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Research We Fund: Extramural Discovery Science

Request for Applications (RFA)

ACS Research Priority Area: Screening


Detecting cancer early saves lives. Unfortunately, the important benefits of cancer screening are not reaching enough people. The purpose of this RFA is to fund innovative research that will facilitate more widespread cancer screening and early detection culminating in reduced cancer mortality. 


Screening has proven to be one of the most impactful cancer-control strategies, yet many Americans are not reaping the benefits. Despite the United States being a high-resource country, the uptake, equity, and effectiveness of cancer screening are suboptimal, and socioeconomic inequalities in usage are widening. Additional research is necessary to test creative solutions for tackling this persistent problem and disturbing trend. 

Mark Your Calendar

Applications Open in proposalCENTRAL: Jan. 2023

Application Due Date (all grant mechanisms): April 3, 2023

Application Review: June 2023

Award Notification: Oct. 2023

Grant Activation: Jan. 2024 

Funds Available for Awards: $10 million for the 3 mechanisms 

Program Contact: Kim Clarke at

Cancer screening and early detection needs extend beyond improving the implementation of existing tests. There are proven screening tools for only 4 of the 20 most common cancer types in the US. It is paramount to identify through research effective strategies for detecting more cancer types early, while being mindful that technologies that are less expensive and less complex will enable their widest application.

Scientific Scope

This RFA, focused on testing innovative solutions to improve cancer screening and early detection, could entail better implementing existing screening tests, adapting current tests and technologies, or developing new tools. 

We highly encourage creative approaches that will lead to more equitable, accessible, and holistic cancer screening and early detection (e.g., bundling evidence-based screening tests, integrating cancer prevention tactics into screening models, or developing technologies that could bring cancer screening to individuals rather than having people go to health care facilities). 

Examples of possible research areas:

  • Identify beneficial strategies that improve the receipt of recommended cancer screening tests among marginalized, underserved, and never-screened populations, as well as strategies that increase the likelihood of follow-up after a positive screening test.
  • Leverage technological innovation to develop or adapt a screening test to be more broadly accessible and affordable (e.g., self-screening, self-sampling, rapid, etc.) than current technologies and tests. 
  • Establish and validate one or more system-based approaches that support cancer screening uptake, completion, and maintenance
  • Conduct comparative cost-effective analyses of innovative cancer screening tests with consideration for how to best translate research findings into practice.

Grant Mechanisms, Eligibility, and Budget

This Screening Priority Area RFA offers funding opportunities for investigators with a terminal degree at all career ranks. 

All applications must be submitted by a college, university, medical school, or other eligible not-for-profit research organization within the United States, its territories, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

After Spring 2023, new or resubmitted applications will only be accepted for this RFA deadline on a limited basis.
In 2023, the Interdisciplinary Team Award, Research Scholar Grant, and Clinician-Scientist Development Grant are only accepting resubmissions.

After Spring 2023, new or resubmitted applications will only be accepted for this RFA  deadline on a limited basis.

Interdisciplinary Team Award (Resubmissions only)

Overview: Funds team science to advance cancer screening and early detection. All Team Award applications must clearly articulate how the team will synergize to accelerate scientific advancement and clinical benefit. 

We define an interdisciplinary team as one having a well-justified representation of diverse research skills and perspectives, not merely team members representing different departments. 

The team must consist of at least 3 members: Lead PI and at least 1 Team Principal and 1 Team Investigator. 

Team Members:

  • Lead PI (no multi- or co-PIs allowed) serves as the team leader and primary point of contact for the ACS Extramural Discovery Science staff, ensures the team complies with the terms of the award, and oversees all organization assurances and certifications.
    • Eligibility: You ARE eligible to submit a proposal if you have:
      • Been a full-time independent investigator for at least 5 years.
      • The ability to dedicate 10% or more of your time and effort to the team project. 
  • Team Principal leads a component of the research based on their area(s) of expertise and, together with the Lead PI, shares authority for scientific leadership.
    • Eligibility: You ARE eligible to be a Team Principal if you have: 
      • Been a full-time independent investigator for at least 5 years. 
      • The ability to dedicate at least 10% of your time and effort to collaboratively move a subproject forward.
      • Expertise that is distinct from the Lead PI. 
  • Team Investigator(s) roles and percent effort will be defined by Lead PI and/or Team Principal(s). A Team Investigator should have expertise that is distinct from the Lead PI and Team Principal(s). Team Investigators can be at any career stage as long as they have a terminal degree and the expertise to perform their defined role, meaning a faculty position or independent research position is not required. We highly encourage, but do not require, integrating at least 1 early-career investigator with a terminal degree (e.g., instructor, research associate, postdoctoral fellow, etc.) into the team.

Grant Term and Budget: The award is for a 5-year term with $1.2M total costs ($200K a year, plus 20% allowable indirect costs).

Letter-of-Intent (LOI) Requirements and Due Date: Resubmitted Team Award applications do not need to submit an LOI again. Any changes to the Team must be approved by the Scientific Director of the program. The proposal may not change more than 50% from the initial submission.

Invitation to Apply Date: By June 20, 2022, invitation-to-apply decisions will be communicated to applicants via proposalCENTRAL. 

If the LOI is accepted, the application materials will become available in the PI’s proposalCENTRAL account.

Research Scholar Grant (Resubmissions only)

Overview: Funds an independent research project that advances cancer screening and early detection. 

Eligibility: You ARE eligible to submit a proposal if you: 

  • Are a full-time independent investigator at any stage in your career. 

Note: PI eligibility for this RFA is extended beyond the ACS standard career launching RSG. Active ACS grantees who meet the eligibility criteria can apply as long as the proposed project has no scientific overlap with currently funded projects.

Grant Term and Budget: Awards are for up to 4 years at $165K a year direct costs, plus 20% allowable indirect costs. 

Note: Unlike our traditional RSG, we are not offering an expanded award term and budget for large, multilevel projects on screening health equity. If the research team is interdisciplinary (defined above), the Team Award could be an option for projects requiring more time and/or a larger budget.

Clinician-Scientist Development Grant (Resubmissions only)

Overview: Provides protected time (minimum of 50%) for junior faculty to be mentored and participate in cancer screening and early detection research training to aid their development as independent clinician scientists. 

Eligibility: You ARE eligible to submit a proposal if you: 

  • Have a clinical license and play a role in clinical care.
  • Are within the first 6 years of starting a full-time faculty appointment.
  • Have had less than 3 years of prior mentored post-doctoral research experience (time spent in clinical-only training is not counted).
  • Have not had an individual mentored award (e.g., NIH K08).
  • Have not had an R-level or equivalent grant as PI.

Grant Term and Budget: Award is for 3 to 5 years with $135K direct costs a year, plus 8% allowable indirect costs. 

See the Clinician Scientist Development grant for more details.

Priority Area RFA in Screening Application Instructions and Policies

Goes to proposalCENTRAL