Release Date:  March 21, 2002

RFA:  CA-03-007 (Reissued as RFA-CA-08-004)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)

APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE:            August 15, 2002 
This RFA is a reissue of RFA-CA-01-019, which was published in the NIH Guide 
on February 5, 2001.


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


This initiative is the centerpiece of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) 
Extraordinary Opportunity in Cancer Communications. The purpose of the 
extraordinary opportunities is to identify areas of discovery that build upon 
important recent developments in knowledge and technology and that hold 
promise for making significant progress against all cancers. The novelty and 
scope of this initiative reflects the enormous potential of cancer 
communication to improve health and the NCI's recognition that effective 
communications can and should be used to narrow the enormous gap between 
discovery and the application of discoveries and to reduce health disparities 
among our citizens. The primary focus of the centers should be the 
advancement of cancer communication science through the generation of new 
knowledge rather than mere replication or minor modification of previous 
studies and theories. The RFA uses the P50 centers mechanism to invite 
applications for Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research 
(CECCRs). The Centers must include three or more individual hypothesis-driven 
research projects, plus a pilot or developmental research project process, 
cores and a plan for career development. To be effective, the Centers' 
research should integrate cancer communications appropriately into one or 
more contexts of the cancer continuum--from prevention through treatment to 
survivorship and end-of-life research. Communications research also is needed 
about challenging topics such as cancer information seeking, decision making 
under uncertainty, and genetic testing. Centers' research should provide 
insight into mechanisms underlying how cancer information is generated, 
accessed, attended to and/or processed. It is expected that the Centers' 
interdisciplinary efforts will result in new and/or improved syntheses, 
theories, methods and interventions, including those for diverse populations. 
The centers will provide essential infrastructure to facilitate rapid 
advances in knowledge about cancer communications, translate theory and 
programs into practice, and train health communication scientists. In 
essence, the Centers should catalyze major advances in cancer communication 
rather than "tinker" with well-developed hypotheses and interventions. 
Potential applicants are encouraged to consult the NCI's Bypass Budget 
( and for background 
about the NCI's goals and progress in cancer communications.  


Healthy People 2010 defines health communication as the research-based 
crafting and delivery of messages and strategies to promote the health of 
individuals and communities (

Communication is central to quality cancer care, from primary prevention to 
survivorship (Institute of Medicine (IOM), 1999).  There is a substantial literature 
that shows communication interventions can raise awareness of health problems 
and recommended actions, give people the information they need to make 
informed cancer-related decisions and motivate action (e.g., Skinner et al., 
1999; O'Connor et al., 1999; Science Panel on Interactive Communication and 
Health, 1999). The framers of the National Cancer Act of 1971 (and the 
subsequent amendments to that Act) were acutely aware of the central 
importance of cancer communication. Thus, they mandated that the NCI provide a 
program to disseminate scientific and other information regarding the causes, 
prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. Pursuant to this mandate, and 
mindful of the dramatic changes in the technologies of both health care and 
information, the NCI has dramatically expanded its commitment to cancer 
communications to ensure that all Americans have access to the cancer 
information they need and are able to use it effectively. As articulated in 
the Fiscal Year 2001, 2002 and 2003 NCI bypass budgets, The Nation's 
Investment in Cancer Research, the Institute is committed to improve knowledge 
about, tools for, access to, and use of high quality, evidence-based cancer 
communications regardless of race, ethnicity, health status, education, 
income, age, gender, culture, or geographic region. 

Health communication research is a vibrant field concerned with the powerful 
roles performed by human and mediated communication (Kreps, Bonaguro, & Query, 
1998). A wide range of scientists and communicators have been studying the 
process of effective communication and its impact on health for more than 25 
years, and much has been learned. There are increasingly refined theories of 
information processing, health communication and health behavior, including 
those that focus on how people represent and process health information, 
respond to cancer-related risks and change cancer-related behaviors. 
Intervention research on effective health communications has contributed to 
increasing proportions of Americans eating at least five fruits and vegetables 
per day, obtaining breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as to 
declining rates of smoking among many groups.

