Release Date:  November 25, 1998

RFA:  CA-98-026


National Cancer Institute

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  February 16, 1999
Application Receipt Date:  March 22, 1999


The purpose of the NCI Scholars Program is to provide an opportunity for
outstanding new investigators to begin their independent research careers first
within the special environment of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and second
to continue their careers at an institution of their choice.  This program is
designed to encourage exceptionally well qualified new investigators to establish
themselves in the cancer research field by providing them with independent
research funding.  This is accomplished by providing through an NCI intramural
funding mechanism for three to four years the necessary resources to initiate an
independent research program at the NCI, followed by support for two years
through an extramural funding mechanism (K22) of their research program at the
extramural institution to which they are recruited.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000," a PHS-led national
activity for setting priority areas. This Request for Applications (RFA), The NCI
Scholars Program, is related to the priority area of human resource development. 
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full Report:
Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report: Stock No. 017-001-00473-1 through
the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC
20402-9325 (Telephone: 201-512-1800), or at


Individuals with a research or health professional doctoral level degree or
equivalent, who are recognized by their peers and mentors as exceptional but with
no more than five years of postdoctoral research training at the time of
application,  are eligible to apply.  These individuals should possess
outstanding abilities in basic biomedical, clinical or population-based (e.g.,
epidemiological, behavioral, prevention or control) research, mathematics, or in
technology-based research.  This includes individuals with research experience
in any environment (e.g., academic, industry, government).  Individuals who have
had more than five years of postdoctoral research training at the time of
application are NOT eligible to apply; however, clinical training does not count
against the five years of research experience.  Individuals who have been
principal investigators on either Public Health Service (PHS) research grants
(e.g., R29, R01, P01 or its subprojects) or non-PHS peer reviewed research grants
are NOT eligible to apply for this award.  Postdoctoral fellows in intramural
programs at the NCI who meet the Eligibility Requirements are eligible to apply,
but will not be placed in Laboratories/Branches where they have previously

Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.  Candidates must be U.S. citizens
or non-citizen nationals, or must have been lawfully admitted for permanent
residence and possess an Alien Registration Card (I-151 or I-152) or some other
verification of legal admission as a permanent U.S. resident, at the time of the
award.  Non-citizen nationals, although not U.S. citizens, owe permanent
allegiance to the U.S.  They are usually born in lands that are not states, but
are under U.S. sovereignty, jurisdiction, or administration.  Individuals on
temporary or student visas are NOT eligible to apply.

All applicants are encouraged to contact the NCI regarding their eligibility for
this award (see Inquiries Section).


The NCI Scholars Program consists of an Intramural Phase and an Extramural Phase. 
The program begins with up to four years of support for the Scholar's independent
research initiative in the NCI's intramural research program.  Salary and
research costs for this phase will be derived exclusively from intramural NCI
resources.  There is no grant award associated with this phase. The final two
years of the Scholar's research program are supported by the extramural
institution to which the scholar is recruited and will be funded through an
extramural, non-competing, NIH Career Transition Award (K22) mechanism. 
Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project
will be solely that of the applicant.


It is anticipated that applications for the NCI Scholar's Program will be
solicited annually.  Each annual solicitation will indicate the general areas of
research and the number of positions that will be sponsored.  For the Intramural
Phase, approximately $1,500,000 per year for up to four years will be set aside
to fund about 10 awards.  However, this funding level is dependent upon the
receipt of a sufficient number of applications of outstanding scientific merit
as evaluated by peer review (see section on REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS).  The number
of Scholars who can be supported is based upon the availability of resources and
space in each sponsoring intramural Division.

For the Extramural Phase, approximately $1,250,000 per year in direct costs will
be available to fund about 10 awards, providing support for salaries and partial
operating costs.  It is important to note that a sponsoring extramural
institution may submit a non-competing continuation application only after the
Scholar has been notified in writing that the NCI Progress Review Committee has
recommended approval of the transition to the Extramural Phase of the award.  The
individuals noted in the section on INQUIRIES should be consulted
for any clarifications of intent or content.

Although this program is provided for in the financial plans of the NCI, the
support of research programs pursuant to this RFA is also contingent upon the
availability of funds for this purpose.



