Basic and Applied Decision-Making

Funding Opportunity

Predicting Behavioral Responses to Population-Level Cancer Control Strategies (R21)

The goal of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to facilitate research to identify individual influences on the effectiveness of population-level strategies that target cancer-related behaviors. We seek to encourage collaborations among scientists with expertise in health policy research and implementation, as well as investigators in scientific disciplines that have not traditionally conducted cancer or policy research, such as: psychological science (e.g., social, developmental); affective and cognitive neuroscience; judgment and decision-making; consumer behavior and marketing; organizational behavior; sociology, cultural anthropology; behavioral economics; linguistics; and political science. Letters of Intent will be accepted 30 days prior to the application due date. For more details, please review the full Program Announcement: PAR-16-257. For inquiries on this funding announcement, please contact: Rebecca Ferrer.


Advances in cancer prevention, screening, treatment and end-of-life care, coupled with advances in bioinformatics, have created a wide array of health care options and sources of medical information. Whereas previously the physician was generally accepted as the locus of medical decision-making, today this is no longer the case. More and more, shared decision-making, in which patients and their physicians deliberate about options using the best available evidence, is replacing the traditional paternalistic model in medicine.

As health care decisions become more of a collaborative effort between patient and provider, patients are increasingly expected to assume greater responsibility for their health decisions.

The objective of this research initiative is to enhance understanding of decision-making processes so that individuals can make more informed and effective choices regarding their health, health care and quality of life.

Specific aims: To encourage:

  • Research that examines the cognitive and affective processes underlying cancer prevention and treatment decisions (e.g., medication adherence, decisions to begin or end chemotherapy, decisions to undergo risk reduction surgery)
  • Research on basic decision-making processes involved in the initiation and long-term maintenance of healthy lifestyle behaviors that may reduce one's risk of cancer and other chronic diseases;
  • Research that examines the construction and stability of preferences for treatment and treatment outcomes
  • Research that explores how the dynamics of real-world settings influence judgment and decision-making processes
  • Basic and applied research that examines health-related numeracy - how people use, process and attach meaning to health-related numeric information
  • Research that examines the consequences of shared decision-making


Becky Ferrer, Ph.D.
Program Director

Wendy Nelson, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director