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How We Support Principal Investigators

DCCPS Program Directors and Project Officers are recognized scientific experts who exercise oversight and monitor the scientific progress and programmatic aspects of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts. They participate in the decision-making process that identifies research goals and objectives, and recommend action for resource allocation. Program Directors and Project Officers collaborate and maintain effective liaisons with scientists in their program area and monitor technologic, scientific, and policy developments in order to consider future research priorities.

Program Directors and Project Officers are an important resource to grant applicants. They encourage the submission of quality applications that will be competitive for funding by helping applicants understand the available options for NIH support. Program Directors and Project Officers are dedicated to ensuring that grants and contracts are fully implemented and evaluated. They review progress reports to determine whether sufficient progress is being made. They also encourage investigators to publish and disseminate research results, and to present relevant papers at national and international scientific meetings.

The Role of Program Directors and Project Officers
  • Explain the NCI and NIH philosophy, grant and contract policies, and system of reviewing and awarding research applications
  • Identify resources for locating funding opportunities and the best NIH institute or center for the potential funding of a project idea
  • Describe grant and contract mechanisms that correlate with the goal and intent of the project and the experience of the investigator
  • Refer applicants to Web sites for information on proposal preparation
  • Clarify Request For Applications (RFA), Program Announcement (PA), and Request For Proposals (RFP) solicitations beyond what is printed in the announcements
  • Provide information on the infrastructure of the application, including sources for acquiring forms
  • Describe the review process from application submission to follow-up after peer review
  • Provide advice on general research issues, such as clarification of the theoretical basis of the science involved, identification of ways an idea builds on the current state of science, pathways to justify NCI funding, and identification of how an idea or approach is unique when compared to existing research awards
  • Respond to information requests concerning the grant and contracts portfolio
  • Develop collaborations with other research funders
  • Develop and propose to NCI leadership new concepts for RFAs and PAs
  • Initiate and plan workshops and conferences to facilitate research planning, priority setting, and dissemination
  • Serve as liaison to national and international associations
  • Review progress reports to identify exciting and compelling scientific results
Image of the Grants Process Overview

Grant Process Overview

  1. PI initiates research idea and prepares application
  2. PI submits application
  3. NIH Center for Scientific Review assigns to NCI and to study section
  4. Initial Review Group (NCI or CSR) evaluates for scientific merit
  5. National Cancer Advisory Board recommends action
  6. NCI evaluates program relevance and need
  7. NCI makes funding selections and issues grant awards
  8. NCI monitors programmatic and management business performance of the grant
  9. PI manages funds
  10. PI conducts research