For decades, the intramural research program of the National Cancer Institute has
provided an extraordinary research environment for the training of new scientists
who go on to become leaders in the extramural biomedical research community. In
addition to enhancing the role of the NCI intramural research program in training
and enriching the NCI intramural research environment with new investigators, the
Scholar's Program is uniquely designed to facilitate the transition of the NCI
Scholars to independent research careers in the extramural community.

Goals and Scope

The NCI Scholar's Program is designed to enable exceptional junior investigators
in basic, clinical or population-based biomedical research to establish their
first independent research program.  This would include individuals with
backgrounds in specialized fields such as mathematics, technology development,
etc., who wish to initiate cancer research programs.  The Program offers a novel
opportunity for new investigators who are exceptionally talented to establish an
independent research program early in their careers.  NCI Scholars will
independently design and pursue their research projects with facilities, and
operating budget for salary and personnel provided by NCI.  NCI Scholars will be
responsible for all aspects of their research program, including the progress of
the research and the management of allocated resources.  While the Scholars will
not have a formal research mentor, they will receive orientation and guidance
into the NCI/NIH environment and other support necessary to carry out their

The NCI intramural divisions invite applications for the NCI Scholars Program in
the following scientific areas:

o  The Division of Basic Sciences encourages applications from candidates with
an exceptional ability to identify key research problems and strong evidence of
the ability  to develop and run an independent, focused, hypothesis driven
research program.

o  Applications are invited in the general research areas of cell biology, cancer
genetics and immunology.  For example, proposals could address problems relating
to cellular transformation, oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, apoptosis, signal
transduction, gene regulation, chromatin structure, structural biology, cellular
carcinogenesis, tumor biology, viral immunology, tumor immunology, developmental
biology, and cell cycle regulation.

o  The Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics encourages applications from
candidates with experience and interest in pursuing epidemiologic or
interdisciplinary research into environmental and genetic determinants of cancer.

o  Areas of special research interest include: lifestyle factors such as diet and
nutrition, tobacco and alcohol, and physical activity; genetic and familial
susceptibility; occupational exposures and environmental pollution; medicinal
agents; infectious agents; radiation exposures; and methodologic research in
biostatistics, exposure assessment, and genetic and molecular epidemiology.

 o  The Division of Clinical Sciences encourages applications from candidates
engaged in cancer genetics and cancer biology research.  Specific topics of
interest include: exploratory technologies in interrogating the human genome,
gene expression, the molecular biology of angiogenesis and the cell cycle.
Applications are also encouraged from candidates with training in the basic
sciences, mathematics, or with technology-based research experience who want to
develop their research programs in the unique multidisciplinary environment of
the Division of Clinical Sciences, interface with ongoing intramural research on
human cancer, and translate their research findings into clinical practice.

Allowable Costs

Intramural Phase: The budget for the intramural support phase will be
approximately $200,000 per year in total costs excluding equipment. The final
budget for this phase of the award will be negotiated with the sponsoring NCI
intramural division and will depend upon the nature and scope of the research as
recommended by the peer review process.

Salaries will be provided for the Scholar and up to two additional support
positions (e.g., a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) fellow and a Cancer
Research Training Award (CRTA) technical fellow.)  The salary range for the
Intramural Phase of the Scholar's award is $46,000 to $60,000 per annum.  The
salary will be based upon the Scholar's level of training and experience and will
be determined through negotiation with the sponsor.  Stipends for CRTA fellows
and technical fellows are based on their highest degree(s) attained and years of
experience and are posted in the CRTA guidelines.

Up to $22,500 per person per year will be provided for research supplies and
services, including chemicals, biologicals, etc.  A Scholar with two CRTA fellows
would have a supplies and services budget up to $67,500.

Additional budget expenses, such as animal costs and required equipment, will be
provided as necessary and negotiated with the NCI. Equipment purchased for the
Scholar during the Intramural Phase will not be transferable to the extramural

Extramural Phase: The budget for the two-year extramural transition phase may not
exceed $125,000 plus fringe benefits per year in direct costs.