Changes in the role and accessibility of information are altering health care 
practices, patient-practitioner relationships and the way consumers and 
patients acquire and use information (Eng, et al., 1998; 1999; Patrick, 1999). 
Activated, empowered patients and direct-to-consumer advertising are changing 
the nature of practitioner-patient communications, and there is an opportunity 
to examine the impact of these altered relationships.  Home computer and 
Internet use are on the rise, with a recent survey reporting that almost 72 
percent of Americans had gone online in 2001 compared to about 67 percent in 
2000 (UCLA Internet Report 2001). Approximately sixty million people searched 
for on-line health information in 2000, and cancer information was one of the 
most sought-after topics (Pew Internet, 2000; Cyber Dialogue, 2000). Both 
consumers and professionals have, or will have, a host of new opportunities 
for creating, distributing and acquiring health information from the World 
Wide Web, individually-tailored print and multimedia materials, interactive 
computer games, interactive kiosks, wireless devices, and many other channels 
and sources.  But empirical evidence is critically needed about the efficacy 
and effectiveness of health communications interventions using these 
modalities. Data especially are needed about how these strategies can be used 
to meet the needs of diverse populations. A number of groups and reports, 
including most recently, the National Survey of Attitudes About Clinical 
Trials (The Cancer Letter, October 13, 2000), have emphasized the need for 
major new communication efforts about cancer clinical trials. With the rapid 
pace of discovery in the basic and clinical sciences, the aging of the U.S. 
population, the increasing population of cancer survivors, and the growing 
number of households in which someone is a caregiver for a person with cancer, 
the need and demand for high quality cancer information will continue to grow.

Patients are increasingly being asked to make decisions about health care 
choices, such as whether to get a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test or what 
treatment to choose for breast or prostate cancer (e.g., Entwistle et al., 
1998), and these decisions must be informed by effective communication. A 
significant proportion of patients are not satisfied with the communication 
component of their health care interactions, and want more information than 
they receive (e.g., Thorne, 1999). The development of effective interventions 
and tools for informed decision making should use the wealth of available 
evidence from fields such as education, instructional design, cognitive 
psychology, and human factors research. There is an evidence base that shows 
what can be achieved through decision aids, e.g., changes in knowledge and 
some other intermediate outcomes. More research is needed in these areas to 
develop interventions that can be extended beyond clinical settings as well as 
to additional, especially diverse, populations. 

The Science Panel on Interactive Communications and Health (Eng, 1999) 
concluded that few other health-related interventions have the potential of 
interactive health communications to simultaneously improve health outcomes, 
decrease health care costs and enhance consumer satisfaction. New information 
technologies, such as the Internet and World Wide Web, combine the attributes 
of both mass and interpersonal communication (Strecher, 1999). Yet, they 
should not replace older but effective strategies including mass media, one-
on-one counseling, and tailored print communication. Existing and new 
technologies should be integrated based on scientific knowledge to provide a 
menu of choices.

The increasing complexity of every element of cancer communications, from the 
understanding of cancer itself, to the rapid evolution of new media and the 
recognition of the manifold needs of diverse audiences, demands a broadly 
interdisciplinary approach.  Bringing people together from different 
disciplines can accelerate the speed with which discoveries are made, 
translated into researchable hypotheses and interventions and then developed 
into products that benefit people. A recent IOM report, Bridging Disciplines 
in the Brain, Behavioral and Clinical Sciences, stressed that "solutions to 
existing and future health problems will likely require drawing on a variety 
of disciplines and on approaches in which interdisciplinary efforts 
characterize not only the cutting edge of research, but also the utilization 
of knowledge" (IOM, 2000, p.2). 

Cancer communications will not be understood in a vacuum. Progress can be 
accelerated if clinicians work, for example, with psychologists, advocates, 
communication experts and patients to learn the best ways to engage patients 
in decision making or to talk about participation in clinical trials. 
Molecular biologists could collaborate with epidemiologists, psychologists, 
journalists, genetic counselors, communication scientists, philosophers, 
computer scientists, high risk persons and others to determine how to 
communicate about genetic mutations that predispose to cancer risks. 
Mathematicians, decision scientists, and medical anthropologists might be 
engaged in research on cancer risk communication. In addition, research teams 
would benefit from people who understand how to communicate and market in 
compelling, engaging ways in order to transcend the deluge of competing media. 
The challenges of cancer communications will not be surmounted if disciplines 
work in isolation. (Applicants should note that these disciplines are provided 
as illustrative and are not prescriptive. The team needed for any project 
depends on the problem.)

