RELEASE DATE:  December 17, 2003
RFA Number:  RFA-CA-05-003 (This RFA has been reissued, see RFA-CA-06-003)
                           (see NOT-CA-04-013)

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH) 

National Cancer Institute (NCI) 

93.395, 93.396.
LETTER OF INTENT RECEIPT DATES: January 16, 2004; May 17, 2004; September 17, 

APPLICATION RECEIPT DATES: February 17, 2004; June 17, 2004; October 18, 2004  

o Purpose of this RFA
o Research Objectives
o Mechanisms of Support 
o Funds Available
o Eligible Institutions
o Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators
o Special Requirement 
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Letter of Intent
o Submitting an Application
o Supplementary Instructions
o Peer Review Process
o Review Criteria
o Receipt and Review Schedule
o Award Criteria
o Required Federal Citations


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) invites applications for research 
projects to evaluate the usefulness of emerging technologies that are ready 
for initial application to clinical or biological questions in cancer 
research.  Projects should be designed to demonstrate that the technology is 
robust and yields reproducible measurements.  Projects should also be 
designed to gather preliminary data to support the use of the technology in a 
future project(s) with a clinical or biological focus.  It is expected that 
some refinement or adaptation of the technology may be appropriate in the 
initial phase of the project, but projects requiring significant technology 
development effort are not appropriate. In addition, applications that 
propose the use of commercially available technology under standard 
conditions, or any technology that is already commonly accepted for the 
proposed use, are not appropriate.  (Applicants proposing projects focused on 
biological or clinical questions are encouraged to contact their program 
director to discuss appropriate funding opportunities).  

This initiative is part of a broader technology development program within 
the NCI.  That program underscores the desire of NCI to develop and integrate 
novel technologies focused on the molecular analysis of cancers and their 
micro-environment in support of cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment.  
In the research continuum of discovery, development, and delivery, this 
program thus emphasizes the link between development and delivery.  This 
specific initiative will serve as a tool to develop emerging technologies in 
an appropriate biological or clinical context.  

This RFA capitalizes on both the success and intent of the original NCI 
sponsored Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) program in 
bringing together a multi-disciplinary group of scientists and engineers to 
work on cancer and the expansion of interest in technology development across 
the NCI and other NIH institutes.  This continuation of the IMAT program 
consists of the following three initiatives: Innovative Technologies for the 
Molecular Analysis of Cancer; Innovations in Cancer Sample Preparation; and 
Application of Emerging Technologies for Cancer Research.     

This RFA is designed to replace and expand on the Applications of Innovative 
Technologies for the Molecular Analysis of Cancer (PAR-01-106). It will 
support studies which start with an unproven technology, adapt or refine the 
technology slightly as needed, and begin to generate biological data to 
assess the relative robustness of the technology in the chosen biological or 
clinical context.  Projects requiring significant technology development may 
be most suitable for RFA CA-05-002, Innovative Technologies for the Molecular 
Analysis of Cancer (
Technologies developed or adapted for sample preparation 
methodology may be most suitable for RFA CA-05-004, Innovations in Cancer 
Sample Preparation (
Applicants from small businesses are encouraged to submit 
applications to the parallel RFA for each IMAT initiative which utilizes the 
SBIR and STTR grant mechanisms (see MECHANISM OF SUPPORT).  Applications of 
in vivo imaging technologies and projects with bioinformatics or statistics 
as their primary focus are not included under this RFA.  Researchers who 
emphasize the assessment of in vivo imaging technologies as the primary focus 
of their grant application should contact the Cancer Imaging Program 
( ) for information on appropriate funding 
opportunities.  Researchers focusing on applying new bioinformatics or 
statistical techniques as the primary focus of their application should 
consider one of the BISTI initiatives 



In order to meet the goal of eliminating death and suffering due to cancer, 
the NCI will continue to support the development and application of creative 
methods to understand, prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.  In the past 
several decades, basic discovery research has revealed that cancer is a 
complex disease involving myriad molecular and cellular processes, and that 
cancers arise as the result of the gradual accumulation of genetic changes in 
specific cells. Identifying which subset of the genes encoded within the 
human genome can contribute to the development of cancer remains a challenge.  
The identification and characterization of these cancer genes and their 
associated gene products remains a high priority in cancer research.  New 
technologies and approaches not only address specific questions in basic 
research and clinical practice but are also beneficial in uncovering and 
developing new directions and paradigms in cancer research.  Taken together, 
these developments highlight the leading and critical role technological 
advances play throughout the NCI’s mission.

