Department of Health and Human Services

Part 1. Overview Information

Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Funding Opportunity Title
NCI Research Specialist (Clinician Scientist) Award (R50 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Activity Code

R50 Research Specialist Award

Announcement Type
New
Related Notices

None

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number
PAR-21-306
Companion Funding Opportunity
None
Assistance Listing Number(s)
93.393, 93.395, 93.396, 93.394, 93.397, 93.398, 93.399
Funding Opportunity Purpose

Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) invites applications for the Research Specialist Award (R50) specifically for clinician scientists supporting NCI-funded clinical trials research.
The Research Specialist Award is designed to encourage the development of stable research career opportunities for exceptional clinician scientists who want to continue to participate in the NCI clinical trials networks through leadership in the 1) development of national clinical trials, 2) implementation of NCI clinical trials in their institutions, and 3) national service to the NCI clinical trials networks through participation in the scientific review committees, monitoring committees and other activities, but not serve as principal investigators of research project grants. These clinician scientists are vital to sustaining the NCI-funded clinical trials enterprise. The Research Specialist Award is intended to provide salary support and sufficient autonomy so that individuals are not solely dependent on NCI grants held by others or other sources of support for cancer research career continuity.

Key Dates

Posted Date
August 20, 2021
Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
January 07, 2022
Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Application Due Dates Review and Award Cycles
New Renewal / Resubmission / Revision (as allowed) AIDS Scientific Merit Review Advisory Council Review Earliest Start Date
February 08, 2022 February 08, 2022 Not Applicable July 2022 October 2022 December 2022
June 07, 2022 June 07, 2022 Not Applicable November 2022 January 2023 April 2023
October 06, 2022 October 06, 2022 Not Applicable March 2023 May 2023 July 2023
February 07, 2023 February 07, 2023 Not Applicable July 2023 October 2023 December 2023
June 06, 2023 June 06, 2023 Not Applicable November 2023 January 2024 April 2024
October 06, 2023 October 06, 2023 Not Applicable March 2024 May 2024 July 2024

All applications are due by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on the listed date(s).

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

Expiration Date
October 07, 2023
Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts).

Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions.

Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

There are several options available to submit your application through Grants.gov to NIH and Department of Health and Human Services partners. You must use one of these submission options to access the application forms for this opportunity.

  1. Use the NIH ASSIST system to prepare, submit and track your application online.
  2. Use an institutional system-to-system (S2S) solution to prepare and submit your application to Grants.gov and eRA Commons to track your application. Check with your institutional officials regarding availability.

  3. Use Grants.gov Workspace to prepare and submit your application and eRA Commons to track your application.


  4. Table of Contents

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose

Through this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) invites applications for the Research Specialist Award in any area of NCI-funded clinical cancer research. This FOA is specifically for clinician scientists to continue to participate in the NCI clinical trials networks through leadership in the 1) development of national clinical trials, 2) implementation of NCI clinical trials in their institutions, and 3) national service to the NCI clinical trials networks through participation in the scientific review committees, monitoring committees, and other activities, but not serve as principal investigators of research project grants. These clinician scientists are vital to sustaining the NCI-funded clinical trials enterprise. The Research Specialist Award is intended to provide stable support for clinician scientists at their institutions for significant leadership and exceptional participation in the NCI-sponsored clinical trials networks that conduct cancer treatment, prevention and control, and care delivery clinical trials. NCI-sponsored clinical trials networks include but are not limited to the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), the Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN), and the Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Network (CP-CTNet).
The Research Specialist Award is designed to encourage the development of a career path for cancer clinical trial investigators who provide leadership, participation, and scientific support for the NCI clinical trials networks at their institutions and within those networks. This leadership includes the development of concepts and protocols for clinical trials, participation in scientific steering committees and network committees, and accrual to NCI-sponsored clinical trials. The institutional activities may include the implementation of cancer clinical trials including participation in the review of safety data, monitoring the conduct and progress of open clinical trials, and serving on institutional review committees. These activities are necessary for the successful conduct of NCI-sponsored cancer clinical trials. The Research Specialist Award is intended to provide salary support and sufficient autonomy so that individuals are not solely dependent on NCI grants held by others or other sources of funding for cancer research career continuity.