At the extramural institution, Scholars will be provided salary support of up to
$75,000 plus applicable fringe benefits commensurate with the applicant
institution's salary structure for persons of equivalent qualifications,
experience and rank.  The total salary requested must be based on a full-time,
12-month staff appointment and there should be no less than 75 percent effort
devoted by the Scholar specifically to the proposed research program.  The
institution may supplement the NCI contribution. However, supplementation may not
be from Federal funds unless specifically authorized by the Federal program from
which such funds are derived.  In no case may PHS funds be used for salary
supplementation.  Institutional supplementation of salary may not require extra
duties or responsibilities that would interfere with the purpose of this award. 
Under expanded authorities, institutions may carry over unexpended funds into the
next budget period and rebudget funds within the total costs awarded but may not
rebudget funds involving the salary component of the budget.  The total salary
requested must be based on a full time 12- month staff appointment.

Up to $50,000 per year in direct costs will be provided to partially support
ancillary personnel, supplies, equipment, travel, tuition, and other costs which
are deemed essential for the individual's research program.

Indirect costs are now reimbursed at 8%.

During the Extramural Phase, the Scholar is encouraged to apply for additional
support through investigator-initiated research grants, e.g., R01, R03, R21.  The
K22 and an R series grant may be held concurrently, but salary can only be
provided through the K22 (and supplements as noted above) during the overlap

Special Restrictions

Acceptance into the NCI Scholar's Program does not convey any commitment or
intent of the NCI to consider the Scholar for a tenure track position within the
NCI.  The NCI Scholars Program is specifically intended to help develop
scientists who will pursue their careers in the extramural biomedical research
community. However, NCI Scholars are not explicitly precluded from applying for
available tenure track positions at the NIH.  If a Scholar obtains an NIH
position, the NCI Scholar's Career Transition Award (K22) will be terminated.


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their
subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and behavioral
research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling
rationale and justification is provided 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 (Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the NIH
Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research
which were published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994 (FR 59
14508-14513), and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, Number
11, March 18, 1994.

Investigators may obtain copies from these sources or from the program staff or
contact person listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional
relevant information concerning the policy.


It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by NIH,
unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them. This policy
applies to all applications submitted in response to this RFA.  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 was published in the NIH Guide For Grants And Contracts,
March 6, 1998 and is available at the following URL address:


Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by February 16, 1999, a letter of
intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed research, the name,
address, telephone and FAX numbers, and email address of the Principal
Investigator, and the number and title of the RFA in response to which the
application may be submitted.  Although a letter of intent is not required, is
not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, it
allows NCI staff to estimate the potential review workload and avoid conflict of
interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Lester Gorelic at the address listed


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in applying
for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional offices of
sponsored research; from the Division of Extramural Outreach and Information
Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910,
Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone: 301/710-0267, Email:; and
on the world wide web at

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form must be
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  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.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application and three signed
photocopies in one package to:

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 must be sent

Ms. Toby Friedberg
Division of Extramural Activities
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, Room 636
Bethesda, MD  20892-7407
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)

Applications must be received by March 22, 1999.  If an application is received
after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.  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.  The CSR will not accept any
application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed.  This does not
preclude the submission of substantial revisions of applications already
reviewed, but such applications must include an introduction addressing the
previous critique.

The initial application for the NCI Scholars Program will not be processed
through your current institution; therefore, follow the supplemental guidelines

Supplemental Application Guidelines

The RFA title (NCI Scholar's Program) and the RFA number must be typed on line
2 of the face page of the application, and the YES box must be marked.

The applicant must provide her/his signature in item 15; signature is not
required for item 16.

Leave items 9-14 and 16 on the face page blank.

Enter in item 6 (Dates of Proposed Period of Support) the combined 6 years of
support needed to complete the intramural and the extramural support phases of
the NCI Scholars Program.

A Checklist Page is NOT to be submitted.

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens must provide an official certified
transcript covering medical school or the graduate school level of education.

A total of three sealed letters of reference from well-established basic or
clinical scientists must be provided.  One letter should be from the most recent
mentor in either a postdoctoral research setting or from the applicant's thesis
advisor.  These letters are to be attached to the face page of the original
application.  The letters should address the following issues:

o  The applicant's past contributions to scientific achievements

o  The applicant's special potential to pursue and develop an independent
research program

o  The applicant's ability to work with other scientists in various interactive
situations, (e.g., seminars, journal clubs, etc.), on collaborative research
projects, and with support staff (e.g., technicians, secretaries).

