RFA: DF/HCC Nodal Award Program 2016 - Basic & PopSci (3/28 Deadline)

February 09, 2016

Special Initiative to Encourage New Collaborations between Basic and Population Science Programs

Award Amount: $50,000 per year for up to two years (direct costs).

Posted date: January 4, 2016

Deadline for submission: March 28, 2016 by 9:00AM EST

Funding decisions will be made after peer review during April, 2016

Anticipated award date: May 1, 2016


A key goal of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) is to encourage and support the development of scientific collaborations among Center members that promote new translational cancer research as well as research that addresses issues relevant to the unequal burden of cancer and cancer outcomes in diverse populations. 

To advance this goal, the DF/HCC periodically solicits proposals for pilot projects that are designed to enhance or create new interprogrammatic “nodal point” interactions between members in clinical-based and discipline-based DF/HCC Research Programs (http://www.dfhcc.harvard.edu/research/research-programs/). These interactions provide an opportunity to link research efforts across Programs, with a focus on projects that have the potential of significant human application. Such inter-programmatic research efforts are the “nodal points” that are targeted for support by this award program.

Within this broad set of goals this RFA is specifically targeted to the creation of new collaborations among discipline-based programs between members of a Basic science program (Cancer Cell Biology, Cancer Genetics, or Cancer Immunology programs) and members of a Population science program (Cancer Care Delivery Research, Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Risk and Disparities, or Cancer Data Sciences). 

Up to three pilot projects will be awarded. Each award is for $50,000 (direct costs) per year for up to two years; no overhead will be awarded. DF/HCC has a particular interest in proposals aimed at understanding and devising solutions to relieve disparities in cancer burden due to racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic factors, and one award will be made in this area. The anticipated award date is May 1, 2016. Projects must be ready to commence immediately after receipt of award. 

Applicants must be DF/HCC members (Full or Associate). Projects must be submitted as a new collaboration between two or more DF/HCC members who are members in good standing in interacting programs. At least one of the collaborators should be a member of a Basic science program (Cancer Cell Biology, Cancer Genetics, or Cancer Immunology). At least one of the collaborators should be a member of a Population science program (Cancer Care Delivery Research, Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Risk and Disparities, or Cancer Data Sciences). Proposals must involve the creation of new inter-programmatic “nodal point” interactions. 

Please visit the DF/HCC website to learn more about the Programs and research members:  www.dfhcc.harvard.edu.


  • New Nodal Award Coversheet: (included in the related file below or from deborah_goff@dfci.harvard.edu). Please list the title of proposal, the inter-programmatic nodal collaboration proposed, the Principal Investigator, and the name and DF/HCC programmatic affiliation of each collaborator. Also indicate if the proposal is a disparities-focused project.
  • Research Proposal: The proposal should describe the research to which this award would be applied, if funded, and should include 1) background, 2) specific aims and 3) research plan. The proposal should be a maximum of 5 pages of text, including figures. References and budget pages are not included in this page limit. Appendix material will not be accepted.
  • Biosketches and Other Support: Current NIH Biosketch for the PI and collaborator(s), including all funding sources.
  • Budget Request: Budget estimates should be submitted on NIH 398 form with major divisions of funds (personnel, equipment, supplies, other, with adequate rationale provided as a budget justification). PIs should include a level of effort and salary support commensurate with their efforts on the nodal project. Support and effort may be split between the PI and collaborator(s). Subcontracting is not required between collaborators; DF/HCC will award funds directly to each collaborator. 

Submission requirements: An electronic (PDF) copy of application, due on or before March 28, 2016 at 9:00AM 

Submit to: Deborah Goff (Email: deborah_goff@dfci.harvard.edu)                 
                  On behalf of Peter Howley, MD

Contact regarding questions: Deborah Goff, (617) 632-4044, deborah_goff@dfci.harvard.edu

Applications will be peer- reviewed by designated members of DF/HCC. The DF/HCC Executive Committee will provide final approval for funding. Grants will be awarded on the basis of the following review criteria:

  • Scientific excellence and merit. Proposals should address important problems or critical barriers to progress in the field. The aims should advance scientific knowledge, technical capability and/or clinical practice. Proposals need not have extensive preliminary data.
  • Innovation. Applications should challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by using novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions.
  • Translation. Projects that have the opportunity to stimulate direct application to cancer treatment or prevention are encouraged.
  • Strength of inter-programmatic nodal collaboration. Projects should foster trans-disciplinary research and collaboration across Basic science and Population science research programs. Proposals must involve the creation of new inter-programmatic “nodal point” interactions. 
  • Inter-institutional links. Proposals that stimulate inter-institutional research will be favored in decisions between equally ranked applications.
  • Potential to gain independent funding. Projects should have the potential to lead to future independent external funding from the NCI or other cancer research foundations. 

A progress report is required after the first year of funding. Funding for the second year is contingent upon first-year progress. Grantees may be required to present their project and relevant finding at DF/HCC meetings. 

A final report, including a summary of expenditures, is due at the end of the two-year project period. Should an awardee leave DF/HCC, the remainder of the award will be forfeited (i.e., funds may not be transferred to a non-DF/HCC institution).