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Last Updated: 1/20/12

Research Resources

Stay on top of grant application submission changes

Researchers — both new and veteran — know that submitting grant applications to NIH is exhilarating and nerve-racking, but this activity also keeps them on their toes because of changing submission guidelines. Researchers interested in submitting grant applications to NIH are always encouraged to read all application guides thoroughly to get the latest information on page limits, deadlines, and new initiatives.

The Office of Extramural Research (OER) hosts an informative website on the myriad of grants, guides, and timelines that make up the research funding activities of NIH. One of the most comprehensive guides is the SF424(R&R) Application and Electronic Submission Information guide. The SF424 application is the Standard Form for Research and Related Grant applications. The guide is available on the OER website:

Recently, the Research Strategy section of a majority of grant types has been shortened to 12 pages. Since this new rule can be seen as a challenge or an opportunity to researchers, the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has created a web page to help guide potential applicants. Four excellent grant applications have been made available for viewing to help researchers submit competitive grant applications in the shorter format. While the topic areas are not about cancer, the sample applications exhibit a clear grasp of the new guidelines and these examples aim to help applicants create similarly appropriate submissions.

Sample R01 summary statements and applications are available on the NIAID website: Applications are copyrighted and may be used for nonprofit educational purposes only.

Other helpful links for grant submission are available to potential researchers and are listed below. Remember to check early and often!

Helpful HINTS: Health information seeking data available to all researchers

Are you interested in how people find, use, and understand health information? Even if your research is not traditionally in this field, you may be interested to learn more about how patients, caregivers, and the general public interact with diverse sets of health data. Broadening your scope in this way could potentially impact your own work or how scientific findings are communicated to the public.

The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) is a biennial, cross-sectional, nationally representative sample of American adults that measures how people access and use health information, information technology, and the degree to which people are engaged in healthy behaviors. Additionally, several items in the HINTS dataset are specifically focused on cancer prevention and control and cover several cancer types. For example, along with questions on information seeking, participants are asked specific cancer-related behavior questions such as “Have you ever had a mammogram?” and “Have you ever had a colonoscopy?” The answers may help determine the relevance of conducting specific projects in cancer research.

All data from the HINTS survey are available free on the HINTS website for public use and the website has recently been redesigned to allow for better ease of use and navigation. Visit the HINTS website ( for more information on how you can use this comprehensive and illuminating data in your own research.

Website updates include the ability to:

  • Search HINTS by topic area and quickly access data, reports, and materials on all HINTS topics, ranging from patient-provider communication to cancer prevention.
  • View HINTS questions at the item-level to find data displayed in a user-friendly format with associated charts and publications.
  • See a list of citations for all the scientific articles published using a given HINTS item by clicking the "view related articles" link under each item's data chart.
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Summer school: Registration now open for NCI Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention 2012

Scientists, clinicians, and health care professionals interested in learning more about cancer prevention and control are urged to register for an exciting educational opportunity.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Prevention Fellowship will host two separate courses as part of the NCI Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention. “The Principles and Practice of Cancer Prevention and Control” is a 4-week course designed to provide participants a broad-based perspective on the current state of the science in cancer prevention. The course will be held July 9- August 3, 2012 in Rockville, Maryland with lectures from 8:30am-2:20pm.

The second course, “Molecular Prevention,” is a 1-week course targeted in scope to give participants a stronger background in the molecular biology and genetics of cancer. Topics covered will include molecular epidemiology, chemoprevention, biomarkers, and translational research. This course will be held from August 6-August 10, 2012, in Rockville, Maryland, from 8:30am-2:30pm.

Visit the Cancer Prevention fellowship website,, for more detailed information and registration instructions.

The registration deadline is February 15, 2012 for international applicants, and March 15, 2012 for domestic (U.S.) applicants.

NCI Provocative Questions Project hopes tough questions lead to exciting answers

Scientists are problem solvers—they try to cure diseases and figure out why cells behave in certain ways. However, the questions they ask are often just as important as the answers. Although crucial questions are asked often in the halls of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the “Provocative Questions” Project was initiated to identify some of the most puzzling problems in cancer research and to help support creative and innovative ways to tackle those problems.

The 24 Provocative Questions are the product of a series of workshops that were held in 2010 and 2011, as well as suggestions submitted online. This was a collaborative effort, with not only researchers participating, but also advocacy groups, healthcare professionals, and members of Congress providing input.

Examples of the Provocative Questions include:

  • What environmental factors change the risk of various cancers when people move from one geographic region to another?
  • Since current methods to assess potential cancer treatments are cumbersome, expensive, and often inaccurate, can we develop other methods to rapidly test interventions for cancer treatment or prevention?
  • Given the evidence that some drugs commonly and chronically used for other indications, such as an anti-inflammatory drug, can protect against cancer incidence and mortality, can we determine the mechanism by which any of these drugs work?

Information about the grant recipients and any provocative answers that result from this project will be featured in future editions of NCI CAM News.

All of the 24 questions and a message from NCI Director Dr. Harold Varmus are available at

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