Identifying the molecular alterations that distinguish any particular cancer 
cell from a normal cell will ultimately help to define the nature and predict 
the pathologic behavior of that cancer cell as well as the responsiveness to 
treatment of that particular tumor.  By understanding the profile of 
molecular changes in any particular cancer, it will become possible to 
correlate the resulting phenotype of that cancer with molecular events.  
Resulting knowledge will offer the potential for a better understanding of 
cancer biology; the discovery of new tools and biomarkers for detection, 
diagnosis, and prevention studies; and new targets for therapeutic 
development.  Assessing the usefulness of emerging technologies applied in 
biologically or clinically relevant settings is crucial to moving these 
technologies from the hands of the technology developer into the hands of 
biological and clinical researchers.

As new technologies and experimental approaches develop, focus gradually 
shifts from assessment of technical feasibility toward application to 
biological and clinical research questions.  Novel technologies are invented 
and refined until technical feasibility has been demonstrated.  These new 
technologies (together with existing technologies which can be modified or 
adapted for new uses) then pass into a developmental phase.  It is during 
this phase that the technologies are first applied to the research or 
clinical uses for which they are intended.  If successful, this developmental 
phase produces two deliverables: a robust and reproducible tool and the 
preliminary supporting data resulting from its initial application.  Both of 
these deliverables form the basis for new biological or clinical research 
projects enabled by the new technologies.  

Objectives and Scope:

This RFA is intended to support projects to evaluate the usefulness of 
emerging technologies in appropriate biological contexts in order to assess 
reproducibility and produce preliminary data toward a biological or clinical 
question.  Technologies proposed for this RFA should be sufficiently advanced 
in development to be applied in a relevant clinical or biological context.  
(Applicants proposing to use technologies that still require significant 
development before they can be applied to the analysis of biological 
materials should consider applying to the Innovative Technologies for the 
Molecular Analysis of Cancer, RFA CA-05-002,  
Researchers may propose, in the R21 phase, to continue minor refinement of 
newly developed technologies or minor adaptations of existing technologies to 
new uses.  The R33 phase should be used for applying the technology in a 
relevant setting to generate the preliminary biological data to prove that 
the technology functions reproducibly and effectively in the chosen 
biological context.  These projects should provide investigators with 
sufficient data to demonstrate the capabilities of the technology in a 
biologically relevant setting.  These data may then be used by the 
investigator or by others to propose new projects using the technology to 
answer biological or clinical questions, through other existing program 
announcements (for example, see 
and or as investigator initiated R01 
applications.  The data generated may also be used by technology developers 
in partnership with clinical or biological investigators with questions that 
the new technology could elucidate or to partner with industry to further 
refine the technology into a commercial product.

It is expected that investigators who developed successful cancer-relevant 
technologies under previous IMAT initiatives or under the new RFA CA-05-002 
(Innovative Technologies for the Molecular Analysis of Cancer) will propose 
projects for this RFA.  However, this RFA is not limited to technologies 
developed under the IMAT program.  Investigators may propose to begin to 
utilize any emerging cancer-relevant technology.   Areas of emerging 
technologies of interest to be applied in these projects include, but are not 
limited to, those technologies that enable:

o In vitro scanning for and identification of the sites of chromosomal 
aberrations which reflect inherited aberrations or somatic alterations 
resulting from aging or oxidation, or exposure to radiation or carcinogens, 
including those that are suitable for scaling for use across whole genomes, 
detecting DNA adducts, or detecting rare variants in mixed populations;