Career Development Plan:

Applicants should describe their overall career goals and plans for continued
scientific development in their research career, including the need for any
courses, research techniques or methods, etc.

Research Plan:

The scientific objectives and specific aims should describe research plans that
are sufficient to justify up to four years of support.  Applicants should also
provide future research directions for the extramural support phase, i.e., what
are the broad research goals and potential avenues of research that would be
stimulated by your specific research project.


Do NOT provide any dollar figures in the application.  The final budget will be
negotiated when a selected applicant accepts a position and will be within the
allowable costs specified above as well as consistent with the peer-reviewed
recommended scope of the research program.

Using continuation pages as needed, provide in a detailed narrative format
justification for the budgetary needs of the proposed research program, e.g.
personnel, consultants, equipment, animals, patient populations, databases,
supplies and travel.  This justification should be prepared carefully, since it
will be a critical factor used by peer reviewers in evaluating the applicant's
knowledge and ability to manage the proposed research project.

Extramural (Transition) Phase:

After the Scholar/Awardee receives approval in writing for the transition to
extramural support (See section on SELECTION PROCESS, Extramural Phase), the
Scholar should contact NCI staff for change of institution procedures (see
section on INQUIRIES).


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by the Center for Scientific Review
(CSR) for completeness.  Incomplete applications will be returned to the
applicant without further consideration.  Applications also will be evaluated for
responsiveness to this RFA.  This will be done by program staff of the NCI, the
main criteria being the applicant's eligibility and whether or not the research
proposal is reasonably within the scientific areas of interest declared by the
participating intramural divisions of the NCI (see section on RESEARCH
OBJECTIVES, Goals and Scope).  Applications that are not responsive to the
objectives of the RFA will be returned to the applicant without review.

Applications that are complete and responsive to this RFA will be evaluated for
scientific and technical merit in accordance with the review criteria stated
below by an appropriate extramural initial peer review group (IRG) convened by
the NCI Division of Extramural Activities. As part of the initial merit review,
all applications will receive a written critique and may 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 and receive a second level of review by the National
Cancer Advisory Board.

Review Criteria:

The peer review criteria for applications submitted in response to this RFA are:


o Capacity to carry out independent research based on level of training,
experience and competence commensurate with the purposes of this award.

o Past and present research productivity, e.g., contributions to the scientific
literature; success in obtaining fellowships.  The level of achievement will be
judged relative to the number of years of training.

o Ability to conceptualize and organize a research approach that will make full
use of the six years of support offered under this program.

o The special qualities of the applicant to work in a scientifically interactive
setting and collaborate with other scientists.  This should be addressed in the
letters of reference (see section on APPLICATION PROCEDURES).

o Appropriateness of the applicant's Career Development Plan and the likelihood
that the award will contribute substantially to the continued scientific
development and productivity of the candidate.

o Potential to become an outstanding scientist who will make significant
contributions to the field.

Research Plan

o Quality and innovativeness of the research plan, including appropriateness and
adequacy of the experimental approach and methodology proposed to carry out the

o Potential of the research plan for contributing to the scientific literature.

o Suitability of the proposed specific aims for the initial three to four year
research program.

o Appropriateness of proposed future directions and broad research goals.

o Consistency of the research plan with the candidate's career goals.

o Where appropriate, adequacy of plans to include both genders and minorities and
their subgroups for the scientific goals of the research.  Plans for recruitment
and retention of subjects will also be evaluated.


o Justification of budget requests in relation to career development goals,
research aims and plans.

The initial review group will also examine: the appropriateness of proposed
project budget and duration; the adequacy of plans to include both genders and
minorities in their subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research and plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects; the adequacy
of plans for including children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research, or justification for exclusion; the provisions for the protection of
human and animal subjects; and the safety of the research environment.

Selection Process:

The priority score assigned to the application and the critique of the IRG will
be mailed to the applicant.