A significant increase in the size of the cancer communications research 
enterprise is needed to develop the next generation of research and 
interventions. At the same time, the enterprise must be informed by a greater 
scientific understanding of the mechanisms by which these communications work 
and a commitment to diffusion. The result should be both knowledge and 
practical strategies to enhance cancer communications and improve the control 
of cancer. 
Objectives and Scope    

In accordance with the National Cancer Institute's Extraordinary Opportunity 
in Cancer Communications (see, the NCI 
invites grant applications for Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communications 
Research (CECCR).  CECCRs are expected to conduct research that will lead to 
major scientific advances in knowledge about cancer communications and their 
translation into practice. There are several over-arching goals.  

o  Increase the number of investigators from relevant disciplines who focus on 
the study of cancer communications as part of interdisciplinary teams. 

o  Generate basic research evidence to improve understanding of the processes 
underlying effective cancer communication.

o  Support novel interdisciplinary research to inform medical and public 
health practitioners about how best to communicate to the public, patients, 
and cancer survivors.

o  Produce evidence-based communication interventions that can be used to 
modify cancer risk behaviors and improve informed decision-making and quality 
of life.

o  Increase the number of evidence-based interventions in under-studied areas, 
e.g., diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and end-of-life, and on understudied 

o  Train interdisciplinary investigators capable of conducting cutting-edge 
communications research directly relevant to the context of cancer prevention, 
detection, treatment, control, or survivorship.

o  Increase the number of peer-reviewed publications in the area of cancer 
communication systems and processes.

The focus can include, but is not limited to, cancer risk communication, 
evidence-based interventions to enhance cancer communication, communication 
methods for diverse and under-served populations, innovative communication 
strategies to increase informed decision making and participation in clinical 
trials, communication about genetic testing, survivorship and palliative 
care/end of life issues, as well as communication interventions to improve 
cancer prevention and early detection behaviors.  We also invite research to 
elucidate the psychological mechanisms underlying the cancer communication 
process, understand how people use cancer information, test innovative 
strategies to overcome the digital divide in access to cancer-related 
information, examine media coverage of cancer and factors that influence the 
generation of mediated information, and develop and evaluate methods to 
enhance the dissemination of evidence-based cancer communication 
interventions. Researchers are encouraged to examine the ethical issues 
associated with cancer communications as well as the cost-effectiveness of 
evidence-based interventions. Centers can conduct basic, intervention and 
dissemination research in a variety of settings, including laboratories, 
clinical and community settings. They do not have to cover all aspects of the 
cancer continuum; focus is expected. However, there should be a focus on 
translatability   from basic to intervention research to dissemination and 
sometimes back again (Hiatt and Rimer, 1999). In all this, the essential focus 
of the Centers is expected to be in the development and/or major improvement 
in our understanding of the science of cancer communications. 

Where possible, evidence-based research products should be put quickly into 
the public domain through Web-based access using open source tools. CECCRs 
investigators will be encouraged to share tools not only among themselves but 
also with the larger community. Software and other tools, such as Common 
Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts and interactive data-gathering tools, should 
be thoroughly documented for purposes of replication and dissemination. 
Investigators must provide evidence that they have a mechanism in place by 
which to disseminate evidence-based products and interventions that emerge 
from this research. Reliance on or production of proprietary technologies that 
would inhibit dissemination and replication is discouraged.

Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with other organizations. These may 
include any of the following, but the Centers are not required to do so nor 
are they limited to them: NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, Cancer 
Information Service, Special Populations Networks, and other NCI-funded 
research projects, such as the Cancer Family Registries, Cancer Genetics 
Networks, Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Centers (TTURCs) and the 
Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) as well as the Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and other 
voluntary health associations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National 
Science Foundation grantees, and industry. In addition, collaborations should 
be considered with universities, including Schools of Public Health, 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, public health agencies, 
community technology centers and other organizations. The active 
participation of advocacy groups and appropriate community organizations is 
encouraged. Relevant collaborations with NIH intramural programs can be 
included as well. 



Investigators should represent a broad range of disciplines working together 
to increase knowledge about cancer communications. Some centers might be 
virtual centers or collaboratories where the expertise is drawn from multiple 
locations.  Originally coined by the National Science Foundation by combining 
"collaboration" and "laboratory," collaboratories are secure, user-
configurable, virtual project spaces. Geared towards fostering inter-
organizational teamwork, they contain rich tools and services for research and 
development projects that span organizations, geographic regions, and time 

Studies can focus on one-to-one communication, interpersonal methods, such as 
small groups, mass media, print and electronic communications, new media or 
combinations thereof. Since communication strategies do not exist in a vacuum, 
it is likely that applications that focus on only one communications strategy 
will be less competitive.

To answer some questions, it may be appropriate to generate preliminary data 
via laboratory-based research and smaller-scale studies which permit highly 
controlled manipulation of the components of interventions before launching 
large-scale field trials crucial for determining effectiveness.

