Breast Cancer Research Program Funding Opportunities for Fiscal Year 2020

The FY20 Defense Appropriation Act is providing funding to the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) to support innovative, high-impact research with clinical relevance that will accelerate progress to end breast cancer for Service members, Veterans, and the general public.  As directed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Defense Health Agency J9, Research and Development Directorate manages the Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation.  The managing agent for the Program Announcements/Funding Opportunities is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC).

FY20 BCRP Program Announcements and General Application Instructions for the following award mechanisms are posted on the Grants.gov website.

Applications submitted to the FY20 BCRP must address one or more of the following overarching challenges:

  • 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; determine how to prevent lethal 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

Breakthrough Award Levels 1 and 2 – Letter of Intent Due March 12, 2020

Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent).

  • Applications from postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to apply under Funding Levels 1 and 2.
  • Supports promising research that has high potential to lead to or make breakthroughs in breast cancer.
  • Potential impact of the research may be near-term or long-term, but it must move beyond a minor advancement and have the potential to lead to a new approach that is fundamentally better than interventions already approved or in clinical development.
  • Partnering PI Option allows two Principal Investigators (PIs), termed Initiating and Partnering PIs, to collaborate on a single application.
  • Different funding levels, based on the scope of research, are available for the Breakthrough Award.  It is the responsibility of the PI to select the funding level that is most appropriate for the research proposed.  The funding level should be selected based on the scope of the research project, rather than the amount of the budget.

The following are general descriptions, although not all-inclusive, of the scope of research projects that would be appropriate to propose under each funding level:

  • Funding Level 1:  Innovative, high-risk/high-reward research that is in the earliest stages of idea development or an untested theory that addresses an important problem.  To foster research that yields new avenues of investigation, preliminary data are not required. Proof-of-concept is the anticipated outcome.
  • Funding Level 2:  Preclinical research that is already supported by substantial preliminary or published data and strongly validates clinical translation in a well-defined context within the breast cancer landscape.
  • Funding Level 2 – Population Science and Prevention Studies: Preclinical research that is already supported by substantial preliminary or published data and strongly validates clinical translation in a well-defined context within the breast cancer landscape.  With compelling justification, population science and prevention studies may request higher levels of funding and an additional year in the period of performance. Such studies may require additional resources due to the participation of human subjects and/or use of human biospecimens.

Funding Levels 1 and 2

  • Submission of a Letter of Intent is required prior to full application submission.
  • Each PI may submit only one application as a PI or Initiating PI for each funding level.  There are no limitations on the number of applications for which an investigator may be named as a Partnering PI.  However, applicants are discouraged from submitting as a Partnering PI on multiple applications unless they are clearly unique, meaningful collaborations addressing distinct research questions.
  • Additional funds are available for applications submitted under the Partnering PI Option or the Population Science and Prevention Studies Option.
  • Clinical trials are not allowed.

Funding Level 1

  • Maximum funding of $450,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 3 years

Funding Level 1 – Partnering PI Option

  • Maximum funding of $750,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 3 years

Funding Level 2

  • Maximum funding of $1 million (M) for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 3 years

Funding Level 2 – Partnering PI Option

  • Maximum funding of $1.5M for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 3 years

Funding Level 2 – Population Science and Prevention Studies

  • Maximum funding of $1.5M for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 4 years

Funding Level 2 – Population Science and Prevention Studies – Partnering PI Option

  • Maximum funding of $2M for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 4 years

Breakthrough Award Level 3 – Preproposal due March 13, 2020

Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent).

  • Supports promising research that has high potential to lead to or make breakthroughs in breast cancer.
  • Potential impact of the research may be near-term or long-term, but it must move beyond a minor advancement and have the potential to lead to a new approach or in clinical development.
  • Partnering PI Option allows two PIs, termed Initiating and Partnering PIs, to collaborate on a single application.

Different funding levels, based on the scope of research are available for the Breakthrough Award.  It is the responsibility of the PI to select the funding level that is most appropriate for the research proposed.  The funding level should be selected based on the scope of the research project, rather than the amount of the budget.

The following is a general description, although no all-inclusive, of the scope of research projects that would be appropriate under this funding level:

  • Funding Level 3:  Advanced translational studies with a high degree of project readiness. Where relevant, proof of availability of and access to necessary data, human samples, cohort(s), and/or critical reagents must be provided. If the proposed research would ultimately require US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involvement, applications must demonstrate availability of and access to clinical reagents (e.g., therapeutic molecules) and subject population(s). Applications must state a realistic timeline for near-term clinical investigation. Small-scale clinical trials (e.g., first in human; Phase I/Ib) may be appropriate.