Intramural Phase

A Scholars Selection Committee (SSC) consisting of extramural scientists, senior
NCI scientists, and the Chief of the NCI Cancer Training Branch will identify the
highly meritorious candidates to be invited to the NCI for interviews/ seminars. 
Criteria for this selection will include the priority score and recommendations
of the initial peer review committee, and programmatic priorities.  The
recommendations of the SSC for each candidate will be reviewed for approval by
the NCI Executive Committee. A ranking and matching process by both interviewees
and the sponsoring intramural divisions will then be used to determine final
intramural unit assignments.  Candidates who are successfully matched with a host
intramural unit as a result of the recruitment process will be offered Scholars
Awards.  The Cancer Training Branch will coordinate the notification of the
candidates about the status of their application.

The specific terms of the intramural phase with be finalized in a "Scholars
Agreement." The applicant indicates his/her acceptance of the Scholars Award and
the specific intramural appointment terms by signing the Scholar's Agreement.

Extramural Phase

An NCI Progress Review Committee, comprised of ad hoc extramural and intramural
scientists, will conduct a formal scientific progress review no later than the
end of the third year of the Intramural Phase.  The results of the review will
be presented in writing to the Scholar.  Approval will result in eligibility for
the Extramural Phase funding of the Career Transition Award (K22) and up to an
additional year of intramural support to facilitate the transition to an
extramural laboratory.  Disapproval will result in a terminal fourth year of
intramural support with no transition funding.

Approval for the transition of the Scholar could be made at any time prior to the
third year of intramural support.  However, the maximum Extramural Phase would
remain at two years.

Prior to activation of the Extramural Phase of the program, the Scholar must
obtain a position as an independent researcher at an eligible sponsoring
extramural institution.  Application procedures for the non-competing NIH Career
Transition Award (K22) will be provided by the NCI Office of Administrative
Management (see section on INQUIRIES).


Applications will compete for available positions/funds with all other scored
applications submitted in response to this RFA.  The following will be considered
in making award decisions:  Qualifications and potential of the applicant and
quality of the proposed research project as determined by peer review;
programmatic priorities; and availability of funds.


Intramural Phase

Each Scholar's research program will be evaluated for progress on an annual basis
like all other independent intramural scientific research programs.  For this
purpose, the Scholar will prepare on an annual basis a progress report, which
will be evaluated by the corresponding laboratory/ branch chief and the
appropriate NCI division director.  Additionally, the NCI will conduct a formal
scientific progress review (See section on SELECTION PROCESS, Extramural Support
Phase) no later than the end of the third year.

Extramural (Transition) Phase

The awardee will follow the same procedure as all other extramural grantees by
submitting a progress report as part of the non-competing continuation
application.  A description of the research and career progress will be provided
including publications, current research grant support, and pending applications. 
These annual reports will be closely monitored by NCI staff to ensure that the
awardee is achieving the goals of the NCI Scholars Program. The NCI may solicit
information from the awardee after completion of the Extramural Phase regarding
their career progress, for the purpose of evaluating outcomes of the NCI Scholars


Letter of Intent Receipt:         February 16, 1999
Application Receipt:              March 22, 1999
Review by NCAB:                   September 1999
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  January 2000


Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged, especially during the planning
phase of the application to clarify any issues or questions from potential
applicants. NCI contacts for specific areas of expertise are listed below:

Direct inquiries regarding eligibility and other programmatic issues to:

Lester S. Gorelic, Ph.D.
Office of the Deputy Director for Extramural Sciences
National Cancer Institute
Executive Plaza North, Room 520
Bethesda, MD  20892-7390
Telephone: (301) 496-8580
FAX:  (301) 402-4472

Direct inquiries regarding the following to:

1.  Fiscal/administrative matters; and 2. At least two months prior to the
transition from the Intramural Phase to the Extramural Phase, for information on
procedures for submitting a non-competing PHS 398 application from the new
applicant organization:

Ms. Catherine Blount
Grants Administration Branch
National Cancer Institute
Executive Plaza South, Room 243
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-7800
Fax:  (301) 496-8601

Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:

Ms. Toby Friedberg
Division of Extramural Activities
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, Room 636, MSC 7399
Bethesda, MD 20892-7399
Rockville, MD  20850 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 496-3428
FAX:  (301) 402-0275


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number
93.398, Cancer Research Manpower.  Awards are made under the authorization of the
Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-41 0, as amended by
Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies
and Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Part 74 and 45 CFR Part 92.
This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of
Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The Public Health Service strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a
smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of 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 for children.  This is consistent with the PHS mission to
protect  and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

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