The level of specialization in different aspects of cancer communications 
research will vary from center to center, e.g., topics, points on the cancer 
continuum, populations, levels of analysis and types of research. However, the 
centers should focus thematically on areas in which there are significant gaps 
in knowledge and critical needs--where focused, collective, interdisciplinary 
efforts could make a difference. It is incumbent upon investigators to 
articulate the gap areas. It is expected that the CECCRs will catalyze problem 
solving and lead to more rapid advances in knowledge than would be possible by 
depending on individual investigators working in relative isolation. CECCRs 
should contribute to understanding what works and what does not work and why. 
In most cases, the studies will require a recognition of the cognitive, 
psychological, and sociocultural influences on health behaviors. The "sine qua 
non" of the Centers consists of at least 3 research projects with an 
integrative theme, cores and plans for career development and use of 
developmental funds. Investigators are encouraged to include theory-based 
projects that bridge basic and intervention research. 

Potential Research Topics

Note that these are examples only and will not constitute evaluation criteria. 

Elucidate Basic Mechanisms in Cancer Communications

o  Answer questions about the psychosocial mechanisms by which cancer messages 
exert their impact, including mediators of cancer risk communication.

o  Clarify how people seek, process and use health information and develop a 
greater understanding of how cognitive and emotional factors affect processing 
(Croyle, Sun, and Hart, 1997).

Explain the Communication Process

o  Increase understanding of how people search for, use and respond to cancer 
information within the complex and changing information environment and how 
this is affected by individual and structural factors such as age, access, 
ethnicity, income, community, culture and personality.

Improve Decision Making

o  Improve understanding of how patients process complex information about the 
benefits and risks of different medical options and make decisions in the face 
of considerable uncertainty (Croyle and Lerman, 1999).

o  Examine the impact of interventions to improve cancer-related decision 
making and the impact of activated patients upon practitioner-patient 
communication and family communication.

Improve Risk Communication

o  A number of important topics in risk communication research were identified 
as high priorities by experts who attended an NCI-sponsored meeting on cancer 
risk communication (December 1998). The papers from the meeting were published 
in a September, 1999 monograph  supplement to the Journal of the National 
Cancer Institute and include many potential topics.

Improve Communication for Diverse Audiences

o  Promote knowledge about, access to and use of cancer information for low 
literacy and other diverse audiences as well as children and adolescents 
affected by cancer.

Design More Effective Interventions

o  Conduct research that contributes to an effective menu of communication 
choices for different audiences, including traditional communication methods, 
such as mass media, one-on-one and small group education strategies, print and 
telephone communication strategies; proactive strategies, such as telephone 
counseling and tailored print communications; and interactive technologies, 
such as the Internet, kiosks and CD-ROMs. What is the optimal mix of 
communication strategies? How do presentation and format interact to affect 
message impact? How can interventions be combined to maximize their impact? 
What are the fundamental mechanisms that lead to differential outcomes when 
using a "media mix"? That is, the focus should go beyond simply comparing 
different modalities and/or audiences to an understanding of WHY different 
interventions or previously tested interventions in different audiences 

o  Conduct research on the relative contribution to improved outcomes of 
varying amounts of message intensity, complexity, and burden on receivers, and 
development costs. Evaluate stepped-care approaches to communications.

o  Outcomes include not only knowledge and behaviors but also health care 
costs, health care utilization, and quality-adjusted life years saved. 

o  Examine the impact of integrated communications systems that include 
multiple channels of communication, including interpersonal, intrapersonal, 
mass media and new media to give people the information they want, how they 
want it, when and where they want it.  

Use of the New Media

o  Wired for Health and the 
recent IOM report Networking for Health ( 
make a number of suggestions for research on the new media. Applicants 
interested in new media research are encouraged to consult these sources. 
Interventions should go beyond mere use of new technologies to advance the 
understanding of communication and health behavior processes within the new 
media context.  

Improve Interpersonal Communication

o  Examine the role of interpersonal, including practitioner-patient 
communication and group communication in promoting informed decision making, 
psychosocial adjustment, personal adaptation, and social support for 
individuals confronting cancer. 

Improve Media Coverage

o  How does media treatment of issues influence the cancer-related 
understanding and behavior of different publics? How might one improve and 
influence the media treatment of cancer to promote public understanding of 
cancer prevention and treatment (Finnegan & Viswanath, 1997)?

Understand and Improve Diffusion of Best Practices

o  Identify the fundamental mechanisms that enhance dissemination to 
populations in contrast to the basic mechanisms underlying individual change 
over time (Abrams et al., 1999).