Background

The Research Specialist (Clinician Scientist) Award is intended to provide salary support and sufficient autonomy so that individuals are not solely dependent on NCI-funded grants held by others or other sources of support for cancer research career continuity. Over the past decade, cancer clinical trials have become more complex in trial design, have a greater number of regulatory issues to address and require significant effort from clinician investigators to review safety data, monitor the progress of multiple ongoing clinical trials, and respond to human subjects concerns that are both expected and unexpected. These efforts are frequently not reimbursed and are neither funded in research project grants nor funded through the NCI clinical trials networks. Typical research activities include service on institutional clinical research committees (institutional review boards, protocol review and monitoring for scientific prioritization, data safety, and management, disease- or modality-based disease groups, etc.), oversight of multiple clinical trials within a clinical trials office, service on national clinical trials committees (National Clinical Trials Network steering committees, etc.), developing new cancer clinical trials by writing and revising new protocols, recruiting patients to new and existing trials, and satisfying annual training in human subjects protection and regulatory compliance. The need for individuals with the broad research expertise and clinical background required of clinical scientists is rapidly growing. Current sources of support for the research activities of clinician scientists are inadequate and compete against the growing demands of clinical duties and responsibilities.

Scope of this FOA

The Research Specialist (Clinician Scientist) Award is intended to provide salary support for a sustained period of time and encourage the development of a stable career for exceptional clinical scientists who provide excellent leadership in the scientific development and implementation of NCI-sponsored clinical trials which are conducted through the NCI clinical trials networks. The award is intended for clinician scientists with significant, relevant experience, who have shown clear evidence of productivity and research excellence in the implementation of NCI-funded clinical trials within their institution. The proposed new research support is intended to provide salaries and sufficient autonomy so that individuals are not solely dependent on NCI-funded grants held by others or other sources of support for cancer research career continuity. As the PD/PI, Research Specialists would have the option, with prior NCI approval, to move to other research programs or institutions while maintaining funding from this award.

See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.

Section II. Award Information

Funding Instrument

Grant: A support mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity.

Application Types Allowed
New
Renewal
Resubmission

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types. Only those application types listed here are allowed for this FOA.

Clinical Trial?

Not Allowed: Only accepting applications that do not propose clinical trials.

Need help determining whether you are doing a clinical trial?

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Award Budget

Application budgets may request the following two expenses in direct costs per year:

  1. salary support for the Research Specialist commensurate with their level of effort on NCI funded clinical trials with a minimum of 2.4 and a maximum of 4.8 person-months funded by this award; and
  1. travel costs to attend research meetings/conferences not to exceed $2,500 per year.
Award Project Period

The total award project period may not exceed 5 years.

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made from this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Local Governments

  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)

Federal Governments

  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession

Other

  • Independent School Districts
  • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations
Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.

Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed. 

Required Registrations

Applicant organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number to register in eRA Commons. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration, but all registrations must be in place by time of submission. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

Additional Eligibility Requirements:

  • Eligible applicants will be clinician scientists who have a clinical degree (M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., O.D., D.C., PharmD., N.D., D.V.M.), possess active licensure, and are actively practicing in an oncology clinical setting. Individuals with a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree that have direct contact with patients or healthy subjects in clinical disciplines such as clinical psychology, nursing, clinical genetics, speech-language pathology, audiology, or rehabilitation are also eligible.
  • At the time of application, the applicant cannot hold as a Principal Investigator current R01, P01, or other significant NIH funding (past funding does not affect eligibility). Support from P50 Career Development awards, R03, R21, P30 funding, or national network funding will be allowed, as long as the total NCI support does not exceed 6 person-months. Future substantial independent NIH funding will require the awardee to forfeit the R50.
  • The applicant must be engaged in the conduct of NCI-funded cancer clinical trials research at an academic medical center and have a record of involvement in NCI-funded cancer clinical trial-related activities.
  • At the time of application, the Research Specialist must have been at the institution for at least the previous two years.
  • The Research Specialist must have a full-time position at the institution.
  • The Research Specialist must commit 2.4 to 4.8 person-months to NCI-funded clinical activities during the life of the award. The Research Specialist may engage in other duties as part of the remaining 9.6 to 7.2 person-month effort not covered by this award. The maximum funded effort allowed on all NCI grants, including the R50, will be capped at 6 person-months.
  • The Research Specialist must have demonstrated professional accomplishments consonant with his or her career status, and should have demonstrated cancer clinical research experience relevant to the NCI mission.

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility

Number of Applications

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).