o In vitro scanning for and identification of sites of mutations and 
polymorphisms that reflect inherited aberrations or variations, or somatic 
alterations resulting from aging, oxidation, or exposure to radiation or 
carcinogens, including those that are suitable for scaling for screening 
whole genomes, detecting DNA adducts, or identifying infrequently represented 
mutations in mixed populations of DNA molecules;

o Technologies for detection and characterization of nucleic acid sequences 
of novel exogenous infectious agents that may be present in human cancer;

o Highly specific and sensitive detection of specific mutations;  

o Detecting mismatch and recombinational DNA repair related to cancer 
susceptibility and drug sensitivity;

o In vitro multiplexed analysis of the expression of genes;

o In vitro detection of expression of proteins and their modified forms, 
including technologies suitable for expansion to profiling of all proteins 
expressed in cells, detecting rare variants in mixed populations, and 
detecting protein adducts involved in chemical mutation;

o Monitoring the function of proteins and genetic pathways, including 
measurement of ligand-protein complexes and technologies for monitoring 
protein function of all members of a class of proteins or a complete genetic 

o Delineating molecular expression, function and analysis at the cellular 
level in the context of both the whole body and in situ, including molecular 
imaging technologies suitable at this scale, contrast agents, gene 
amplification techniques and related data analysis tools;

o Technologies to elucidate molecular modifications of macromolecules that 
may be indicative of and critical to the transformation process; 

o Delivery technologies and approaches to enable faster and more accurate 
delivery of molecular and cellular labels and drugs to and within cells for 
research and treatment with the overall goals being speed, accuracy, and 
biocompatibility; and/or

o Development of high-throughput, quantitative assays for epigenetic 
alternations, e.g., acetylation and methylation, in promoter region of genes 
and histone proteins isolated from biological fluids and tissues.

For all projects proposed, it will be important to substantiate the ultimate 
value of and role for the technology in deciphering the molecular anatomy of 
cancer cells or analyzing the molecular profile of the individual.  Inherent 
in this early technology application is the potential for ultimately 
transferring knowledge gained, technology and/or methodology to other 
laboratories or the clinic.  In the case of technologies intended for use on 
clinical specimens or in patients, applications from or collaborations with 
investigators involved in the clinical research of cancer are encouraged.

This RFA will use NIH R21/R33 Phased Innovation Award and the R33 
Exploratory/Developmental Phase II award mechanisms.  Applicants will be 
solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed 
project.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  Future unsolicited, 
competing-continuation applications based on this project will compete with 
all investigator-initiated applications and will be reviewed according to the 
customary peer review procedures. The anticipated award date is seven to nine 
months after receipt date.  Applications that are not funded in the 
competition described in this RFA may be resubmitted as amended applications 
for the receipt dates listed in the RFA and its future issuances, if any.

This RFA uses just-in-time concepts.  It also uses the modular as well as the 
non-modular budgeting formats (see  Specifically, if 
you are submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 
or less, use the modular budget format.  Otherwise follow the instructions 
for non-modular budget research grant applications.  This program does not 
require cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement at  

Under this RFA, applicants can submit either a combined R21/R33 (Phased 
Innovation Award) application or the R33 application alone, if feasibility can 
be documented, as described in the SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTIONS section of this 
RFA.  Applications for R21 support alone will not be accepted.  The total 
project period for an application submitted in response to this RFA may not 
exceed the following duration: R33, 3 years; combined R21/R33 application, 4 
years.  In the combined application, the R21 phase cannot extend beyond 2 

For combined R21/R33 applications, the R21 phase may not exceed $100,000 
direct costs per year.  R21 budgets can exceed this cap to accommodate 
indirect costs to subcontracts to the project.  It is strongly recommended 
that applicants contact NCI staff at an early stage of application development 
to convey critical information, such as potentially large budget requests or 
to discuss programmatic adherence to the guidelines of the proposed project.  
Early contact with NCI staff is particularly critical relative to this RFA 
because it uses an expedited review procedure for the transition from the R21 
to the R33.  Refer to the INQUIRIES sections of this program announcement for 
NCI staff contacts.