Restrictions on Applications

The NCI now funds many studies that compare tailored print interventions to 
usual care interventions or "kitchen sink" interventions to usual care. 
However, when these studies have not been successful in achieving significant 
impact, it usually has not been possible to identify the reasons. Research 
funded under this initiative should not be limited to studies that focus only 
on outcomes. Rather, the studies should represent a major advance in terms of 
innovation, theory testing, intervention strategy and methodology. A major 
emphasis should be to understand what works, what does not work and why, in 
order to identify generalizable principles and processes of communication. 
Research exclusively focused on health professionals is not appropriate. 
Proposals that are exclusively focused on outreach or service delivery also 
are not acceptable. Nor are proposals that merely apply theories in a general 
way to the design of interventions acceptable. Instead, the design of the 
proposed research is expected to meaningfully use theories and to test and/or 
improve upon them. Applicants should clearly indicate how theoretical 
constructs are to be used and measured. There is no a priori assumption that 
one theory is better than another. However, adequate justification is required 
for the selection of one or more particular theories. 


This RFA will use the NIH P50 award mechanism.  As an applicant, you will be 
solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed 

Support of this program will be through the specialized center (P50) grant 
mechanism.  Although this RFA uses a P50 mechanism, it is not a SPORE.  This 
mechanism supports the full range of research and development from basic to 
clinical and intervention studies.  The spectrum of activities comprises a 
multidisciplinary approach on a specific disease entity or biomedical problem.  
These grants differ from traditional program project grants in that they are 
more complex and flexible in terms of the activities that can be supported.  
In addition to support for interdisciplinary research projects, support is 
also provided for pilot research projects, specialized resources, career 
development programs, and shared core facilities.  Applicants will be 
responsible for the planning, direction, and execution of the proposed CECCR 
program.  Awards will be administered under NIH grants policy as stated in the 
NIH Grants Policy Statement. 

The total project period for applications submitted in response to the present 
RFA may not exceed 5 years.  The earliest anticipated award date is July 1, 
2003. Because the nature and scope of the research proposed in response to 
this RFA may vary, it is anticipated that the size of awards will also vary. 


The NCI intends to commit approximately $10 million in FY 2003 to fund 4 to 5 
new grants in response to this RFA assuming sufficient numbers of very high 
quality applications.  An applicant may request a project period of up to 5 
years and a budget for direct costs of up to $1,500,000 per year, excluding 
Facility and Administrative costs on consortium arrangements. Because the 
nature and scope of the research proposed might vary, it is anticipated that 
the size of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the 
National Cancer Institute include support for this program, awards pursuant 
to the RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a 
sufficient number of meritorious applications. There is no guarantee that 
there will be subsequent reissuances of this RFA.

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
o Faith-based organizations 
o Domestic applications with foreign components are permitted

To be considered, applicant organizations must have: (1) an established 
investigator as a Principal Investigator (PI) who can oversee and conduct 
planning activities, provide direction to the CECCR, ensure an 
interdisciplinary research emphasis, and build a career development program; 
and (2) full institutional commitment from the applicant institution. Clearly 
delineated and formally confirmed subcontracted, collaborative scientific 
arrangements with scientists from other institutions, including foreign 
institutions, may be included.


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.   


The Centers must include three or more individual research projects, which 
reflect hypothesis-driven research, plus pilot or developmental research 
projects, shared resources (cores) and career development. Centers must 
provide clear evidence of an interdisciplinary focus, including an explanation 
of how the projects fit together across disciplines to promote synergy and 
syntheses. Evidence of plans and mechanisms for dissemination of research 
findings and products, including evidence-based tools and interventions must 
be stated.

Interactions among CECCRs are an important part of this initiative. Centers 
must identify creative strategies to foster formal and informal intra- and 
inter-center collaborations to identify and address overarching scientific and 
methodological issues. This may be in the form of research collaborations, 
participation in Web-based communication exchanges by scientists on a visiting 
basis, exchange of data, resources and materials, and other mechanisms. 

A requirement for all CECCR Principal Investigators and selected project 
investigators is participation in two meetings per year in the Washington, DC 
metropolitan area or other mutually convenient location. At least three 
project staff should be budgeted per meeting. Support for this travel should 
be included in the budget. The purpose of these meetings is to share 
scientific information, assess scientific progress, solve problems, identify 
new research opportunities, and establish priorities that will accelerate the 
translation of basic research findings to applied settings in patients and 
populations. Novel opportunities to facilitate collaboration also will be 

The NCI is currently engaged in efforts to understand the function and 
effectiveness of large funding initiatives such as CECCRs. Centers are 
expected to work with NCI staff in these efforts. The aim of this requirement 
is not to influence the research objectives and evaluation of   individual 
CECCRs or other grants but to understand the processes of communication and 
collaboration among the Centers and how those processes contribute to the 
achievement of the goals of the CECCRs initiative. 