Additional Elements

  • Submission of a preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • There are no limits on the number of pre-applications for which an investigator may be named PI, Initiating PI, or Partnering PI. Investigators are discouraged from being named on multiple pre-applications unless they clearly addressing distinct research questions.
  • Additional funds are available for Funding Level 3 applications submitted under the Partnering PI Option.
  • Applications must include two or more breast cancer advocates on their research team.
  • Clinical trials are allowed.

Funding Level 3

  • Maximum funding of $3M in direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 4 years

Funding Level 3 with Partnering PI Option

  • Maximum funding of $4M for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 4 years

Breakthrough Award Level 4 – Preproposal due March 13, 2020

Independent investigator at all academic levels (or equivalent)

  • Supports promising research that has high potential to lead to or make breakthroughs in breast cancer.
  • Potential impact of the research may be near-term or long-term, but it must move beyond a minor advancement and have the potential to lead to a new approach that is fundamentally better than interventions already approved or in clinical development.
  • Partnering PI Option allows two PIs, termed Initiating and Partnering PIs, to collaborate on a single application.

Different funding levels, based on the scope of research are available for the Breakthrough Award.  It is the responsibility of the PI to select the funding level that is most appropriate for the research proposed.  The funding level should be selected based on the scope of the research project, rather than the amount of the budget.

The following is a general description, although no all-inclusive, of the scope of research projects that would be appropriate under this funding level:

Funding Level 4: Large-scale projects that will transform and revolutionize the clinical management and/or prevention of breast cancer.  Human clinical trials are required.  PIs are expected to have experience in successfully leading large-scale projects and demonstrated ability (through personal experience or via a commitment from a collaboration clinical investigator) to implement a clinical project successfully.  Where relevant applications must demonstrate availability of and access to necessary data, human samples, cohort(s), and/or critical reagents.  For proposed research that will require FDA involvement, project readiness requirements at the time of application submission include: proof of availability of and access to clinical reagents (e.g., therapeutics) that meet regulatory compliance guidelines; proof of availability and access to appropriate subject population(s); validated projections for patient recruitment; and submission of an Investigational New Drug (IND) or Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) application to the FDA, if applicable.

Additional Elements

  • Submission of a preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • There are no limits on the number of pre-applications for which an investigator may be named as a PI, Initiating PI, or Partnering PI.  Investigators are discouraged from being named on multiple pre-applications unless they are clearly addressing distinct research questions.
  • Applications must include two or more breast cancer advocates on their research team.
  • Clinical trials are required.

Funding Level 4 and Funding Level 4 – Partnering PI Option

  • Maximum funding of $10M for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 4 years

Era of Hope Scholar Award – Letter of Intent due March 12, 2020’

Independent, non-mentored investigators within 6 years of their last training position (e.g., postdoctoral fellowship, medical residency, clinical fellowship) as of the application submission deadline

  • Supports exceptionally talented, early-career scientists who have demonstrated that they are the “best and brightest” in their fields through extraordinary creativity, vision, innovation, and productivity.
  • PIs should articulate a vision that challenges current dogma and demonstrates an ability to look beyond tradition and convention.
  • PIs must demonstrate experience in forming effective partnerships and collaborations and exhibit strong potential for future leadership in breast cancer.
  • Experience in breast cancer research is not required: however, the application must focus on breast cancer, and the PI must maintain a 50% dedication of his/her full-time professional effort during the award period to breast cancer research.
  • Applicants must include two or more breast cancer advocates on their research team.
  • Submission of a Letter of Intent is required prior to full application submission.
  • Maximum funding of $3M for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 4 years

Innovator Award – Preproposal due March 13, 2020

Associate Professor or above (or equivalent)

  • Supports visionary individuals who have demonstrated exceptional creativity, innovative work, and paradigm-shifting leadership in any field.
  • Provides opportunity to pursue novel, visionary, high-risk ideas that will accelerate progress toward ending breast cancer.
  • Experience in breast cancer research is not required: however, the application must focus on breast cancer, and the PI must maintain a 50% dedication of his/her full-time professional effort during the award period to breast cancer research
  • Applications must two or more breast cancer advocates on their research team.
  • Submission of a preproposal is required; application submission is by invitation only.
  • Maximum funding of $7M for direct costs (plus indirect costs)
  • Maximum period of performance is 4 years

A pre-application is required and must be submitted through the electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) prior to the pre-application deadline. All applications must conform to the final Program Announcements and General Application Instructions available for electronic downloading from the Grants.gov website.  The application package containing the required forms for each award mechanism will also be found on Grants.gov. A listing of all CDMRP and other USAMRDC extramural funding opportunities can be obtained on the Grants.gov website by performing a basic search using CFDA Number 12.420. 

For email notification when Program Announcements are released, subscribe to program-specific news and updates under “Email Subscriptions” on the eBRAP homepage. For more information about the BCRP or other CDMRP-administered programs, please visit the CDMRP website.

Point of Contact:

CDMRP Help Desk
301-682-5507