Applications are limited to one per institution per receipt date (three applications per institution in a calendar year) including resubmissions (A1); NCI-designated cancer center consortia are considered one institution.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information

1. Requesting an Application Package

The application forms package specific to this opportunity must be accessed through ASSIST, Grants.gov Workspace or an institutional system-to-system solution. Links to apply using ASSIST or Grants.gov Workspace are available in Part 1 of this FOA. See your administrative office for instructions if you plan to use an institutional system-to-system solution.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the Research (R) Instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

 

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

Include a table summarizing the clinical trials in which the applicant has played a significant role. Include specific funding source, National Clinical Trial ID, other protocol ID, applicant’s role, open and close dates, status, phase of trial, official title, targeted accrual (for the entire trial, and for the institution), and actual accrual by applicant.

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

R&R Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

  1. salary support for the Research Specialist commensurate with their level of effort devoted to the institution’s NCI funded clinical trials activities with a minimum of 2.4 and a maximum of 4.8 person-months effort supported by this award; and
  2. travel costs to attend research meetings/conferences not to exceed $2,500 per year.
R&R Subaward Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Research Plan

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Specific Aims: DO NOT use. Specific Aims are not allowed.

Research Strategy: Applicants must upload the Research Strategy as a single attachment and the Research Strategy must be organized into the subsections identified below. Start each subsection of the document with the appropriate sub-heading:

Sub-heading A. Research Program(s) engaging the Research Specialist's activity/effort:

Describe the scope of the clinical trials program with the level of effort in at least one of the NCI-sponsored clinical trials networks at the applicant’s institution.

Sub-heading B. Role of the Research Specialist in Research Program(s):

Describe the particular activities of the Research Specialist (PD/PI) in NCI-sponsored clinical trials (examples enumerated above) and the need for the Research Specialist to ensure the success of the clinical trials program(s). This section should explain how the Research Specialist’s qualifications, experience, productivity, accomplishments, and training are critical to achieving the scientific leadership in NCI-sponsored clinical trials networks and the leadership and participation in the successful implementation of the clinical trials at the applicant’s institution. Describe the Research Specialist’s history of contributing to NCI-sponsored clinical trials networks at the institution by including the following:

  • service and leadership of institutional clinical studies infrastructures, such as the clinical trials office, institutional review board, protocol review and monitoring board for scientific prioritization, and data safety and monitoring board(s);
  • leadership of the institution’s disease- or modality-based groups;
  • leadership in NCI clinical trial networks, such as National Clinical Trials Network disease/modality steering committees and other NCI-funded networks;
  • serving as national or site PI of NCI-funded clinical trials;
  • writing and revising of new clinical trials protocols;
  • accruing patients to new or existing trials (as provided in the Other Attachment table);
  • recruitment of underrepresented minorities and women to clinical trials;
  • Research Specialist's plans for meeting the objectives of the NCI-funded clinical trials research program at the institution over the next 5 years;
  • the career goals of the Research Specialist with regard to continued support of NCI-funded clinical trial networks, and
  • Plans to develop new research capabilities and/or approaches that will allow progress in the institution’s clinical trials program to improve efficiencies and address novel opportunities in the research programs.

Letters of Support: Letters of support are required and applications that are missing letters of support will not be reviewed.

Two types of Letters of Support are required for this application:

1) A letter of support from the institution, which must detail the following:

a) The institution must document a strong, well-established cancer clinical trials program related to the Research Specialist's area of expertise, including a high-quality research environment with key faculty members and other investigators capable of productive collaboration with the Research Specialist.

b) Include a statement attesting to the Research Specialist's current level of effort in support of NCI-sponsored clinical trials, and a commitment to continue institutional support of effort should the R50 be awarded.

2) At least three letters of recommendation from PDs/PIs who can attest to the Research Specialist's qualifications and contributions to NCI-funded clinical trials research.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

The following modifications also apply:

  • Generally, Resource Sharing Plans are expected, but they are not applicable for this FOA.
Appendix:
Only limited Appendix materials are allowed. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.
PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

When involving human subjects research, clinical research, and/or NIH-defined clinical trials (and when applicable, clinical trials research experience) follow all instructions for the PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following additional instructions:

If you answered “Yes” to the question “Are Human Subjects Involved?” on the R&R Other Project Information form, you must include at least one human subjects study record using the Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information form or Delayed Onset Study record.

