UMB & DF/HCC Comprehensive Partnership to Advance Cancer Health Equity (CPACHE) (U54) Pilot Projects

January 31, 2017


SPONSOR:  
University of Massachusetts, Boston (UMass Boston) – Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) Comprehensive Partnership to Advance Cancer Health Equity (CPACHE) (U54) Grant

FUNDING SOURCE:  Federal                                     

AWARD LEVEL:  Pilot Projects (up to $100,000 direct costs per year for two years)

DEADLINES & KEY DATES:

Deadline for Letter of Intent (Required):  February 22, 2017 by 11:59 PM EST

Deadline for Application Submission:  May 1, 2017 by 11:59 PM EST

Anticipated Award Date:  June 1, 2017 

Key Dates:  TBD
**Oral presentations for internal feedback:                                                        

*By submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI) applicants will receive feedback prior to submitting a full application. Should you have questions or concerns about the LOI, please contact the Program Manager (please see below for contact information).

** Oral presentations are strongly encouraged and are intended to provide an opportunity to obtain feedback on proposal concepts. Oral presentations are 30mins long (Presentation: 20mins; Q&A: 10mins) and presentation templates will be provided. Applicants are limited to giving one oral presentation. Please note that you can give an oral presentation prior to submitting the LOI. To get into the queue for oral presentations please contact the Program Manager  (please see below for contact information). Presentation slots will be allocated on a first-come basis.
 

EXPECTATIONS FOR PILOT PROJECT APPLICATIONS:
Project selection in response to this RFA will prioritize Pilot Projects able to demonstrate evidence of being in a strong position to apply for a Full Project grant from the (CPACHE) (U54) mechanism and/or external funding sources (e.g. NIH, NSF, DOE) in two years.

Projects that evaluate biological risk factors that potentially contribute to cancer disparities or projects that include biospecimen procurement for such studies are strongly encouraged.
 

OVERVIEW & GOALS:
The purpose of this joint grant between UMass Boston and DF/HCC is to foster and support intensive collaborations among investigators at UMass Boston (an institution that serves communities with cancer health disparities) and DF/HCC (an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center). The NCI Comprehensive Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (CPACHE) (U54) Grant aims to develop stronger national cancer programs to understand the reasons behind the significant cancer disparities and related impacts on underserved communities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations. More specifically, the goal of the UMass Boston-DF/HCC Partnership is to improve cancer-related research, training, and outreach opportunities for under-represented minority (URM) students, fellows, and early stage investigators; and to develop information and resources toward closing the cancer health disparities gap. For more information about the Partnership please visit www.umb.edu/u54.

Projects based at UMass Boston may focus on any area of cancer research, including the general areas of environmental carcinogenesis, biological risk factors potentially contributing to cancer disparities, cancer biology, molecular epidemiology, and/or behavioral issues related to cancer prevention, treatment and control.

Projects based at DF/HCC must specifically address areas of cancer disparities among the underserved, racial/ethnic minorities and/or socio-economically disadvantaged populations.

NOTE: NCI is particularly interested in developing educational, outreach and research projects leading to increased biospecimen collection from underserved populations, a critical endeavor to potentially elucidate the biological and genetic factors associated with cancer health disparities.

ELIGIBILITY & REQUIREMENTS:
All proposed research projects must illustrate collaboration between UMass Boston and DF/HCC scientists, and must focus on any aspect of cancer or cancer disparities. Additionally, all research projects must have high potential for leading to external funding through the NIH K-series, R03, R21, R01 mechanisms (for more information please see http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm) or through foundation support; and should provide training opportunities for under-represented minority (URM) students and/or fellows. Interested faculty who do not have a partnership with a DF/HCC or UMass Boston scientist can receive assistance from the Partnership in finding a collaborator. 

Prior to receiving funding from this mechanism, PIs involved must either be current members of the DF/HCC or should have submitted an application for DF/HCC membership. Faculty at DF/HCC institutions and at UMass Boston are eligible to become DF/HCC members. To apply for membership in the DF/HCC please go to www.dfhcc.harvard.edu/membership.

