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CFCCC Anti-Cancer Challenge Request for Proposals


Download Letter of Intent Template
Download Application Form

Funds are available from the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (CFCCC) Anti-Cancer Challenge (ACC) to support cancer-related pilot projects.

The overall objectives of the CFCCC Anti-Cancer Challenge Pilot Project Program are to: (1) increase the number of extramural peer-reviewed grant awards, particularly collaborative and multi-PI grants; (2) support the development of investigator-initiated early phase clinical trial protocols by clinical investigators, particularly interventional trials; (3) advance novel diagnostic or screening technologies, therapeutic molecules or devices, and bio-behavioral interventions from bench to bedside; and (4) advance research on cancer control, cancer population science, and pediatric cancers. Applicants are strongly encouraged to focus on the priorities of the CFCCC catchment area1.

This competition will provide up to 15 awards of up to $40,000 each (direct costs) along two tracks, with a specific emphasis on projects capable of significant impact within 1-2 years. UCI Principal Investigators and CHOC Hyundai Cancer Institute-affiliated physicians are eligible to apply.

Applications in the following FOCUS AREAS will be especially competitive:

  • Research addressing cancer health disparities2 in the Cancer Center’s catchment area1 of Orange County. This includes:

    –  Cancers with unusually high incidence or prevalence in the catchment area, such as melanoma, breast and lung cancer
    – Cancers disproportionately affecting racial or ethnic groups, such as liver and gastric cancer in Hispanics and Asians, cervical, gall bladder, and young onset colorectal cancer in Hispanics
  • Projects addressing unique aspects of a specific cancer burden in the catchment area (e.g., etiology of lung adenocarcinoma in Asian female never-smokers or of Ph-like B-lymphoblastic leukemia in Hispanics; basis for low HPV vaccination rates in different racial/ethnic groups; melanoma detection/prognosis in Hispanics)
  • Projects addressing research questions in population health and cancer control (etiology and/or prevention) relevant to the catchment area, particularly involving collaborations between Cancer Control Program members & other CFCCC Programs
  • Projects addressing cancers of relevance to pediatric/AYA populations
  • Collaborations involving Disease-Oriented Teams or multidisciplinary tumor boards that seek to advance a novel diagnostic or screening technology, therapeutic molecule or device, or bio-behavioral intervention to a clinical trial
  • Projects leveraging CFCCC Shared Resources
  • Applications from Early Stage Investigators

1The CFCCC catchment area is Orange County. Details on catchment area demographics and cancer incidence and mortality can be found at: https://youtu.be/5yPWuDd-Ygo.

2The NCI defines cancer health disparities as “adverse differences in cancer incidence (new cases), cancer prevalence (existing cases), cancer death (mortality), cancer survivorship, and burden of cancer related conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States.”



  • UCI researchers eligible to serve as principal investigator on a research grant (e.g., faculty or project scientist) and CHOC Hyundai Cancer Institute-affiliated physicians are eligible to apply.
  • CFCCC membership must be established by the time of award.
  • Each PI may submit only one application.

Selection Criteria

  • Applications will be peer reviewed in accordance with NIH criteria with explicit emphasis placed on the near-term impact (i.e., within 1-2 years).
  • Projects from investigators that extend their studies to clinical or translational research are strongly encouraged, as are applications from investigators whose projects use collaborations with a Cancer Center Disease-Oriented Team, that utilize CFCCC Shared Resources, or involve significant new collaborations.

Regulatory Approvals

  • Proposals with a clinical component must have an existing regulatory approval (e.g. human subjects or animal protocol that is either IRB/IACUC-approved) or ready for IRB/IACUC submission (i.e., DOT-approved).
  • If sufficient progress in obtaining regulatory approvals has not been made within 6 months after award date, the CFCCC may withdraw the award.

Budget and Reporting

  • Exclusions: Faculty salaries, large equipment (e.g., >$5K), travel, and indirect costs are not allowed.
  • Plan to fully spend the award within 1 year for Track 1 projects and within 2 years for Track 2 projects.
  • A short progress report is due at the end of 6 months and a final report is due within 30 days of completing the project.
  • Awardees may be asked to present a 15-20 minute “chalk talk” to a peer-colleague committee for feedback on progress.
  • A single no-cost extension, for up to 6 months, will be considered for review by the Center Administrator and presentation to Cancer Center leadership for final determination.

Letter of Intent

A Letter of Intent is due Monday, December 7, 2020 by 5:00 PM. Applicants must use the provided template and naming convention Lastname_ACC LOI_YYYY-MM-DD (e.g., Smith_ACC LOI_2020-12-07), and email to CFCCC Administration at cfcccadmin@hs.uci.edu. The LOI is required for assignment of peer reviewers for full proposal submission and will not be reviewed for competition. Therefore, applicants should proceed with their full proposal after submitting the LOI. The LOI should include:

  • Application track (1 or 2) and Project Title
  • Key Personnel - Names, academic ranks, department affiliation and email address of the contact Principal Investigator and other Key Personnel
  • Abstract - One paragraph abstract/introduction about background, significance, and impact of the research
  • Specific Aims

Application Due Date

Applications are due Monday, January 18, 2021 by 5:00 PM. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.

Application Format

Applicants must submit the attached CFCCC Pilot Project Application form (template attached). The application should state clearly why funding through this pilot grant mechanism is appropriate and should outline the specific plans for extramural grant submissions (Track 1 projects) or for launching an investigator-initiated treatment trial (Track 2 projects). Completed applications will include:

  • Cover page with requested project information, a scientific abstract (NIH format) and a lay abstract (3-4 sentences).
  • Project Description (3 pages maximum) including the Background and Significance, Research Plan and Specific Aims, and the rationale for requested funds with specific plans for extramural grant submissions or investigator-initiated treatment trials.
  • References cited.
  • Budget and budget Justification (1 page each).
  • Include an NIH Biosketch listing your current sources of funding and a one-line description of the primary goal of each funded grant. A biosketch should be included for each key personnel involved with the project.
  • Applications must adhere to the following formatting requirements: Arial font; 11 pt.; minimum 0.5 inch for all margins; no appendices.

Application Submission

The application should be submitted via email as one complete pdf file named Lastname_ACC Application_YYYY-MM-DD (e.g., Smith ACC Application_2021-01-18) to CFCCC Administration at cfcccadmin@hs.uci.edu. Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged within 2 business days.

Award Timeline

Applications will be reviewed in February-March and funding is expected to begin by April 1, 2021.


For inquiries regarding this request for proposals, please contact CFCCC Administration at cfcccadmin@hs.uci.edu.