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Last Updated: 11/9/12

Funding Opportunities

Unsolicited/Investigator-Initiated Research Proposals Replaced at NIH

With the dawn of the new electronic grant application era at NIH, unsolicited/ investigator–initiated research proposals will no longer be accepted. Instead, NIH has adopted agency-wide parent announcements under which these types of applications must be submitted. The parent announcements are specific to the various types of grant mechanisms and provide a more formal and structured method for investigators to apply.

The change in the way in which unsolicited applications are received coincides with the transition to electronic grant submissions on Submissions to have to be made in response to a particular Funding Opportunity Announcement. This change is not necessarily new. In fact, for the past three years, NIH has required parent announcements for unsolicited small research grants (R03) and exploratory/developmental grants (R21). Such announcements will now also be used to process all grant mechanisms in response to unsolicited proposals including: research project grants (R01), conference grants (R13), AREA grants (R15), SBIR grants (R43, R44), STTR grants (R41, R42).

For more information about parent announcements, please visit the NIH's Office of Extramural Research online at

New Funding Opportunity Announcement:

Prioritizing Molecular Targets for Cancer Prevention with Nutritional Combinations

Estimates suggest that 30-70% of all cancer cases might be preventable by diet, depending on the dietary components and the type of cancer. With this potential to prevent cancer in mind, a new funding opportunity announcement has recently been released by NCI. The new program announcement (PA) Prioritizing Molecular Targets for Cancer Prevention with Nutritional Combinations (PA-07-100) specifically requests research grant applications regarding the interrelationship between bioactive food components and/or food combinations as they relate to cancer prevention. This PA uses the research project (R01) mechanism to support the investigation using new technologies (high-throughput genomic, epigenomic, proteomic, and metabolomic) that can evaluate multiple molecular targets within the cancer process(es).

Examples of applications in response to the PA could include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • Comparison of the benefits of a specific food type versus its bioactive component(s) in purified form (e.g., soy versus genistein) in terms of the effects on cell proliferation, apoptosis, expression of specific genes, and the state of the metabolome. Appropriate models may include cultured tumor and normal mammary cells.
  • Comparison of the effects of combining foods (e.g. broccoli and tomatoes) on gene expression patterns (microarray analysis) in relationship to cancer susceptibility in appropriate experimental animal models.
  • Evaluation of the possible synergy of combinations of isolated bioactive components (e.g., epigallocatechin gallate and resveratrol) on cancer-relevant targets associated with inflammation and angiogenesis at the protein level.
  • Exploration of the interplay among dietary components sharing a common molecular target. Studies may address the issue of target “saturability” and whether alternative targets become more important in such a situation. The activation of ARE-regulated genes involved in carcinogen detoxification is one scenario in which dietary components, such as diallyl disulfides, sulforaphane, and/or selenium) may “compete” for the same molecular target.

For more information on the objectives, eligibility criteria, submission process and review, and contact information, please visit

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