Investigators who have previously received or who are current recipients of funding from the UMass Boston-DF/HCC Partnership are eligible to apply in response to this RFA. 

Inquiries regarding finding UMass Boston or DF/HCC collaborators should be submitted via email to U54Partnership@umb.edu.

Specific requirements for applications focused on cancer research vs. cancer disparities research: If more than 50% of the proposed research will be performed at UMass Boston, the project can focus on any area of cancer research or cancer disparities research. If more than 50% of the proposed research will be performed at DF/HCC, the project must focus on cancer disparities research. 

Specific requirements for applications focused on basic science, population sciences, outcomes and social science:  Areas of interest: translational research, emerging technologies (emerging technologies include nanotechnology, proteomics, genomics and imaging) as well as research focusing on pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancers. Projects that evaluate biological risk factors that potentially contribute to cancer disparities or projects that include biospecimen procurement for such studies are strongly encouraged. In addition, one target area for the Partnership is cancer outreach. Applications focusing on cancer outreach must include hypothesis-driven research that may lead to increased use of and access to beneficial medical procedures, such as primary preventative measures. In addition, recruitment and retention of underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged populations into clinical trials such as prevention, early detection or treatment trials is encouraged.

Project budget allocation across UMass Boston and DF/HCC is up to the collaborators’ discretion. However, allocations must be clearly justified. 

Specific requirements for applications focused on community outreach, cancer education, and dissemination of evidenced-based programs: The proposed research project must focus on cancer disparities. Applications focusing on cancer outreach must include hypothesis-driven research that may lead to increased use of and access to beneficial medical procedures, such as primary preventative measures, e.g., smoking cessation and cancer vaccines, or early detection procedures, such as mammography, PAP smear, colorectal cancer screening, etc. Research studies may include focus groups and needs assessments. These efforts must effectively reach individuals and physicians and should lead to increased use of medical procedures that may result in decreasing cancer health disparities. In addition, recruitment and retention of underserved and socio-economically disadvantaged populations into clinical trials such as prevention, early detection, or treatment trials is encouraged. Project budget allocation across UMass Boston and DF/HCC is up to the collaborators’ discretion. However, allocations must be clearly justified. 

LETTER OF INTENT (LOI) SUBMISSION INFORMATION:
Submission of a LOI is required. LOIs are limited to two pages in length, should be numbered (if needed) and in PDF format. The LOI should include the following information: 1) a description of the proposed research; 2) specific aims; 3) a brief paragraph on the scientific significance and how it relates to the goals of the NCI (CPACHE) (U54) and UMass Boston – DF/HCC Partnership; 4) 2-3 bullet points on how the outcomes of the proposed work will position the project well for funding as a U54 Full Project and/or NIH (e.g. R01/R15/R21-level funding) mechanism; and 5) DF/HCC and UMass Boston faculty who are collaborating along with their contact information. Feedback will be provided on all LOIs in order to help investigators develop the strongest application possible. The LOI is not binding and does not enter the review process. 

LOIs should be submitted via email to U54Partnership@umb.edu. 

LOI Deadline: 11:59:59 PM EST, Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
 

APPLICATION SUBMISSION INFORMATION:
The application must include all sections outlined below.

Proposed Pilot Projects. Pilot Projects proposed for funding cannot exceed $100,000 in direct costs per year for up to two years. The description of these projects should be provided in the following format:

A. Title Page (limited to one page) including: Title of the project, names of co-leaders from both partner institutions and a brief abstract stating the specific aims of the project.

B. Research Strategy (limited to 6 pages inclusive of tables and figures. Appendix materials will not be accepted) to include the following items:

  • Significance;
  • Innovation;
  • Preliminary Studies (encouraged but not required for pilot projects); and
  • Approach.

