THE NCI SCHOLARS PROGRAM

NIH GUIDE, Volume 26, Number 40, December 19, 1997

RFA:  CA-98-003

P.T.

National Cancer Institute

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  February 13, 1998
Application Receipt Date:  April 24, 1998

PURPOSE

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

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

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

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

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

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

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

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

The NCI Scholars Program will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Career Transition Award (K22).  Responsibility for the planning, direction,
and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.

The NCI Scholars Program will consist of an Intramural Phase and an Extramural
Phase.  The program begins with up to four years of support for the Scholar's
independent research initiative in the NCI's intramural research program. 
Salary and research costs for this phase will be derived exclusively from
intramural NCI resources.  There is no grant award associated with this phase.

The final two years of the Scholar's research program will be supported by the
extramural institution to which the scholar is recruited and will be funded
through an extramural, non- competing, NIH Career Transition Award (K22)
mechanism. Transition from the Intramural Phase of support to the Extramural
Phase is not automatic.  Approval of the transition will be based upon the
success of the Scholar's research program at NCI as determined by a formal NCI
scientific progress review.  This review will take place at or near the end of
the third year of research at the NCI.  Extramural funding and activation of
the K22 award will require written approval from the NCI Progress Review
Committee and the submission of an application from the recruiting institution
(see section on SELECTION PROCESS, Extramural Phase).

FUNDS AVAILABLE

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

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

The earliest feasible start date for the initial awards will be September
1998.  Although this program is provided for in the financial plans of the
NCI, the support of research programs pursuant to this RFA is also contingent
upon the availability of funds for this purpose.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

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

Goals and Scope

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

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

--The Division of Basic Sciences encourages applications from candidates with
exceptional aptitude for research with demonstrated expertise and strong
evidence of ability to perform independent research.  The areas of research
investigation are: cell biology; cancer genetics,  and immunology. 
Applications are invited that address research question(s) in any one of these
broad general areas;  for example, studies on tumor immunology, chromatin
structure, gene regulation, signal  transduction, cell transformation, cell
cycle, or apoptosis.

--The Division of Epidemiology and Genetics encourages applications from
candidates with experience and interest in pursuing epidemiologic or
interdisciplinary research into the environmental and genetic determinants of
cancer.  Areas of specific research interest include:  lifestyle factors
including diet and nutrition, tobacco and alcohol and physical activity;
environmental pollution; occupational exposures; genetic susceptibility;
endogenous factors; medicinal agents; infectious agents; radiation exposures;
and methodologic research in biostatistics, exposure assessment and molecular
epidemiology.

--The Division of Clinical Sciences encourages applications from candidates
engaged in cancer genetics and cancer biology research. Specific topics of
interest include: exploratory technologies in interrogating the human genome,
in genetic instability, and the molecular biology of angiogenesis, and of the
cell cycle. Consonant with the goals of the division, applicants should be
interested in participating in the translation of basic research findings to
the clinical setting.

ALLOWABLE COSTS

Intramural  Phase: The budget for the intramural support phase will be
approximately  $150,000 per year in total costs excluding equipment.

The final budget for this phase of the award will be negotiated with the
sponsoring NCI intramural division and will depend upon the nature and scope
of the research as recommended by the peer review process.

Salaries will be provided for the Scholar and no more than two additional
positions (e.g., a technician).  Salaries of the Scholar and other personnel
must be commensurate with the level of training and experience specified in
the Federal pay schedule and will be negotiated with NCI at the time of an
award.

Up to $22,500 per person will be provided for annual operating expenses (e.g.,
supplies, disposables, copying, etc.).

Laboratory equipment budget for setup will be negotiated with NCI.  Laboratory
equipment purchased for the Scholar during the Intramural Phase will not be
transferable to the extramural position.

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

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

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

Indirect costs will be reimbursed at eight percent of modified total direct
costs, or at the actual indirect cost rate, whichever is less.

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

Special Restrictions

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

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH
INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and
their subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and
compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is
inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the
research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Public
Law 103-43).

