Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Comments and Suggestions on the National Cancer Institute’s Support of Early Career, Mentored Cancer Researchers and Trainees
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

October 30, 2023

Response Date:
December 29, 2023

Related Announcements


Issued by

National Cancer Institute (NCI)



The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is seeking input on potential approaches and innovations that might be implemented to support early career, mentored cancer researchers and trainees. Review of this entire Request for Information (RFI) is encouraged to ensure a comprehensive response and to have a full understanding of how responses will be used.


The NCI is committed to the training and development of the 21st century cancer research workforce. As the needs of this community and the opportunities for careers continue to evolve, it is crucial that NCI’s support evolves as well. Throughout all NCI programs, training must reflect the diversity of the population it serves.  Part of NCI’s work in this area is accomplished through a series of funding opportunities managed by the Center for Cancer Training’s Cancer Training Branch including F30, F31, F32, F99/K00, K08, K12, K22, K25, K99/R00, early K99/R00, T32, R25, the NIH Loan Repayment Program (, the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities’ Diversity Training Branch including F31, K01, K08, K22, R21, R25 YES and Diversity Research Supplements (, and the Center for Global Health including D43 and K43 (

In response to the renewed concerns raised by early career, mentored cancer researchers including through the work of the NIH’s Advisory Committee to the Director Working Group on Re-envisioning NIH-Supported Postdoctoral Training (, NCI is examining its own approaches. We are taking the concerns identified by the many community engagements as a starting point and are here seeking input on potential approaches and innovations that might be implemented within areas under the NCI’s purview.

We are particularly interested in feedback on the funding mechanisms we use or could develop to support early career, mentored-cancer researchers from middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate studies through early research independence, and how they are structured and positioned with regard to the needs of a diverse cancer research workforce.

Information Requested

The NCI is interested in soliciting comments and opinions that respond to the following questions about how we support early career, mentored cancer researchers:

  1. Considering the current funding mechanisms offered by NCI (listed above and shown here: what improvements could be made? Do they provide sufficient and the right kind of support?
    • Considerations might include eligibility criteria, duration of the award, components of the award, and whether the award provides other types of support beyond funding, e.g., a cohort or community, career development activities, professional advancement or technical assistance.
    • Please consider responding with reference to a specific award mechanism(s) / activity codes (
  2. What opportunities exist for developing new award mechanisms that would meet the needs of early career, mentored cancer researchers?
    • Such opportunities could include a mechanism for disciplines in the cancer research workforce where the career structure is not a good fit for current offerings.
    • Other opportunities could include mechanisms that address the career paths of those who do not pursue the role of research team leader (e.g., professor) in academia, for example with transition awards.
    • Other opportunities could include programs for early career researchers and trainees conducting research at institutions that receive limited NIH Research Project Grant (RPG) support.
    • Please consider making specific recommendations related to career stage and the characteristics of an award you might recommend to NCI.
  3. What approaches to supporting the development of a diverse cancer research workforce that NCI is currently not pursuing, should be considered?
    • For example, should NCI invest in broader efforts to bring supported early career, mentored cancer researchers together in a community for the purposes of networking and career development?
    • Should NCI invest in very early intervention programs to increase the pool of diverse trainees?

How to Submit a Response

All responses must be submitted electronically as follows:

Responses to this (Request for Information) RFI Notice are voluntary and may be submitted anonymously. Submitted information will not be considered confidential. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential or sensitive information in your responses. Responses are welcome from associations and professional organizations as well as individual stakeholders. The responses will be reviewed by NIH staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder.

This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health, or NCI. The information submitted will be analyzed and may be shared internally, appear in reports or be reflected in future solicitations, as appropriate and at the Government’s discretion. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information provided and will not provide feedback to respondents.


Please direct all inquiries to: