NCI Research Specialist Award (R50)

The NCI Research Specialist Award encourages the development of stable research career opportunities for exceptional scientists who want to pursue research within the context of an existing cancer research program, but not serve as independent investigators.  These scientists, including researchers within a research program, core facility managers, and data scientists, are vital to sustaining the biomedical research enterprise.  The Research Specialist Award is intended to provide salary support and sufficient autonomy so that individuals are not solely dependent on NCI grants held by others for career continuity.

Two Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) invite grant applications for the Research Specialist Award (R50) in any area of NCI-funded cancer research.

FOAs posted: August 2, 2018
Letter of Intent due: December 11, 2018
Application due: January 11, 2019, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization

FOA for laboratory-based scientists

FOA for core-based scientists

R50 Recipient Testimonials

Wenyun Lu, Ph.D.
Wenyun Lu

Technical Director
Regional Metabolomics Core
Princeton University

“With the R50 award, I can focus on the technical aspects of cancer research in a metabolomics core. It allows me to spend more time developing new methods and analyzing samples. Specifically, our core primarily measures small molecule metabolites using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to see how they change in tumors and how cancer cells use different nutrients.”

Laura E. Pascal, Ph.D.
Laura E. Pascal

Research Assistant Professor
Department of Urology
University of Pittsburgh O’Brien Urology Research Center

(After receiving the R50), “It’s really changed my life. I’m not focused so much on grant writing and worrying about my job stability. I can spend more time doing research and publishing it.

I’ve also taken on more responsibility since I got the award. I’m able to focus on training people in my lab and collaborating with other scientists in my field. With staff scientists in labs [like me], we’re all going to find out that the R50 is helpful in ways we didn’t even imagine.”

Brian Haas, M.S.
Brian Haas

Senior Computational Biologist
Klarman Cell Observatory
Broad Institute

“So much of cancer research is being done by computational scientists who are analyzing vast quantities of data. The R50 Award is one mechanism to support these efforts.

Five years of guaranteed salary support is a stable block of time to accomplish research goals in my lab. It also allows me to focus on developing tools for cancer research and providing technical support to scientists outside the Broad Institute.”

  • Updated: September 17, 2018

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