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NCI Bottom Line: A Blog about Grants and More

This grantee-focused blog covers the latest on NCI’s fiscal landscape, funding decisions, grants policy news, processes, and more.

    • Budget Increase Funds a Growing NCI Grants Portfolio
      , by NCI Director Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

      With a final budget for fiscal year 2022, NCI is no longer operating under an interim budget and has updated its grants paylines accordingly. While the appropriation bill contained a generous $353 million budget increase for NCI, this blog from the NCI Director expands on why raising paylines in recent years poses difficult financial challenges.

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    • Reducing Administrative Burdens on Cancer Researchers
      , by NCI Director Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

      Securing and maintaining a grant from NCI requires cancer researchers to prepare the initial application and comply with additional requirements during the life of the grant, which is demanding and time-consuming. In this edition of the NCI Bottom Line blog, NCI Director Dr. Ned Sharpless describes several NCI efforts to reduce administrative burdens on grantees and shares helpful resources for the community.

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    • NIH FIRST: Strengthening Inclusive Excellence in Biomedical Research
      , by Dr. Norman E. Sharpless and Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable

      Even with participation of historically underrepresented groups in biomedical research training increasing, members of these groups are still less likely to be hired and become independently funded faculty researchers. To strengthen inclusive excellence in biomedical research, the NIH FIRST program is working to recruit diverse cohorts and build a research culture in which faculty can thrive. For this edition of the NCI Bottom Line blog, NIH institute Directors’ Dr. Sharpless and Dr. Pérez-Stable discuss the impact of administering the FIRST Faculty Cohort and FIRST Coordination and Evaluation Center awards on behalf of NIH.

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    • Modular versus Non-Modular Budgets: What's the Bottom Line?
      , by Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

      In this edition of the NCI Bottom Line, NCI Director Dr. Ned Sharpless breaks down some commonly asked questions from investigators about using the modular budget option with R01 grant applications. Dr. Sharpless addresses these questions using an analysis conducted by the NCI's Center for Research Strategy about modular versus non-modular budgets.

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    • Familiar Fiscal Challenges for NCI
      , by NCI Director Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

      On the heels of Congress extending the Continuing Resolution for FY 2022, the NCI Director addresses what short-term funding means for NCI’s grantee community. As in years past, Dr. Sharpless highlights the Institute’s interim payline policies for both competing and noncompeting grants.

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    • An Annual Plan that Celebrates the National Cancer Act
      , by Dr. L. Michelle Bennett

      With special authorities granted in the National Cancer Act of 1971, NCI has been submitting an annual budget proposal directly to the President and Congress for 50 years. In early September, NCI released the Annual Plan & Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2023. In this edition of the NCI Bottom Line blog, Dr. Michelle Bennett discusses priorities from the annual plan that are especially relevant to current and future NCI-funded researchers, including NCI’s commitment to investigator-initiated research and raising the R01 payline to fund more highly meritorious research.

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    • NCI Updates Training Programs to Support Cancer Researchers of the Future
      , by Dr. Oliver Bogler

      In this edition of the NCI Bottom Line, the Center for Cancer Training Director Dr. Oliver Bogler details numerous changes to the institute’s training programs and how NCI intends to stay abreast of the needs of future generations of cancer researchers. Specifically, Dr. Bogler discusses changes to the K08 career development program, inclusivity within the T32 grant program, and details of a new developmental program for early-stage surgeon-scientists.

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    • Analysis Guides NCI Programs Supporting the R01-Funded Workforce
      , by L. Michelle Bennett, Ph.D.

      NCI’s Center for Research Strategy analyzed 26 years of data to better understand the funding trends of the NCI R01-funded workforce, focusing on the age and career stage of investigators. This data, recently published by Dr. L. Michelle Bennett et al. in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, shows how NCI is actively developing policies based on this understanding and looking into methods that sustainably fund more principal investigators.

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    • Funding from Congress Allows NCI to Raise Grants Payline
      , by Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

      With a final fiscal year 2021 budget passed by Congress, NCI Director, Dr. Norman E. Sharpless, turns to the NCI Bottom Line blog to provide the grantee community with an update on how the NCI plans to use the budget increase to expand paylines. With this continued increase in funding from Congress, NCI remains on its current trajectory to achieve the goal of reaching the 15th percentile by FY 2025.

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    • Cancer Grand Challenges Attracts Global Attention
      , by Dr. Dinah S. Singer

      As we near the April deadline to submit Expressions of Interest, Dr. Singer takes the opportunity to provide an update to the cancer research community on the Cancer Grand Challenges program and nine scientific challenges. Cancer Grand Challenges will fund novel ideas by multidisciplinary research teams from around the world that offer the potential to advance bold cancer research and improve outcomes for people affected by cancer. Additionally, Dr. Singer expands on the joint January 12th preapplication webinar which served to answer the research community’s questions about the program and application processes.