As part of the research strategy, describe how this Pilot Project relates to the overall priorities of the (CPACHE) (U54) grant and UMass Boston – DF/HCC Partnership target area(s). Include any preliminary data (if available). Projects without preliminary data are expected to provide scientific rationale based on appropriate supporting literature. Describe, as appropriate for the nature of the project, experimental methods/study design, or education plans and objectives. Identify which aspects of the Pilot Project will be conducted primarily at UMass Boston and which at DF/HCC. Research projects conducted primarily at UMass Boston may be in any area of cancer research, but research projects conducted primarily at DF/HCC must specifically address cancer disparities research.

The research strategy must also include information on how the proposed project will lead to peer-reviewed funding (i.e. full project funding from the UMass Boston – DF/HCC Partnership or independent NIH R01/R15/R21-level funding); plans for inclusion of under-represented minority (URM) students/trainees; strategies for developing and maintaining an active collaboration between the DF/HCC and UMass Boston investigators, and cross-institutional integration of research labs/programs; and plans for career development and mentorship for less experienced/early stage investigators/co-leaders. For the purpose of this RFA, an early stage investigator is a new Investigator within 10 years of completing his/her terminal research degree or is within 10 years of completing medical residency (or the equivalent) with no prior independent research funding from NIH or equivalent agencies e.g. R01, P01, etc. awards. Small awards (e.g. R03, R21) and training (K awards) do not count. 

Other Sections of PHS 398 Research Plan (Sections 4-15) must also be completed (but are excluded from page limitations). In particular, Research Plan sections pertaining to human subjects and vertebrate animals must be strictly followed. See note below. 

NOTE: For Pilot Projects. Include names of UMass Boston and DF/HCC PIs in the header and insert page numbers on all pages. The PHS 398 Instructions for the Content of Research Plan, in particular sections pertaining to human subjects and/or vertebrate animals (listed below), must be strictly followed and appropriate documentation (described in PHS 398 instructions) attached as required.

  • Section 6. Protection of Human Subjects;
  • Section 7. Inclusion of Women and Minorities;
  • Section 8. Targeted/Planned Enrollment Table;
  • Section 9. Protection of Children; and
  • Section 10. Vertebrate Animals.

Research components involving clinical trials must include a data and safety-monitoring plan as described in the PHS instructions. Funds should be budgeted for these activities and should be justified. The proposed provisions should not duplicate review and monitoring systems already in place at the institution. For any cancer treatment protocol supported directly or indirectly by the Comprehensive Partnership U54, early stopping rules and procedures to detect and monitor adverse drug reactions (ADR) must be provided in the application, or in the case of protocols subsequent to funding of a U54, to the NCI Program Director.

Available Resources to Pilot Projects for Compiling the Research Proposal - - Utilization of these cores is strongly recommended:

UMass Boston – DF/HCC U54 Research Education Core:
The U54 Research Education Core aims to increase the number of trainees, particularly those from under-represented minority (URM) backgrounds, who are interested in cancer/cancer disparities research. This core is available to investigators to assist with strategizing and developing a URM training program plan that suits the nature of their proposal. Additionally, this core can help investigators identify UMass Boston students to work as part of their research teams. To learn more about this core, please visit www.umb.edu/u54/cores/research_education_core. To request an appointment, please contact Diedra Wrighting at Diedra.Wrighting@umb.edu.

Shared Resources: Research Design & Analysis, Genomics Core

The U54 Research Design and Analysis Core (RDAC) offers consultation to investigators who would like guidance regarding the design of their proposal. The RDAC can assist with research design, measure development, and general feedback on project feasibility. Population Science and Basic science research projects involving statistical analysis MUST consult with the RDAC to develop a strategy for study design and data analysis. To request an appointment, please contact the RDAC at U54 email address.

The U54 Genomics Core (GC) is partially funded to assist investigators who wish to incorporate high-throughput NextGen sequencing studies in their study design. Funds are available to help develop incubator projects responding to this RFA for consideration for pilot or full project funding. For further information please contact the GC at U54 email address. 