The combined R21/R33 application offers two advantages over the regular 
application process:

o Single submission and evaluation of both the R21 and the R33 as one 
application; and

o  Minimal or no funding gap between R21 and R33.  

The award of R33 funds will be based on program priorities, on the 
availability of funds and on successful completion of negotiated scientific 
milestones as determined by NCI staff in the context of peer review 

To be eligible for the Phased Innovation Award, the R21 phase must include 
well-defined quantitative milestones that will be used to judge the success of 
the proposed research as well as a credible plan for the pilot application of 
technology for the R33 phase.  The Phased Innovation Award must have a section 
labeled Milestones at the end of the Research Plan of the R21 application.  
This section must include well-defined quantitative milestones for completion 
of the R21 part of the application, a discussion of the suitability of the 
proposed milestones for assessing the success in the R21 phase, and a 
discussion of the implications of successful completion of these milestones 
for the proposed R33 study.

This program will run in parallel with a program of identical scientific scope 
(RFA CA-05-007) that will utilize the Small Business Innovation Research 
(SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) mechanisms.

NCI intends to commit approximately $3,000,000 in FY 2005 to fund six to 
eight new and/or competitive continuation grants in response to this RFA. An 
applicant may request a project period, up to 3 years for an R33, and up to 4 
years for a combined R21/R33, of which the R21 portion may be no more than 2 
years.   An applicant may request a budget for direct costs of up to $100,000 
per year for the R21 portion of R21/R33 applications.  Budgets for R33 grant 
applications and the R33 portion of R21/R33 grant applications should be 
appropriate for the science proposed.  Because the nature and scope of the 
proposed research will vary from application to application, it is 
anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although 
the financial plans of the NCI provide support for this program, awards 
pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds and the 
receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. 
You may submit (an) application(s) if your institution has any of the 
following characteristics:   
o For-profit or non-profit organizations 
o Public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, 
and laboratories 
o Units of State and local governments
o Eligible agencies of the Federal government  
o Domestic or foreign institutions/organizations

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry 
out the proposed research is invited to work with their institution 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 programs.   

An annual meeting of all investigators funded through this program will be 
held to share progress and research insights that may lead to further progress 
in the program.  Applicants should request travel funds in their budgets for 
the principal investigator and one additional senior investigator to attend 
this annual meeting.


We encourage inquiries concerning this RFA and welcome the opportunity to 
answer questions from potential applicants.  Inquiries may fall into four 
areas:  scientific/research, intellectual property, peer review, and 
financial or grants management issues:

o Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Gregory J. Downing, D.O., Ph.D.
Office of Technology and Industrial Relations
National Cancer Institute
Building 31, Room 10A52
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1550
FAX:  (301) 496-7807

o Questions regarding intellectual property management plans should be 
directed to:  
Wendy Patterson, J.D. 
National Cancer Institute
Technology Transfer Branch
6120 Executive Boulevard, EPS Room 450
Bethesda, MD 20892-8329
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 496-0477

o Direct your questions about peer review issues to:

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute
Division of Extramural Activities
6116 Executive Boulevard, Room 8041, MSC 8329
Bethesda, MD 20892-8329
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 496-3428
FAX: (301) 402-0275 

o Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

Shane Woodward 
Grants Administration Branch
National Cancer Institute
6120 Executive Boulevard, EPS Room 243
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Bethesda, MD 20892-7150
Telephone:  301-846-1017 
Fax:  301-496-8601
Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes 
the following information:

o Descriptive title of the proposed research
o Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator
o Names of other key personnel 
o Participating institutions
o Number and title of this RFA 

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not 
enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it 
contains allows NCI staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan 
the review.
The letter of intent is to be sent at least one month prior to the targeted 
receipt date.  The receipt dates and respective letter of intent dates are 
listed at the beginning of this document.  The letter of intent should be 
sent to:

Gregory J. Downing, D.O., Ph.D.
Office of Technology and Industrial Relations
National Cancer Institute
Building 31, Room 10A52
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1550
FAX:  (301) 496-7807


Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application 
instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001).  Applications must have a Dun and 
Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the 
Universal Identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative 
agreements. The DUNS number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or 
through the web site at The DUNS number 
should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form. The PHS 
398 document is available at in an interactive 
format.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone: (301) 710-0267, Email:



Applications for R21/R33 grants are to be submitted on the grant application 
form PHS 398 and prepared according to the instructions provided unless 
specified otherwise within this section.  