Centers must include certification that meets the new requirement for 
education in human subject protections.

CECCR Program Requirements

The following information must be provided in the application:

o A minimum of three fully developed R01-type research projects; 

o Evidence of an interdisciplinary focus, including an explanation of how the 
projects fit together across disciplines to promote synergy and syntheses;

o Shared administrative, technical, statistical, and other resources that can 
be justified; 

o Applications are strongly discouraged from naming individual members of 
"advisory committees" or "scientific boards" until the time the application 
has been funded;

o The CECCR must demonstrate a consistent and significant commitment to a 
career development program in cancer communication research. This may focus on 
graduate students, post-doctoral candidates, junior faculty, or established 
investigators who wish to develop or refocus their careers on cancer 
communication research. The description of this program should include the 
policies, criteria, and processes for selecting candidates, including special 
efforts to recruit qualified women and minorities. The plan should include the 
number and types of positions that will be made available, the criteria for 
eligibility and selection of candidates, and a description of the selection 
process. The plan should not include stipends and trainee costs though salary 
support for career development candidates may be requested;

o A proposed process for funding developmental and pilot research to 
facilitate new collaborations and support the exploration of new ideas and 
methods. The interest here is in the process of solicitation and selection of 
the pilot projects rather than on the pilot projects itself. It is important 
that CECCRs use pilot funds to stimulate projects that take maximum advantage 
of new research opportunities. Such projects may be collaborative among 
scientists within one or more CECCRs, or with scientists outside the CECCR 
environment. The CECCR application should propose and describe an 
institutional review process that selects pilot projects for center funding 
that represent the most innovative and interdisciplinary ideas. Applicants may 
supply a short description (2 pages maximum per project) of up to two eligible 
projects as examples. The NCI is especially interested in opportunities to 
engage arts and sciences university faculties and schools of public health in 
collaboration with medical schools and/or cancer center faculty;

o Creative strategies to foster formal and informal intra- and inter-center 
collaborations to identify and address overarching conceptual and 
methodological issues;

o Evidence of plans and mechanisms for the dissemination of research findings 
and products, including evidence-based tools and interventions;

o Certification that meets the new requirement for education in human subject 

All clinical trials supported or performed by NCI require some form of 
monitoring. 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 to 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 of the NCI for Data Safety & Monitoring of 
Clinical Trials see


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

K. "Vish" Viswanath, Ph.D.
Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch
Behavioral Research Program
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Blvd, MSC 7363, EPN Room 4070
Bethesda, MD 20892-7363
[Rockville, MD 20852 - express mail]
Telephone:  (301) 594-6644
FAX:  (301) 480-2087

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
Telephone: (301) 496-3428
FAX: (301) 402-0275 

Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

Ms. Crystal Wolfrey
Grants Administration Branch
National Cancer Institute
6120 Executive Boulevard, Suite 243
Bethesda, MD  20892-7340
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 496-8634

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 allows NCI 
staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Viswanath by July 18, 2002:

K. "Vish" Viswanath, Ph.D.
Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch
Behavioral Research Program
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Blvd, MSC 7363, EPN Room 4070
Bethesda, MD 20892-7363
[Rockville, MD 20852 - express mail]
Telephone:  (301) 594-6644
FAX:  (301) 480-2087


Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application 
instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001).  The PHS 398 is available at in an interactive 
format.  For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone (301) 710-0267, 


The NCI will hold a pre-application meeting through a teleconference to which 
all interested prospective applicants are invited. Program staff & staff from 
the Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) will make presentations that 
explain their goals and objectives for the Centers for Excellence in Cancer 
Communication Research and answer questions from the attendees. Prospective 
applicants are urged to monitor the NIH Guide Notice for the date and time of 
the meeting at

Additional instructions for preparing a CECCR grant application are available 
from the program staff listed under INQUIRIES and can also be found at the 
following URL link:  The 
instructions must be requested and used in preparing a CECCR application.

