Congressionally Directed Breast Cancer Research Program Distinguished Investigator Award (12.27.17)

September 26, 2017
By: Julie Poucher Harbin, Writer, DCI


Funding Agency: Department of Defense 

The BCRP Distinguished Investigator Award enables established visionary leaders from any field to pursue innovative ideas that could accelerate progress toward ending breast cancer. These individuals should be exceptionally talented researchers who have shown that they are leaders in their field(s) through extraordinary creativity, vision, and productivity. The Principal Investigator (PI) is expected to have a renowned reputation as a researcher who has made groundbreaking contributions to advancing his/her field. He/she should have demonstrated success at forming and leading effective partnerships and collaborations. Through his/her distinguished record of research and leadership, the PI should demonstrate the potential to make unique and significant advances in breast cancer. 

The central feature of the Distinguished Investigator Award is that the PI must propose research that is a fundamental shift from his/her track record of research and addresses one or more BCRP overarching challenge(s). Applications that are a continuation or incremental change from the PI’s published line of research do not meet the intent of this award. Highrisk/high-reward applications with limited preliminary data are welcomed, but not required. All applications must include a well-formulated, testable hypothesis based on strong scientific rationale. 

Experience in breast cancer research is not required; however, the application must focus on breast cancer. Individuals from other disciplines who will apply novel concepts to breast cancer are encouraged to submit. 

The PI is expected to assemble a research team that will provide the necessary expertise and collaborative efforts toward accomplishing the research goals. If the PI does not have experience in breast cancer, inclusion of at least one collaborator with breast cancer expertise on the research team is required. The PI’s research team must also include two or more breast cancer consumer advocates. As lay representatives, the consumer advocates must be individuals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are actively involved in a breast cancer advocacy organization. Their role should be independent of their employment, and they cannot be employees of any of the organizations participating in the application. The consumer advocates should have a high level of knowledge of current breast cancer issues and the necessary background or training in breast cancer research to contribute to the project. Their role should be focused on providing objective input on the research and its potential impact for individuals with, or at risk for, breast cancer.

Funding Amount: $3,000,000

The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY17 BCRP Distinguished Investigator Award will not exceed $3M. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Application Deadlines: 
Pre-Application Deadline: Oct. 6, 2017 (was Sep. 27)
Invitation to Submit an Application: November 1, 2017
Application Submission Deadline:  December 27, 2017 (was Dec. 21)

Areas of Interest: 

Considering the current breast cancer landscape and the BCRP’s vision to end breast cancer, all FY17 BCRP Distinguished Investigator Award applications must address at least one of the following overarching challenges. Alternatively, with adequate justification, applications may identify and address another overarching challenge related to the breast cancer landscape. Justification must be provided in the application. • Prevent breast cancer (primary prevention) • Identify determinants of breast cancer initiation, risk, or susceptibility • Distinguish deadly from non-deadly breast cancers • Conquer the problems of overdiagnosis and overtreatment • Identify what drives breast cancer growth; determine how to stop it  • Identify why some breast cancers become metastatic • Determine why/how breast cancer cells lie dormant for years and then re-emerge (recurrence); determine how to prevent recurrence • Revolutionize treatment regimens by replacing them with ones that are more effective, less toxic, and impact survival • Eliminate the mortality associated with metastatic breast cancer

Eligibility: Faculty, Junior Faculty

PIs must be at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent) and be more than 6 years beyond their last mentored position. An eligible PI, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or citizenship status, must be employed by, or affiliated with, an eligible organization.

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