The R21/R33 application must include the specific aims for each phase and the 
feasibility milestones that would justify transition to the R33 phase.  
Applications must include a specific section labeled milestones following the 
Research Plan of the R21 phase.  Milestones should be well described, 
quantitative, and scientifically justified.  For funded applications, 
completion of the R21 negotiated milestones will elicit an NCI expedited 
review that will determine whether or not the R33 should be awarded.  The 
release of R33 funds will be based on successful completion of negotiated 
scientific milestones, program priorities, and on the availability of funds.  
The expedited review may result in additional negotiations of award.

The R21/R33 Phased Innovation Award application must be submitted as a single 
application, with one face page.  Although it is submitted as a single 
application, it should be clearly organized into two phases.  To accomplish a 
clear distinction between the two phases, applicants are directed to complete 
Sections a-d of the Research Plan twice: one write-up of Sections a-d and 
milestones for the R21 phase and sections a-d again for the R33 phase.  The 
Form 398 Table of Contents should be modified to show sections a-d for each 
phase as well as the milestones.  There is a page limit of 25 pages for the 
composite a-d text (i.e., sections a-d and milestones for the R21 and sections 
a-d for the R33 phase must all be contained within the 25 page limit.)

In preparing the R21/R33 application, investigators should consider the fact 
that applications will be assigned a single priority score.  In addition, the 
initial review panel has the option of recommending only the R21 phase for 
support.  However, a Phased Innovation Award application with an R33 Phase 
that is so deficient in merit that it is not recommended for support will 
reflect upon the judgment of the applicant.  For these reasons, the clarity 
and completeness of the R21/R33 application with regard to specific goals and 
feasibility milestones for each phase are critical.  The presentation of 
milestones that are not sufficiently scientifically rigorous to be valid for 
assessing progress in the R21 phase will reflect upon the scientific judgment 
of the applicant.

1.  Face Page of the application:

Item 2.  Check the box marked YES and type the number and title of this 
request for applications.  Also indicate if the application is a R21/R33 or 


For the R21 phase of the combined R21/R33 application, direct costs are 
limited to a maximum of $100,000 per year for a maximum of two years and the 
award may not be used to supplement an ongoing project.  The requested budgets 
can exceed this cap to accommodate for indirect costs to subcontracts to the 
project.  Insert the first year of R21 support in item 7a.


For the R21 phase, direct costs requested for the proposed period may not 
exceed $200,000 for two years of support.  The statement in item 7a above 
pertaining to subcontract costs also applies here.  Insert sum of all years of 
requested support in item 8a.

2.  Page 2 - Description:
As part of the description, identify concisely the technology or methodology 
to be applied, its innovative nature, its relationship to presently available 
capabilities, and its expected impact on the molecular analysis of cancer as 
well as the study in which the technology will be applied.

3.  Budget - The application should contain a modular budget for the Initial 
Budget Period (form page 4), for each of the initial years of the R21 and R33 
phases (or a detailed budget for R33 years that exceed $250,000 direct costs), 
as well as a budget for the entire proposed period of support (form page 5).  
Form pages should indicate which years are R21 and R33.  All budgets should 
include a written justification. 

4.  Research Plan:

Item a: Specific Aims

Applicants must present specific aims that are scientifically appropriate for 
the relevant phases of the project.

The instructions in the PHS 398 booklet for this section of research grant 
applications suggest that the applicant state the hypotheses to be tested.  
Since the goal of this RFA is to support the pilot application of innovative 
technologies, hypothesis testing per se may not be the driving force in 
developing such an application and, therefore, may not be applicable.  
Furthermore for R21/R33 grant applications, preliminary data are not required, 
although they should be included when available.  For both the R21 and R33 
phase, research that supports the pilot application of new technologies is 
likely to require the application of principles of fields such as engineering, 
materials science, physics, mathematics, and computer science.  Clear 
statements of these underlying principles within the specific aims section are 
essential.  Studies pursuing comprehensive analysis in particular may result 
in hypothesis generation, rather than hypothesis testing.  