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

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

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by February 13, 1998, a letter of
intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed research, the name,
address, telephone and FAX numbers, and email address of the Principal
Investigator, and the number and title of the RFA in response to which the
application may be submitted.  Although a letter of intent is not required, is
not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application,
it allows NCI staff to estimate the potential review workload and avoid
conflict of interest in the review.

An email or FAX letter of intent is acceptable.

The letter of intent is to be sent to:

Dr. Vincent J. Cairoli
Office of Deputy Director for Extramural Sciences
National Cancer Institute
Executive Plaza North, Room 520
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-8580
FAX:  (301) 402-4472
Email:  VC14Z@NIH.GOV

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) is to be used in
applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional
offices of sponsored research and may be obtained from the Division of
Extramural Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health,
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone:
301/435-0714, Email: ASKNIH@od.nih.gov and from the program administrator
listed under INQUIRIES.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/95) application form must be
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  Failure to use
this label could result in delayed processing of the application such that it
may not reach the review committee in time for review.  In addition, the RFA
title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the application
form and the YES box must be marked.

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

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW (formerly Division of Research Grants)
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:

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

Applications must be received by April 24, 1998.  If an application is
received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review. 
The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The
CSR will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one
already reviewed.

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

Supplemental Application Guidelines

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

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

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

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

A Checklist Page is NOT to be submitted.

The applicant must provide an official certified transcript covering medical
school or the graduate school level of education.

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

--The applicant's past contributions to scientific achievements

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

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

Career Development Plan:

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

Research Plan:

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

Budget:

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

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

Extramural (Transition) Phase:

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

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

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

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

Review Criteria

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

Candidate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research Plan

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

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

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

Appropriateness of proposed future directions and broad research goals.

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

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

Budget

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

Selection Process

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

Intramural Phase

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

Extramural Phase

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

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

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

AWARD CRITERIA

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

EVALUATION

Intramural Phase

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

Extramural (Transition) Phase

The awardee will follow the same procedure as all other extramural grantees by
submitting a progress report as part of the non-competing continuation
application.  A description of the research and career progress will be
provided including publications, current research grant support, and pending
applications.  These annual reports will be closely monitored by NCI staff to
ensure that the awardee is achieving the goals of the NCI Scholars Program.

The NCI may solicit information from the awardee after completion of the
Extramural Phase regarding their career progress, for the purpose of
evaluating outcomes of the NCI Scholars Program.

INQUIRIES

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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

For the following states:  ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NH, NY,
OH, PA, SD, VT, WI, WV, WY, contact:

Lester S. Gorelic, Ph.D.
Office of the Deputy Director for Extramural Sciences
National Cancer Institute
Executive Plaza North, Room 520
Bethesda, MD  20892-7390
Telephone:  (301) 496-8580
FAX:  (301) 402-4472
Email:  GORELICL@DCBDCEP1.NCI.NIH.GOV

For the following states:

AK,AL,AS,AZ,CA,CO,CT,DE,FL,GA,HI,IA,KS,LA,MD,MO,MS
NC,NJ,NM,NV,OK,OR,RI,SC,TN,TX,UT,VA,WA, and District of Columbia, contact:

Andrew Vargosoko, Ph.D.
Office of the Deputy Director for Extramural Sciences
National Cancer Institute
Executive Plaza North, Room 520
Bethesda, MD  20892-7390
Telephone:  (301) 496-8580
FAX:  (301) 402-4472
Email:  AV8B@NIH.GOV

Direct inquiries regarding the following to:

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

Ms. Catherine Blount
Grants Administration Branch
National Cancer Institute
Executive Plaza South, Room 243
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-7800
FAX:  (301) 496-8601
Email:  CB136G@NIH.GOV

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

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

The Public Health Service strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide
a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of tobacco products. In
addition, Public Law 103-227, The Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking
in certain facilities (or, in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which
regular or routine education, library, day care, health care or early
childhood development services are provided for children.  This is consistent
with the PHS mission to protect  and advance the physical and mental health of
the American people.


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