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Pilot Project Developmental Funds to Support Interprogrammatic Research: Nodal Awards

Request for Applications


Nodal Award Program 2013


Award Amount: $75,000 per year for up to two years (direct costs). These are federal funds awarded to DFCI as part of the Development budget of the DF/HCC Cancer Center Support Grant (5P30CA006516-48), so indirect costs of 75% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) will be awarded.

Deadline for submission: August 5, 2013 by 9:00AM EST

Funding decisions will be made after peer review during September 2013

Anticipated award date: October 1, 2013



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, DF/HCC annually solicits proposals for pilot projects that are designed to enhance or create new "nodal points,” or interactions between members in clinical and discipline-based DF/HCC 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.

The Cancer Center has a particular interest in proposals that focus on eliminating cancer disparities. This year one nodal award will be made in collaboration with the Lung Cancer Disparities Center (LCDC) at Harvard School of Public Health. The aim of the LCDC is to identify how social, clinical, biological and environmental conditions—related to race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES)—shape population patterns of risk and produce social disparities in lung cancer outcomes by influencing multiple pathways leading to poor health. This nodal award will be for an innovative proposal that advances the understanding of the joint influence of race and socioeconomic status on cancer disparities (with preference offered to proposals focused on lung cancer).


Two pilot projects will be awarded. Each award is for $75,000 (direct costs) per year for up to two years, plus 75% indirect costs (based on MTDC). The anticipated award date is October 1, 2013. Projects must be ready to commence immediately after receipt of award.

One of the awards will be made in collaboration with the Lung Cancer Disparities Center (LCDC) at Harvard School of Public Health. This award will be for an innovative proposal that advances the understanding of the joint influence of race and socioeconomic status on cancer disparities (with preference offered to proposals focused on lung cancer).


Applicants must be DF/HCC members. Projects must be submitted as collaboration between two or more DF/HCC members who are members in good standing in interacting programs.

Proposals must involve the creation of new inter-programmatic nodal point interactions or the enhancement of pre-existing interactions between discipline- and clinical-based Programs within the Center. Please visit the DF/HCC website to learn more about the Programs and research members.


Required items (4):

  • New Nodal Award Coversheet: (included in this RFA or from Deborah Goff). 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 lung cancer disparities-focused project or relates to the LCDC theme of examining the joint influence of race and socioeconomic status on cancer disparities.
  • 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 as NIH 398 form with major divisions of funds (personnel, equipment, supplies, other, with adequate rationale). 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), with minimum 2.5% effort per PI.
  • NIH Checklist



Deadline: August 5, 2013 by 9:00AM EST

Submission requirements: An electronic (PDF) copy of application

Submit to: Deborah Goff; On behalf of Peter Howley, MD

Contact regarding questions:

Mabel Duyao
Tel. (617) 432-1145
Email: mabel_duyao@hms.harvard.edu

Deborah Goff
Tel. (617) 632-4044
Email: deborah_goff@dfci.harvard.edu


Applications will be peer- reviewed by designated members of DF/HCC and, for the disparities award, the LCDC Steering Committee. 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. For the disparities award, proposals should address the key components of the LCDC’s theme of jointly examining SES and racial/ethnic inequalities in cancer (preference for a focus on lung cancer). 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. Disparities proposals should contribute to new understandings of contribution of SES and race/ethnicity to lung cancer disparities.
  • 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 clinical- and discipline based research programs. New collaborations are favored.
  • 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 or LCDC meetings.

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