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Last Updated: 09/13/22

Frequently Asked Questions about Research

General Grant Application

Review/Center for Scientific Review related

General Grant Application Questions

Where can I find information and guidance on preparing a grant application?

Preparing to submit a grant application can feel overwhelming. Here are some suggestions to avoid some of the common pitfalls of grant applications:

  • Have a clear project description without complexity
  • Set realistic and not overly ambitious specific aims
  • Create a clear conceptual model
  • Strive for a well-defined methodology
  • Note the validity and replicability of the project
  • Cite background studies and references
  • Discuss statistical expertise and provide a clear data analysis plan
  • Have a plan for quality assurance
  • Note the expertise of investigator teams

Additionally, please visit these NIH and NCI websites for more broad information about grant writing and submission.

What are the grant mechanisms and how much funding does each one provide?

Information about NIH grant mechanisms can be found on the Office of Extramural Research page:

What are the grant cycles and expiration dates?

Grant submission deadlines follow a standard pre-determined schedule and can be accessed at the following link.

Individual program announcement (PA) expiration dates differ for each PA and are available on the specific PA website.

What types of research are you looking to fund, i.e. what therapy or cancer type?

NCI accepts applications addressing any of a broad spectrum of topics in cancer and CAM, however, DCTD has a special interest in research focusing on three tumor types (head and neck cancer, bladder cancer and pancreatic cancer). Also, OCCAM is attempting to build a portfolio of research relevant to 1) the potential utility of CAM approaches either as cancer therapies or as beneficial modifiers of conventional or experimental cancer therapy, and 2) the impact of lifestyle modification (e.g. diet, exercise and stress reduction) on cancer patient survival and response to therapy.

Does the scope of my proposed project fit under a specific Program Announement listed on your Funding Announcements page?

You may find it helpful to contact the specific Program Officer listed at the end of each program announcement. Investigators are encouraged to contact Program Officers before submission of grant applications. OCCAM’s program officer, Dr. Dan Xi’s contact information is:

Dan Xi, Ph.D.
Program Officer
Extramural Research Program

Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
National Cancer Institute
9609 Medical Center Drive,
Rockville, MD
Telephone: (240) 276-6143
FAX: (240) 276-7888

What are the new grant submission rules?

Grant submission rules occasionally change so applicants should review guidelines before submitting a new application, regardless of whether they are a first-time or repeat applicant. Grant submission rules can be found at:

Are there special rules for foreign applicants?

Information for foreign applications is available on the Office of Extramural Research page:

How do I apply for Program Projects (P01)?

General information about P01 is available from the Office of Extramural Research:

Can I receive guidance for the use of animals in research?

Information about animal research is provided by the Office of Extramural Research:

Review/CSR-related questions

Can an applicant propose a study review group or IRG for their application?

Below are some recommendations on how to write a cover letter to propose a specific study section for your application.

  • Read about CSR Study Sections at:
  • Identify an appropriate study section.
  • You can propose in your cover letter where your application appears to have the best fit.
  • You may suggest the inclusion of reviewers with specific scientific expertise.
  • You can indicate the name of the Program Director who has provided you with technical assistance with the Branch/Office.

Does NCI or OCCAM have a CAM-specific review Special Emphasis Group (SEP)?

No. Applications are evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate scientific review group(s) in accordance with NIH peer review procedures and under the section of “Application Review Information” in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Most of applications of CAM cancer research are reviewed by Center for Scientific Review (CSR)