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September 11, 2020

Sent on behalf of Mark A. Barteau, Vice President for Research

 

Request for Investigator-Initiated Cancer Research Project Proposals

 

Overview: Texas A&M University is applying to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for a Texas Regional Excellence in Cancer (TREC) award to strengthen support for cancer research in the Bryan/College Station campus. The overarching objective of CPRIT’s TREC award program is to strengthen cancer research at institutions located in regions of Texas that have historically received low levels of cancer research funding. More information on the TREC award can be found at: https://www.cprit.state.tx.us/media/2321/rfa_r_trec_212.pdf

One of the major goals of the CPRIT TREC Program is to promote the competitiveness of junior investigators in their efforts to secure extramural funding for cancer-related research projects. The TREC award provides support for investigator-initiated Research Projects led by junior faculty that stand-alone as individual projects, but share a common thematic cancer focus. The goal of this solicitation is to identify meritorious cancer-related research projects from “junior” faculty that can be considered for inclusion in the TAMU TREC award application. All areas of cancer research will be considered in response to this RFA.

PI Eligibility: The TREC research projects will be led by “junior” investigators appointed as assistant professor or equivalent who have not yet received major federal or State peer-reviewed research funding. Project leaders must be housed in the Bryan / College Station campus and be willing to contribute a minimum of 20% effort annually to the TREC Research Project. Individuals holding positions that lack independent faculty status are not eligible to lead TREC research projects.

Research Project Awards: The TREC award will support 3 to 5 research projects at any given time. Individual TREC Research Projects will receive approximately $150,000 in annual direct costs for 2 years (renewable for a 3rd year), access to institutional core facilities and mentoring, and cancer-related career development support. Each project will be expected to move to independent extramural research support within 3 years. Individual research projects can include collaborations with senior investigators or investigators from other Texas institutions to gain access to technical or content expertise necessary for the successful completion of the proposed research.

Research Project Proposal: The Proposal consists of two parts.

Part 1) Applicants provide a letter of intent (LOI) that includes a Specific Aims Page (1 page maximum) that describes the goal of the proposed project and a summary of the proposed approach and an NIH Biosketch that includes current, pending and past peer-reviewed extramural research grant support. The deadline for receipt of the LOI is September 30, 2020. Please email your LOI packet to Dr. Ken Ramos at

Part 2) After peer review of the LOIs, finalists will be selected and asked to submit a full Research Project Proposal. The full Proposal (4-page limit) includes a description of the rationale, specific aims, and a brief research plan for the proposed research project. The cancer relevance of the proposed research should be concisely stated. Preliminary studies are not required, but highly encouraged. In the absence of preliminary results, applicants should describe prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project. Each project proposal should include a brief description of plans to submit an investigator-initiated research grant application to CPRIT and/or the NCI by the end of 3 years of TREC award support. The full Research Project Proposal will be due by November 16, 2020. Members of the Texas A&M Cancer Task Force will be available to work with applicants to assist in the development of the strongest possible research grant proposal that best aligns with the goals and objectives of the TREC program.       

Review of Proposals: Part 1 and Part 2 of the Research Project Proposals will be reviewed using NIH style criteria and scoring processes. Reviews will be conducted by a TAMU TREC Steering Committee chaired by Dr. Ken Ramos and comprised of members of the Texas A&M University Cancer Task Force. The selection criteria will favor proposals that 1) promote innovation in the area of cancer research and have the greatest potential for medical or scientific breakthroughs in the prevention, diagnosis and/or treatment cancer 2) are perceived to have the highest likelihood of transitioning to major NIH and/or CPRIT funding within three years, 3) are most likely to benefit from access to institutional core resources and TREC mentoring support. The thematic focus of the TAMU TREC award application will be developed after the review of the project proposals from “junior” faculty is completed. This approach will enable us to best align the proposed TREC program with the strengths of the Texas A&M cancer research community.

Questions related to this announcement can be sent directly to Dr. Ken Ramos at