submission Information
Applications for this initiative must be submitted using the following opportunity or its subsequent reissued equivalent:
PA-20-272 - Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements (Parent Admin Supp Clinical Trial Optional).
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and PA-20-272 must be followed, with the following additions:
- Application Due Date: Submissions must be received by March 31, 2021, at 5:00 PM local time of the applicant organization for FY 2021 funding.
- The Research Strategy must not exceed three (3) pages. It must summarize the activities of the parent grant that encompass those proposed in the supplemental request and describe how those activities are proposed for augmentation and/or enhancement in the supplemental request by:
- Describing the supplement's purpose, the relationship of the supplement request to the parent grant (proposed research must be within the scope of the parent grant), and the additional value provided to the underlying funded research (parent grant) of the PI and the collaborating investigators.
- Describing the existing and proposed relationship or partnership with LMICs institutions and investigators. Applications are strongly encouraged to demonstrate the equitable participation of LMIC investigators.
- Describing the proposed study and how it will further knowledge of the impact of COVID-19 on global cancer research in LMICs or introduce strategies to mitigate the impact of the ongoing or future pandemics on global cancer prevention and control.
- Describing how the anticipated findings could be used to inform global cancer control, global cancer research, and/or future cancer research agendas.
- Describing how the research plan will be completed within 1 year.
- NCI requires applicants to submit electronically through Grants.gov. All applications (including those for multi-project activity codes) must be submitted electronically using a single-project application form package with the Competition ID of “FORMS-E-ADMINSUPP-RESEARCH”
- The process for Streamlined Submissions using the eRA Commons cannot be used for this initiative.
Eligibility and Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator):
To be eligible for an Urgent Competitive Revision or an Administrative Supplement through this NOSI and the respective FOA, applications must mee the following criteria:
- Administrative supplement applications are limited to currently funded projects supported by NCI.
- PDs/PIs must hold an active award eligible for PA-20-272 supported through NCI with sufficient time (minimum 1 year) left to complete the studies proposed after the revision/supplement has been awarded within the existing project period.
- The proposed project for supplemental funding is required to be within the scope of the parent award and be a logical extension of the original aims.
- The parent award must either already include a foreign performance site in an LMIC or the applicant must include a letter of support from an LMIC institution with the application.
- For supplements to parent awards that include multiple PDs/PIs, the supplement may be requested by any or all of the PDs/PIs (in accordance with the existing leadership plan) and submitted by the awardee institution of the parent award.
Application Due Date: March 31, 2021
- The budget should not exceed $125,000 in direct costs.
- At least one full year on the parent grant must remain at the time of funding. The application budget is limited to 1 year only.
- Requests for no-cost extensions on the parent grant to accommodate a supplement will not be permitted.
- Applicants should begin the supplement application abstract by stating “This application is being submitted in response to the Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) identified as NOT-CA-21-033.”
- For funding consideration, applicants must include “NOT-CA-21-033” (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4b) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4b will not be considered for this initiative.
Review and Selection Process:
NCI will conduct administrative reviews of applications and will support the most meritorious applications submitted for consideration, based upon the programmatic priorities and availability of funds.
Criteria for the application:
- Does the administrative supplement plan reasonably allow for the proposed project to be completed, given the time and budget requested?
- Are the proposed activities relevant to the parent grant and original work scope?
- Does the applicant demonstrate satisfactory progress towards achieving the aims of the parent grant, as appropriate to the current stage of the project?
- Does the proposed project for supplemental funding include, and appropriately justify the inclusion of the global population, biospecimens and/or data?
- Does the proposed project for supplemental funding fill an identified gap in the scientific literature that advances global cancer research?
- Does the applicant demonstrate reasonable access to the appropriate global populations, biospecimens and/or data?
Applicants are encouraged to discuss their application with the scientific/research contact listed in this NOSI prior to submission.