IDEAS & STREAMS of Excellence grants

Richard Gordon gordonr at CC.UMANITOBA.CA
Mon Jan 2 02:04:52 EST 2006

id RAA19965

Dear Al,
>From my previous (bad) experience, the Canadian Breast Cancer Research
Initiative sold their soul (and gave all their money) to NCIC, leaving
judgement as to who gets grants to NCIC. Either this is just more of the
same (remember, we were the only ones stupid enough to ever have applied
for a "Feasibility Grant"), or CBCRC is trying to break away from the
clutches of NCIC. I doubt the latter, because of the same old euphamism
squelching innovation: "However, all applications will be reviewed
according to the highest standards of peer review."

I'm sending this to my colleagues in the Canadian Association for
Responsible Research Funding, and to Radhika.
Yours, -Dick Gordon

>Jerry and Richard,
>Here is more.  Richard, do you know if this is a Government initiativ or
>is it afilliated to the NCIC.
>Al Wexler PhD, President       Tel. (204)942-4000
>Quantic EMC Inc.               Fax. (204)957-1158
>1103 - 191 Lombard Avenue      wexler at
>Winnipeg, Manitoba   
>Canada R3B 0X1

Canadian Breast Cancer
Research Initiative

Background For Applicants

10 Alcorn Avenue, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario M4V 3B1
Phone:  (416) 961-7223
Fax:          (416) 961-4189
email:  cbcri at

New Funding Program to Support Innovation

The Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative is pleased to announce an
innovative new program of research support: IDEA Grants.

The new IDEA grants will support innovative, new research ideas that are
speculative, but have the potential for advancing scientific knowledge.
They will support small-scale pilot studies or investigations of
concepts to
permit the investigator to test out new ideas which although based on
science, are outside of existing conventional research paradigms and
be deemed speculative.  The expectation is that these ideas, once
will lead to the development of proposals for feasibility grants or
operating grants.  It is not the intent of the program to provide
supplemental, add-on funding in support of existing, ongoing

The IDEA grant will be small in scale, from $25,000 to $50,000 over one
year, non-renewable, but the award may be extended over two years if
necessary.  It is expected that 6 - 12 awards may result from each

Another new feature of the IDEA grants program is that the decisions on
awards and funding for the IDEA grants will be finalized within 3 months
application.  This quick turn-around time will be possible through the
of an abbreviated grant application form, and an accelerated review
However, all applications will be reviewed according to the highest
standards of peer review.

It is anticipated that there will be two competitions per year for the
four years..  The first competition will take place April 1, 1999, with
funding to begin July 1, 1999.  The second competition will take place
January 1, 2000, with funding to begin April 1, 2000.

Application forms will be available by February 1, 1999, and will be
upon your request, including full mailing address, to CBCRI at:
(416) 961-7223 (phone)
(416) 961-4189 (fax)
e-mail:   cbcri at
 IDEA Grants Program

Rationale and General Description:

Some types of breast cancer research projects cannot be currently funded
Canada: very innovative, new research ideas that are highly speculative,
that have the potential for advancing scientific knowledge.  Although
applications for AFeasibility Grants@ funding can be submitted to the
regular NCIC/CBCRI operating grants competition, these applications tend
develop concepts within existing research paradigms or test
In breast cancer research, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation did
its research support towards small Aseed@ grants, but it greatly reduced
program since joining CBCRI as a full partner.  No mechanisms permit a
researcher to support small-scale pilot studies or investigations of
concepts with a view to test out new ideas which although based on good
science, are outside of existing conventional research paradigms and
be deemed highly speculative.

To address this gap in funding possibilities, the Management Committee
the CBCRI is proposing that a new granting program be established for
so-called, IDEA grants.

The purpose of the IDEA grants program is to encourage novel, innovative
approaches to breast cancer research in any field. These research
would encompass new, unique or unusual approaches to the study of breast
cancer. The research could involve new paradigms, challenge existing
paradigms or look at an existing problem from a new perspective. These
projects could include small-scale pilot studies to test out an idea to
if it might work, prior to undertaking a feasibility study.  These could
limited term projects to develop and test new hypotheses or new methods.
IDEA proposals do not require preliminary or pilot data. The proposals
should have a high probability of revealing new avenues for
The expectation is that these ideas, once explored, will lead to the
development of full proposals to be submitted to the regular

Applications are invited from all sectors, from community-based groups
biomedical science teams, as well as from the continuum of breast cancer
research, from basic science to prevention, treatment and care,
issues, quality of life, and ethical/legal/social issues.

Program Details:

1) Terms and conditions of the grants: Small in scale and limited in
duration.  Total funding per project: $25,000 to $50,000.  Term of
one year, non-renewable, but funding could be expended over two years,
necessary, with no additional funding.

2) Competition dates: Two competitions per year, starting in 1999-2000.
Reviews and responses within three months of submission.  Applicants may
apply more than once per year, but under normal circumstances, the
investigator will not hold more than
 one IDEA grant at a time. Competition deadlines: April 1st and January
The first competition will be April 1, 1999.

3) Number of IDEA grants to be awarded: From 12 to 24 IDEA grants per
depending on the value of the awards, which amounts to 6 to 12  awards
competition. Total number of grants over the 4 years of operation of the
program: from 48 to 96 awards.

4) Total budget for the IDEA grants program:  $2.4 million will be set
for this IDEA grants program for Phase II (1998-2003) of the CBCRI.