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 must be 
sent to:
Referral Officer 
Division of Extramural Activities 
National Cancer Institute 
6116 Executive Blvd., Room 8041, MSC-8329
Rockville, MD 20852 (express courier)
Bethesda MD 20892-8329

WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTED.  This policy does not apply to courier deliveries 
(i.e. FEDEX, UPS, DHL, etc.) (
files/NOT-CA-02-002.html)  This change in practice is effective immediately.  
This policy is similar to and consistent with the policy for applications 
addressed to Centers for Scientific Review as published in the NIH Guide 

APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be received by the application 
receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.  If an application is 
received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without 
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.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
for responsiveness by the NCI program staff.  

Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without further 
consideration.  And, if the application is not responsive to the RFA, CSR 
staff may contact the applicant to determine whether to return the application 
to the applicant or submit it for review in competition with unsolicited 
applications at the next appropriate NIH review cycle.
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 (DEA) at NCI in accordance 
with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit review, 
all applications will:

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

The criteria to be used in the evaluation of grant applications are listed 

The application must represent more than an interesting collection of 
projects. It is critical that there be evidence of the potential for a 
meaningful center with a real theme and identity. 

The Centers must include three or more individual research projects, which 
reflect hypothesis-driven research, plus a process for pilot or developmental 
research projects, shared resources (cores) and career development. The Center 
and the projects should result in the generation of new knowledge in cancer 
communication processes and science. Reviewers will evaluate each research 
project using the criteria listed below.  Each criterion will be addressed and 
considered by the reviewers in assigning the overall score for project merit:


a.1.  Significance.  The importance of the research objective to human cancer 
communication and its likelihood of completion within the project period. 

a.2.  Approach.  The adequacy of the experimental design and methods to 
achieve the research objectives. Are the theoretical 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 interdisciplinary approaches? 

a.3.  Innovation.  Originality and novelty of the experimental design as it 
relates to cancer communication theory and research. Does the project develop 
new methodologies or technologies in cancer communication? Does the research 
design reflect sufficient originality, novelty, and innovation to make it 
highly relevant to the overall goals and objectives of the CECCR?

a.4.  Investigators.  The qualifications of investigators to conduct the 
proposed research and the appropriateness of the time commitments of each 
member of the team to the conduct of the project. Are the investigators 
appropriately qualified with demonstrated competence to conduct the proposed 
research? Is the proposed work appropriate to the experience level of the 
Principal Investigator and project researchers? Are the proposed time 
commitments for all key laboratory and clinical researchers reasonable and 
adequately associated with the project?

a.5.  Environment. The scientific environment in which the research work will 
be done, and the unique features, if any, of the environment to support the 
proposed work. Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done 
contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed projects take 
advantage of unique and interdisciplinary features in the scientific 
environment and reach out to useful collaborative arrangements? Is there 
evidence of adequate institutional support? Is the project interactive with 
other components of the CECCR, conceptually, experimentally, and 

a.6. Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Is there evidence of significant 
interdisciplinary basic, clinical and public health interactions in the 
conception, design, and proposed implementation of the project? Is the 
proposed research informed by the breadth of relevant scientific literature 
from multiple disciplines in the social, behavioral, and biological sciences? 

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 and their subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific 
goals of the research and plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects; 
the provisions for the protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety 
of the research environment.


b.1. adequacy of the justification for each specialized resource relative to 
its essential need for the conduct of CECCR research or pilot projects and 
CECCR collaborative projects.

b.2. adequacy of qualifications and performance (if applicable) of managers of 
resources to conduct high quality, reliable resource operations.

b.3. appropriateness of the requested budgets to conduct each resource 

b.4. adequacy of plans for oversight of resources and the prioritization of 


c.1. adequacy of the process and/or track record for selecting candidates for 
career development who demonstrate potential for independent research careers 
in interdisciplinary cancer communication-related research or who are 
established investigators and are changing the direction of their research 
careers; cross-disciplinary training should enable scientists to bridge 
scientific domains in health communication research, to foster important 
integrative scientific inquiry;

c.2. adequacy of the procedures and/or track record to seek out and include 
qualified minorities, women, and persons with disabilities in the career 
development program; 

c.3. adequacy of the individuals available in the program to serve as possible 
mentors of career development candidates; the current availability and 
adequacy of projects for career development candidates;

c.4. appropriateness of the budget relative to the proposed plans for 
sustaining a significant activity in career development. Stipends and trainee 
costs are not allowable. However, salary support for career development 
candidates may be included;

c.5. complementary activities that contribute to the environment for career 

c.6. capacity of the overall program to absorb career development candidates 
and prepare them for independent interdisciplinary cancer communication-
related research careers.