Study Record: PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

Delayed Onset Study

Note: Delayed onset does NOT apply to a study that can be described but will not start immediately (i.e., delayed start).All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS Assignment Request Form

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code (if applicable), eRA Commons, and Grants.gov.

4. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time. If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

It is anticipated that the terms of the award will include, but not be limited to the following:

  • The requested salary support for the Research Specialist should be commensurate with the level of effort on the institution’s NCI-funded clinical trials.
  • A Research Specialist is required to spend at least 2.4 to a maximum of 4.8 person-months of his/her effort NCI’s clinical trials with salary supported by this award, and , with a maximum of 6.0 person-months salary from all NCI grants.
  • The award would allow application for travel funds but would not cover research expenses. Research expenses must be covered from other sources awarded to the Institution.
  • A Research Specialist would have the option, with prior NCI approval, to move to another research program or institution.
  • The R50 must be relinquished if any substantial (not including R21, R03) NIH funding is subsequently obtained by the Research Specialist.
  • Change of PD/PI (Research Specialist) will not be allowed on the R50.
7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit How to Apply – Application Guide. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Dealing with System Issues guidance. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

Important reminders:

All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review. Applications that are incomplete, and non-compliant will not be reviewed.

 

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in the policy. Any instructions provided here are in addition to the instructions in the policy.

Section V. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.  Applications submitted to the NIH in support of the NIH mission are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

For this particular announcement, note the following:
The Research Specialist Award applications do not require preliminary data, specific aims, and/or a detailed research plan.

Accordingly, reviewers will emphasize the following:

  • Personal accomplishments of the Research Specialist, both individually and within the context of supporting the nominating institution’s clinical trials program(s).
  • The contributions of the Research Specialist to the cancer clinical trials program(s) of the institution to date and the NCI-sponsored clinical trials networks.
  • The scope of NCI funded clinical trials at the institution, which the Research Specialist will support
  • The importance of the Research Specialist, as well as the commitment of the institution, to the proper and successful functioning of the institution’s clinical trials effort.
  • The institution’s level of accomplishments, research productivity, and adequacy of NCI funding support for clinical trials.
  • The letter of institutional support and commitment as well as letters of recommendation from other investigators.
Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project rigorous? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Specific to this FOA:

  • How well has the applicant demonstrated substantial contributions to the NCI-sponsored clinical trials, including NCI networks, implemented at the institution?
  • How well has the institution’s clinical trials program(s) contributed significantly to the prevention, control, or treatment of cancer?
  • How much has the applicant contributed to the recruitment of underrepresented minorities and women to clinical trials?
  • How will the proposed activities of the Research Specialist contribute to the productivity of the institution’s clinical trials program and participation in the NCI-sponsored clinical trials network research program(s)?

Investigator(s)

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or those in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?

Specific to this FOA:

  • How well does the Research Specialist's level of training, experience, and competence commensurate conform with the purposes of the award?
  • How well has the applicant demonstrated the importance of the proposed Research Specialist role in the clinical trials program(s)?
  • Has the applicant been critical for and contributed to the successes of the institution’s participation in NCI-sponsored clinical trials and networks?
  • How has the applicant prioritized contributions to NCI-funded clinical research activity in their career?
  • How appropriate are the time and effort for the proposed work?
  • Are the career goals of the Research Specialist appropriate for the R50?
  • How well do the letters of recommendation address the Research Specialist's potential for continued success/productivity?

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

Specific to this FOA:

  • Do the Research Specialist’s contributions to the institution’s clinical trials infrastructure assist the institution to effectively and efficiently address compliance with regulations for clinical trials conduct?
  • Is it likely that the Research Specialist will develop any internal processes and procedures that will address and improve the clinical trials infrastructure and enhance the applicant institution’s ability to contribute to NCI-sponsored clinical trials?

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Have the investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults), justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

Specific to this FOA:

  • How likely is it that the Research Specialist will develop new research capabilities and/or approaches that will allow progress in the institution’s clinical trials program to improve efficiencies and address novel opportunities in the research program(s)?
  • How important and significant are the clinical scientist’s contributions to the successful conduct of the clinical trials in the institution’s clinical trials program(s)?

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?