Item d: Research Design and Methods

Follow the instructions in the PHS 398 booklet.  In addition, for the R21 
phase only, the following information must be included after Item d:

Applications must include a specific section labeled Milestones following the 
Research Design and Methods of the R21 phase.  Milestones should be well 
described, quantitative, and scientifically justified and not be simply a 
restatement of the specific aims.  Discuss the milestones relative to the 
success of the R21 phase as well as the implications of successful completion 
of the milestones for the R33 phase.  The page number of the milestones 
section should be indicated in the Table of Contents.  Applications lacking 
this information as determined by the NCI program staff will be returned to 
the applicant without review.  For funded applications, completion of the R21 
negotiated milestones will elicit an NCI expedited review that will determine 
whether or not the R33 should be awarded.  The release of R33 funds will be 
based on successful completion of negotiated milestones, program priorities 
and on the availability of funds. The expedited review may result in 
additional negotiations of award.


Applications for R33 grants are to be submitted on the grant application form 
PHS 398 and prepared according to the instructions provided unless specified 
otherwise within the items below.  

1.  Face Page of the application:

Item 2.  Check the box marked a YES and type the number and title of this 
program announcement and indicate R33.

2.  Research Plan:

Item c: Preliminary Studies/Progress report

This section must document that feasibility studies have been completed, and 
progress achieved, equivalent to that expected through the support of an R21 
project.  The application must clearly describe why and how the 
exploratory/developmental study is ready to scale up to an expanded 
application stage.  In the event that an applicant feels that the technology 
is too proprietary to disclose, applicants at a minimum should provide a 
demonstration (results) of the capabilities of the proposed technology.  
Preliminary data relevant to both the technology evaluations and the pilot 
biological study should be presented.


Appendix:   All instructions in the Form 398 application kit apply.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT PLAN:  Certain research plans will require 
collaboration and coordination between investigators at different 
institutions, some of whom may not be NIH funding recipients and who may have 
pre-existing intellectual property obligations to third parties.  It is 
anticipated that commercial embodiments of the results of such research may 
incorporate single inventions shared by several institutions, or multiple 
inventions each from a separate institution.  Therefore, prior to funding, 
R33 grant applicants must address how they will coordinate patent prosecution 
and licensing activities, if necessary to enable a licensee to access the 
bundle of intellectual property needed to take a product to market on 
commercially viable terms.  Suggested strategies include: (1) assigning 
intellectual property rights to related inventions to an invention management 
firm; (2) designating one organization to take the lead on patenting and 
licensing related inventions; and (3) agreeing in advance that if multiple 
parties are to independently license related inventions, the total of stacked 
royalties will not exceed a predetermined percentage rate. 

The technology transfer/ intellectual property management/licensing officer 
or equivalent of the principal investigator’s institution is to submit an 
intellectual property management plan, including at least those elements 
above.  Alternatives to the suggested strategies, which accomplish the same 
goals, will be considered.  Intellectual property management plans are a 
just-in-time requirement; it is not necessary to include the plan in the 
grant application but plans will be required before an R33 grant can be 

The applicant’s institution should avoid exclusively licensing those 
inventions that are research tools, unless either: (1) the field of use of 
the exclusive license is restricted to commercial use, or (2) the exclusive 
licensee will make the research tool available on reasonable terms.  
Applicants are directed to the NIH policy on the dissemination of biological 
research resources (“research tools”), which can be found at 

up to $250,000 per year in direct costs must be submitted in a modular grant 
format.  The modular grant format simplifies the preparation of the budget in 
these applications by limiting the level of budgetary detail.  Applicants 
request direct costs in $25,000 modules.  Section C of the research grant 
application instructions for the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) at includes step-by-step 
guidance for preparing modular grants.  Additional information on modular 
grants is available at