UMass Boston – DF/HCC U54 Outreach Core:
The Outreach Core aims to maximize the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based strategies to promote cancer prevention behaviors in faith-based and other community settings, provide training opportunities for students in outreach research, and offer resources and support to U54 new and ongoing research projects. The Outreach Core participates in the NCI National Outreach Network (NON) activities, including cross-cutting activities in biobanking. To learn more about this core, please visit www.umb.edu/u54/cores/outreach_core. To request an appointment, please contact either Shoba Ramanadhan (Shoba_Ramanadhan@dfci.harvard.edu) or Tiffany Donaldson (Shoba_Ramanadhan@dfci.harvard.edu).

Biosketches: A current NIH Biosketch (this should include all other funding sources) is required for each participating PI. Biosketches should be submitted on the PHS 398 Biographical Sketch Format Page (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm).

Budget: In this joint application, the DF/HCC and UMass Boston PIs will complete separate budgets, which when combined do NOT EXCEED the award amount, i.e., Pilot Projects: up to $100,000 direct costs per year for two years. Funds can be utilized for PI salary, equipment and technician or post-doctoral fellow salary (RFA1). Funds (salaries/stipends) must be budgeted to facilitate training undergraduate and graduate students. Award amount for Pilot Projects is in direct costs, so the proposed budget should be outlined in direct costs only. If selected for funding, the negotiated indirect costs will be awarded in addition to the proposed budget. Budgets should be submitted on the NIH 398 Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period Format Page (fp4) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html), and budget justifications should be submitted on the PHS 398 Budget for Entire Proposed Project Period Format Page (fp5) (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html). Outline major divisions of funds (personnel, equipment, supplies, other, etc.); and include adequate rationale in the budget justification. 

IRB approval (if applicable): If IRB approval is necessary for the proposed research, approval will be required prior to receiving funding.

Targeted/Planned Enrollment Tables and Inclusion Enrollment Reports: If required, these must be submitted on PHS 398 forms (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html).

**Format: This is a joint application. All materials, i.e., project narrative, budget pages specific to UMass Boston, budget pages specific to DF/HCC and biosketches, must be compiled and submitted as a single PDF file. Please include the names of the UMass Boston and DF/HCC PIs in the header and insert page numbers on each page. 

Applications should be submitted via email to U54Partnership@umb.edu (please see below for contact information). 

Application Deadline: 11:59:59 PM EST, Monday May 1, 2017.
 

All application submissions will be acknowledged via email.  Should you not receive confirmation of your application submission please contact the U54 Program Office at U54Partnership@umb.edu.Additionally, all inquiries related to this RFA should be directed via email to U54Partnership@umb.edu. 

Application decisions will be made by June 1, 2017.

PROPOSAL REVIEW CRITERIA:
Applications will be reviewed by designated review committees. Reviewers will assign a score on the overall application based on the following review criteria:

Significance. The project addresses important problems or critical barriers to progress in cancer research or cancer disparities research. The aims of the project advance scientific knowledge, technical capability, and have near-term impact. 

Innovation. The project utilizes novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions.

Investigator(s). The PIs, collaborators, and other key personnel have the necessary experience and expertise to accomplish the goals of the proposed research project. The investigators have complementary and integrated expertise. 

Approach. The overall strategy, methodology, and analyses are well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project, and cross-institutional integration of research labs/programs is clearly defined. 

Career Development. There is a well thought-out and reasonable plan for career development of early stage investigator(s). Mentor(s) have been identified and the appropriate mechanisms are in place to achieve career development goals outlined.

Student Training. There will be significant opportunity for the training of URM students and fellows.

Potential for External Funding. There is a high likelihood that the proposed research project will lead to NIH K-series, R03, R21, R01 etc. mechanisms, or other types of foundation funding. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

U54 Program Office

UMass Boston-DF/HCC U54 Partnership
University of Massachusetts, Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Wheatley Building 3rd Floor, Room 60
Boston, MA 02125-3393
U54Partnership@umb.edu
617-287-6622
www.umb.edu/u54