Specific to this FOA:

  • How well does the institution’s NCI-supported and/or NCI-funded clinical trials portfolio justify the proposed level of effort of the Research Specialist?
  • Does the institution provide sufficient support and research resources for the applicant and NCI-funded and NCI-supported clinical trials?
  • How appropriate iss thecommitment of the institution to ensure that the requested level of effort in person-months will be devoted to NCI-sponsored clinical trials?
  • How well has the institution committed to continuing support of the effort of the Research Specialist?
Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Individuals Across the Lifespan

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals of all ages (including children and older adults) to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following criteria: (1) description of proposed procedures involving animals, including species, strains, ages, sex, and total number to be used; (2) justifications for the use of animals versus alternative models and for the appropriateness of the species proposed; (3) interventions to minimize discomfort, distress, pain and injury; and (4) justification for euthanasia method if NOT consistent with the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Reviewers will assess the use of chimpanzees as they would any other application proposing the use of vertebrate animals. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Resubmissions

For Resubmissions, the committee will evaluate the application as now presented, taking into consideration the responses to comments from the previous scientific review group and changes made to the project.

Renewals

For Renewals, the committee will consider the progress made in the last funding period.

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable.

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans

Generally, Resource Sharing Plans are expected, but they are not applicable for this FOA.

Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources:

For projects involving key biological and/or chemical resources, reviewers will comment on the brief plans proposed for identifying and ensuring the validity of those resources.

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the NCI, in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications will receive a written critique.

Applications may undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications . Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Cancer Advisory Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.

3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date.

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information

1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the recipient's business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website. This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

Institutional Review Board or Independent Ethics Committee Approval: Recipient institutions must ensure that protocols are reviewed by their IRB or IEC. To help ensure the safety of participants enrolled in NIH-funded studies, the awardee must provide NIH copies of documents related to all major changes in the status of ongoing protocols.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Recipients, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

Recipients of federal financial assistance (FFA) from HHS must administer their programs in compliance with federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age and, in some circumstances, religion, conscience, and sex. This includes ensuring programs are accessible to persons with limited English proficiency. The HHS Office for Civil Rights provides guidance on complying with civil rights laws enforced by HHS. Please see https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/provider-obligations/index.html and http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/civilrights/understanding/section1557/index.html.

HHS recognizes that research projects are often limited in scope for many reasons that are nondiscriminatory, such as the principal investigator’s scientific interest, funding limitations, recruitment requirements, and other considerations. Thus, criteria in research protocols that target or exclude certain populations are warranted where nondiscriminatory justifications establish that such criteria are appropriate with respect to the health or safety of the subjects, the scientific study design, or the purpose of the research. For additional guidance regarding how the provisions apply to NIH grant programs, please contact the Scientific/Research Contact that is identified in Section VII under Agency Contacts of this FOA.

Please contact the HHS Office for Civil Rights for more information about obligations and prohibitions under federal civil rights laws at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/about-us/contact-us/index.html or call 1-800-368-1019 or TDD 1-800-537-7697.

In accordance with the statutory provisions contained in Section 872 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), NIH awards will be subject to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) requirements. FAPIIS requires Federal award making officials to review and consider information about an applicant in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) prior to making an award. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself that a Federal agency previously entered and is currently in FAPIIS. The Federal awarding agency will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgement about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 45 CFR Part 75.205 “Federal awarding agency review of risk posed by applicants.” This provision will apply to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements except fellowships.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not Applicable

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A final RPPR, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement.

In accordance with the regulatory requirements provided at 45 CFR 75.113 and Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75, recipients that have currently active Federal grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies with a cumulative total value greater than $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of a Federal award, must report and maintain the currency of information reported in the System for Award Management (SAM) about civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings in connection with the award or performance of a Federal award that reached final disposition within the most recent five-year period.  The recipient must also make semiannual disclosures regarding such proceedings. Proceedings information will be made publicly available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS).  This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313).  As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available.  Full reporting requirements and procedures are found in Appendix XII to 45 CFR Part 75 – Award Term and Conditions for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons, application errors and warnings, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, and post-submission issues)

Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

General Grants Information (Questions regarding application instructions, application processes, and NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-945-7573

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and Workspace)
Contact Center Telephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Deborah Jaffe, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6169
Email: jaffed@nih.gov

Krzysztof Ptak, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-706-6106
Email: krzysztofptak@nih.gov
 

Peer Review Contact(s)

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6390
Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Crystal Wolfrey
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6277
Email: wolfreyc@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 75.


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