USING THE RFA LABEL: The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) 
application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of the 
application.  Type the RFA number on the label.  Failure to use this label 
could result in delayed processing of the application such that it may not 
reach the review committee in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title 
and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application form 
and the YES box must be marked. The RFA label is also available at:
SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH: Submit a signed, typewritten original of 
the application, including the Checklist and three signed photocopies, in one 
package to:
Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and all 
copies of the appendix material must be sent to:

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute
Division of Extramural Activities
6116 Executive Boulevard, Room 8041, MSC 8329
Bethesda, MD 20892-8329
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier service)

Appendices should be comprised of single-sided, unbound materials, with 
separators between documents. 
WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTED.  This policy does not apply to courier deliveries 
(i.e., FEDEX, UPS, DHL, etc.) 
This policy is similar to and consistent with the 
policy for applications addressed to Centers for Scientific Review as 
published in the NIH Guide Notice

APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be received on or before the 
application receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.  If an 
application is received after that date, it will be held until the next 
announced receipt date.  

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an 
application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding 
assignment within 8 weeks.
The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending 
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  This 
does not preclude the submission of a substantial revision of an unfunded 
version of an application already reviewed, but such an application must 
include an Introduction addressing the previous critique.  Applications that 
are not funded in the competition described in this RFA may be resubmitted as 
amended applications for the receipt dates listed in the RFA and its future 
issuances, if any.

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
responsiveness by the NCI.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications 
will not be reviewed

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated 
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group 
convened by the Division of Extramural Activities of the NCI in accordance 
with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit review, 
all applications will:

o Undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under 
review, will be discussed and assigned a priority score
o Receive a written critique
o Receive a second level review by the National Cancer Advisory Board.

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments, reviewers will be asked to evaluate the application in 
order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a 
substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. The scientific review group 
will address and consider each of these criteria in assigning the 
application’s overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each 

o Significance 
o Approach 
o Innovation
o Investigator
o Environment
The application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged 
likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority 
score.  For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work 
that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field 

SIGNIFICANCE: Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of 
the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? What 
will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive 
this field?

APPROACH: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses 
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the 
project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?

INNOVATION: Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? 
Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing 
paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

INVESTIGATOR: Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to 
carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level 
of the principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?

ENVIRONMENT: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done 
contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take 
advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful 
collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?  

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA: In addition to the above criteria, the following 
items will be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the 
priority score:

MILESTONES:  In the case of an R21/R33 application, are appropriate 
scientific milestones included that will show, if completed, at the end of 
the R21 period whether or not the project has shown feasibility to pursue the 
R33 portion of the project?  Are the milestones as quantitative as possible 
to assess feasibility?  

subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation 
in the proposed research will be assessed. (See criteria included in the 
section on Federal Citations, below.)
plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups 
(and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the 
research will be assessed.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of 
subjects will also be evaluated. (See Inclusion Criteria in the sections on 
Federal Citations, below.)

be used in the project, the five items described under Section f of the PHS 
398 research grant application instructions (rev. 5/2001) will be assessed.  


Sharing Research Data 

Applicants requesting more than $500,000 in direct costs in any year of the 
proposed research must include a data sharing plan in their application. The 
reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing 
research data will be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not 
factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific 
merit or priority score. 
BUDGET:  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period 
of support in relation to the proposed research will be assessed after the 
determination of the priority score.


Letter of Intent Receipt Dates: January 16, 2004; May 17, 2004; September 17, 

Application Receipt Dates: February 17, 2004; June 17, 2004; October 18, 

Peer Review Dates: June 2004; November 2004; March 2005

Council Reviews: September 2004; February 2005; June 2005.

Earliest Anticipated Start Dates: December 2004; April 2005; July 2005


Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o Scientific merit (as determined by peer review);
o Availability of funds; and
o Programmatic priorities.

HUMAN SUBJECTS PROTECTION:  Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that 
applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with 
reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against 
these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and 
others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained.