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    • NCI’s New Fiscal Year Brings Old Fiscal Challenges
      , by Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

      For this edition of the NCI Bottom Line blog, the NCI Director addresses what short-term funding from a continuing resolution means for NCI’s FY 2021 interim paylines. Specifically, Dr. Sharpless highlights the Institute’s interim policies for both competing and noncompeting grants.

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    • Accelerating Progress: NCI Annual Plan and Budget Proposal for FY 2022
      , by L. Michelle Bennett, Ph.D.

      In this blog, Dr. Michelle Bennett, director of NCI’s Center for Research Strategy, provides an overview of the FY 2022 Annual Plan and Budget Proposal. This blog post highlights NCI’s proposal to increase paylines and showcases patient stories that inform our scientific strategy and planning.

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    • Global Leaders in Cancer Research Partner on Cancer Grand Challenges
      , by Dr. Dinah S. Singer

      For this edition of the NCI Bottom Line, Dr. Singer highlights what NCI and CRUK’s new partnership, Cancer Grand Challenges, means for cancer research. Cancer Grand Challenges will fund novel ideas by multidisciplinary research teams from around the world that offer the potential to advance bold cancer research and improve outcomes for people affected by cancer.

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    • NCI Initiatives on the Human Immune Response to SARS-CoV-2
      , by Dr. Douglas R. Lowy and Dr. Dinah S. Singer

      Following up to her most recent NCI Bottom Line post, Dr. Dinah Singer, along with Dr. Doug Lowy, provides readers an update on SeroNet, and expands on three additional components of the network. In addition to the Centers of Excellence and serological sciences projects, Drs. Lowy and Singer provide in-depth details about the SeroNet Serology Lab, Serological Sciences Capacity Building Centers, and a SeroNet Coordinating Center.

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    • NCI Seeks Applications for SeroNet COVID-19 Research
      , by Dr. Dinah S. Singer

      In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this edition of the NCI Bottom Line by Dr. Dinah Singer highlights and expands upon NCI’s recently launched Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet). Specifically, Dr. Singer describes the five components included in this initiative, as well as elaborates on the subsequent funding opportunities.

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    • NCI Presents 13 Research Concepts to Board of Scientific Advisors
      , by Paulette Gray, Ph.D.

      In this edition of the NCI Bottom Line, the Director of the Division of Extramural Activities, Dr. Paulette Gray, discusses the concepts presented at the recent virtual Board of Scientific Advisors meeting. While this blog links to and recaps all 13 concepts presented, Dr. Gray highlights the Glioblastoma Therapeutics Network, CISNET Incubator Program for New Cancer Sites, and the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Public Private Partnership (PPTP3).

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    • Cancer Research in the Era of COVID-19
      , by Dr. Dinah S. Singer

      In response to Dr. Singer’s presentation at the virtual 2020 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), this edition of the NCI Bottom Line highlights examples of how NCI continues to make progress in cancer research during the era of COVID-19. Dr. Singer also provides details on how NCI, working with NIH, has implemented new flexibilities for the cancer research community during this crisis.

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    • Cancer Research Training in the Era of COVID-19
      , by Dr. Oliver Bogler

      Following Dr. Sharpless’s most recent NCI Bottom Line post about NCI’s grant operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Cancer Training’s (CCT) director, Dr. Oliver Bogler, addresses grantees about cancer research training during this unprecedented time. He also advises the cancer research community to continue to follow NIH/NCI grants guidance and suggests some ideas for how grantees and trainees can use their time.

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    • NCI Funding during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
      , by NCI Director, Dr. Norman E. Sharpless

      In this edition of the NCI Bottom Line, NCI Director Dr. Norman E. Sharpless addresses the grantee community about NCI funding and operations during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Dr. Sharpless highlights NCI’s peer review schedule, our program staff, as well as general NCI grants administration processes during this time.

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    • NCI Plans Policy Changes on Percent of Effort Required on Grants
      , by NCI Deputy Director, Dinah S. Singer, Ph.D.

      For this edition of the NCI Bottom Line, NCI Deputy Director, Dr. Dinah Singer elaborates on her February 11th presentation to the National Cancer Advisory Board. In this blog, Dr. Singer highlights a potential new policy from the NCI regarding a plan to implement minimum level of effort requirements for the following type of grants: U01, R01, R21, and P01.

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