d.1. adequacy of the process and/or track record for attracting new ideas for 
pilot studies within the CECCR.

d.2. adequacy of the proposed process and/or track record for continuously 
reviewing and funding a spectrum of pilot projects (e.g., research, technology 
development, resources) for their quality, innovativeness, interdisciplinary 
nature and importance to translational research that will have an impact on 
enhancing cancer communication efforts and developing innovative new cancer 
communication programs.

d.3. general quality of the pilot projects described in the application to 
demonstrate the effectiveness of the process for selecting pilot projects 

d.4. appropriateness of the budget relative to the needs and demonstrated 
capabilities of the CECCR and potential of the program to generate innovative 
pilot projects on a consistent basis;

d.5. degree to which developmental funds will be used to stimulate pilot 
projects with interdisciplinary interactions and/or collaborative interactions 
with other scientists within or outside of the parent institution, and 
especially with other NCI-funded centers and programs;


e.1. scientific qualifications and involvement of the Principal Investigator, 
as well as his/her demonstrated scientific and administrative leadership 
capabilities; adequacy of the time commitment of the Principal Investigator;

e.2. interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research activities, integration 
of the projects around an overarching theme, and plans to effectively pursue 
interdisciplinary research objectives;

e.3. adequacy of access to patients and populations for conducting current and 
projected research;

e.4. adequacy of the procedures, processes, and plans for promoting 
interdisciplinary interactions, including coordination, interaction, 
collaboration and synthesis;

e.5. facilitation of technology transfer; management of the intellectual 
property rights of the CECCR under the requirements of the Bayh-Dole Act and 
NIH funding agreements;

e.6. written assurance that CECCR interactions with commercial entities will 
uphold the principles of academic freedom, including the ability of CECCR 
investigators to collaborate freely, and to send and receive research 
materials without restriction to other scientific researchers;

e.7. evidence of full protection of human subjects for clinical research 
components, and appropriate mechanisms for the rigorous management and 
verification of research data;

e.8. plans for the recruitment and retention of research subjects and patients 
and adequacy of  those plans to include both genders, minorities and their 
subgroups, and children as appropriate to meet the scientific goals of the 

e.9. adequacy of plans for dissemination of evidence-based interventions.

e.10  adequacy of plans to promote and maintain communication and integration 
of scientific projects of mutual interest with other CECCRs;

e. 11. willingness to interact with other CECCRs and with the NCI in sharing 
information, in assessing scientific progress, in identifying new research 
opportunities and in establishing  scientific priorities.


f.1. Adequacy of facilities, equipment and space to promote interdisciplinary 
and translational research objectives;

f.2. Adequacy of institutional procedures and plans for monitoring, 
evaluating, and assuming accountability for the general success of the CECCR; 

f.3. Adequacy of the institutional infrastructure for assessing progress and 

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA: In addition to the above criteria, your 
application will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

o PROTECTIONS:  The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals, 
or the environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the 
project proposed in the application.

o INCLUSION:  The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all 
racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children (under 21) as 
appropriate for the scientific goals of the research.  Plans for the 
recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated. (See Inclusion 
Criteria included in the section on Federal Citations, below)

o DATA SHARING:  The adequacy of the proposed plan to share data. 

o BUDGET:  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period 
of support in relation to the proposed research.


A single numerical priority score will be assigned to the CECCR application as 
a whole after discussing all of the review elements listed above.  The score 
will be based on the overall quality of the research projects, the career 
development program and the developmental research program, the overall 
effectiveness and adequacy of shared resources, the overall program 
organization and capability, and the plans for interactions with other CECCRs. 

Although primary emphasis will be placed on scientific merit, significant 
consideration will also be given to interdisciplinary interactions, potential 
for impacting on the disease, inter-Center collaborations and institutional 


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:		July 18, 2002
Application Receipt Date:			August 15, 2002
Peer Review Date:					January/February 2002
Council Review:						May 2003
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:	July 1, 2003


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

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

involving Phase I and II clinical trials must include provisions for 
assessment of patient eligibility and status, rigorous data management, 
quality assurance, and auditing procedures.  In addition, it is NIH policy 
that all clinical trials require data and safety monitoring, with the method 
and degree of monitoring being commensurate with the risks (NIH Policy for 
Data Safety and 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:

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 AMENDMENT "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 (
files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines are 
available at
m. 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 in now 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 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.

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 No. 93.399 and 93.393. Awards are made under 
authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as 
amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered under NIH grants policies and 
Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. This program is not 
subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 
or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free 
workplace and promote the non-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 


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