DATA AND SAFETY MONITORING PLAN: Data and safety monitoring is required for 
all types of clinical trials, including physiologic, toxicity, and dose-
finding studies (phase I); efficacy studies (phase II); efficacy, 
effectiveness and comparative trials (phase III).  The establishment of data 
and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical 
trials involving interventions that entail potential risk to the 
participants.   (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, June 12, 1998:

Clinical trials supported or performed by NCI require special considerations.  
The method and degree of monitoring should be commensurate with the degree of 
risk involved in participation and the size and complexity of the clinical 
trial.  Monitoring exists on a continuum from monitoring by the principal 
investigator/project manager or NCI program staff or a Data and Safety 
Monitoring Board (DSMB).  These monitoring activities are distinct from the 
requirement for study review and approval by an Institutional Review Board 
(IRB).  For details about the Policy for the NCI for Data and Safety 
Monitoring of Clinical trials, see:  For Phase I and II 
clinical trials, investigators must submit a general description of the data 
and safety monitoring plan as part of the research application.  See NIH 
Guide Notice on “Further Guidance on a Data and Safety Monitoring for Phase I 
and II Trials” for additional information:  
Information concerning essential elements of data safety monitoring plans for 
clinical trials funded by the NCI is available:

SHARING RESEARCH DATA:  Starting with the October 1, 2003, receipt date, 
investigators submitting an NIH application seeking more than $500,000 in 
direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data 
sharing or state why this is not possible. Investigators should seek 
guidance from their institutions, on issues related to institutional 
policies, local IRB rules, as well as local, state, and Federal laws and 
regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data 
sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of the 
scientific merit or the priority score.

the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations 
must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a 
clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is 
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of 
the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43.)

All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines 
for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research - 
Amended, October, 2001," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts 
on October 9, 2001 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are available at
The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical 
research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB 
standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical 
trials consistent with the new PHS Form 398; and updated roles and 
responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community.  The policy 
continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) 
all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of 
plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by 
sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; 
and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 

The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 
21) must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported 
by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include 
them. This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for 
receipt dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in 
research involving human subjects that is available at

policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for 
all investigators submitting NIH proposals for research involving human 
subjects.  You will find this policy announcement in the NIH Guide for Grants 
and Contracts Announcement, dated June 5, 2000, at  A 
continuing education program in the protection of human participants in 
research is available online at:

HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS (hESC): Criteria for federal funding of research 
on hESCs can be found at and at  Only 
research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem 
Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (see   
It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide, in the project 
description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH 
identifier(s) for the hESC line(s)to be used in the proposed research.  
Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without 

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to 
provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) under some circumstances.  Data that are (1) first produced in a 
project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) 
cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action 
that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed 
through FOIA.  It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope 
of this amendment.  NIH has provided guidance at

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this RFA in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the 
distribution for an indefinite period of time.  If so, the application should 
include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include 
information about this in the budget justification section of the 
application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure 
informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the 
potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to 
the “Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information”, 
the “Privacy Rule,” on August 14, 2002.  The Privacy Rule is a federal 
regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 
(HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable 
health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for 
Civil Rights (OCR). Those who must comply with the Privacy Rule (classified 
under the Rule as “covered entities”) must do so by April 14, 2003  (with the 
exception of small health plans which have an extra year to comply.) 

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside 
with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR website 
( provides information on the Privacy Rule, including 
a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on “Am I a covered 
entity?”  Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH 
processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, 
cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at

URLs IN NIH GRANT APPLICATIONS OR APPENDICES: All applications and proposals 
for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. 
Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) 
should not be used to provide information necessary to the review because 
reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites.   Furthermore, 
we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they 
directly access an Internet site.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010: The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to 
achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy 
People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This 
RFA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may 
obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS: This program is described in the Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance at and is not subject to the 
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health 
Systems Agency review.  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 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All 
awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other 
considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.  The NIH Grants 
Policy Statement can be found at

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free 
workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products.  In addition, 
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in 
certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which 
regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early 
childhood development services are provided to children.  This is consistent 
with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of 
the American people.

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
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