5) Peer review process and committee structure: A multi-disciplinary
review committee, representing a wide range of research in breast
and including 8 breast cancer research scientists and 2 lay
plus an observer from ACOR.  Accelerated review process: panel meeting
e-mail and/or teleconference.  External reviewers will be asked to
written reviews if necessary.  Recommendations of the review panel to be
approved by Management Committee.

6) Structure of proposal: The grant proposals would be restricted to 5
to allow for rapid completion and evaluation. The components of the
can be found in Appendix A.

7) Review criteria: The proposals would be in any field of breast cancer
research and would need to meet most of the same criteria used to
scientific merit in the regular CBCRI operating grants competitions.
of the criteria will be found in Appendix B.

8) Research Administration:

C Funding: Funding of IDEA grants awards: one single lump sum payment of
from $25,000 to $50,000.  December 1st competition: payment on or about
April 1st; May 1st competition:  payment on or about July 1st.

C Reports: The recipients of grants from the IDEA program would be
to submit a final scientific report upon completion of the project ; an
interim annual progress report, if the project extends over two years;
an Aevaluation report@, no later than two years after completion of the
project, to clarify what resulted from the project -  an entirely new
research direction based on the IDEA grant results, or a successful or
unsuccessful application for regular operating grant funding, or no
at all because the IDEA grant led to no useful results. These evaluation
reports will enable CBCRI to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of
funding program.

C Publishing: Investigators are expected to publish their results in the
scientific journals.  CBCRI research funding should be identified in
publications. Researchers will be invited to present their research at
scientific conferences organized by the CBCRI.
 Appendix A: Structure of Proposals (Details)

C title page of application with identifying information;
C budget form with attached pages for the justification;
C one paragraph (half page) scientific abstract of the project;
C one paragraph project summary in lay language;
C one paragraph that describes the relevance of the project to breast
C New length: a five page description of the project that would include
rationale and significance of the study, a critical review of the
literature, aims and objectives of the project, methods and materials
the project, data analysis and time line for the project;
C New: one paragraph (half page) addressing the project=s innovativeness
novel approach: why the project is not only innovative and novel, but is
also not appropriate as a "feasibility grant application" to the regular
C list of potential external reviewers, with whom the applicants have
collaborated and who would not be in conflict of interest;
C one page biographical form for each investigator named (covering
education, training, employment history and number of publications) and
of publications in past five years to be appended to this form;
C one page that lists all other current research support held (including
title, agency, amount, year) with an indication if any funding overlaps
the current request for funds;
C appropriate approvals for projects using human subjects, animals,

Note: summary pages and budgets of other research funding would not be
required to decrease the time required to prepare and evaluate the

 Appendix B: Review Criteria (Details)

C Research strategy: Are the conceptual framework, hypotheses, design,
methods and analyses adequately developed and well-integrated to the
aims of
the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and
consider alternative tactics? Preliminary data are not required but may

C Innovation: Does the research use novel concepts, approaches or
Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge
paradigms, develop new methods or techniques, address under-explored or
unexplored areas?

C Scientific Relevance and Impact: Does the study address a critical
in breast cancer research? What will be the effect of these studies on
concepts or methods that drive this field? Does the proposal make a
convincing case for the relevance of the research to breast cancer? To
extent will the project, if successful, make an original and important
contribution to the goal of eradicating breast cancer and/or advancing
research in the field?

C Principal Investigator: Is the PI appropriately trained and well
suited to
carry out this work? Is the proposed work appropriate to the experience
level of the PI and other researchers (if any)? Is there appropriate
representation from all the expertise areas needed to conduct the study

C Environment and Resources: Is the scientific environment an
setting for the proposed research? Are the research requirements
supported by the scientific environment, necessary resources, and any
collaborative arrangements proposed? Is there evidence of institutional

Will the study permit an investigator to test out a new idea that could
otherwise be explored?  It is not the intent of the program to provide
supplemental, add-on funding in support of existing, ongoing

C Budget: Is the budget reasonable and well justified for the research

>For French version please see attachment.
>Canadian Breast Cancer
>Research Initiative
>Background For Applicants
>10 Alcorn Avenue, Suite 200
>Toronto, Ontario M4V 3B1
>Phone: (416) 961-7223
>Fax:           (416) 961-4189
>email: cbcri at
>                                       Website:
>New Funding Strategy To Link Top Canadian Breast Cancer Research
>The Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative (CBCRI) is pleased to
>announce a new flagship program of research support: Stream(s) of Excellence
>in Breast Cancer Research. The new Stream(s) of Excellence Grants will
>encourage and support multi-disciplinary teams of recognized Canadian
>leaders in breast cancer research, working collaboratively and
>synergistically at several sites, to move research results more effectively
>from "bench to bedside" or from "molecule to population".
>The CBCRI recognizes that over the past ten years individual investigators
>have made major contributions to discrete aspects of the breast cancer
>problem. But most of the fundamental advances, and others on the cusp of
>discovery, have yet to be translated into effective, less toxic therapies
>for the breast cancer patient. What is needed is a linkage of investigations
>across separate research domains, to help advance research more effectively
>toward clinical applications.
>To be funded, a Stream of Excellence proposal will:
>· Link separate research domains actively and effectively, under a single
>leadership, in a progression toward an ultimate clinical goal
>· Be truly multi-disciplinary, by linking at least three distinct
>· Be comprised of a team of acknowledged "all-stars" in breast cancer
>research from several Canadian centres
>· Show promise of true synergy in advancing toward treatment goals not
>attainable by any individual component
>There will be no ceiling on the budget requested by applicant teams, other
>than the overall $1.5 million per year budget allocation for the
>competition.   Awards will be for four years with a possible fifth year
>extension.  The application process will be in two stages, with letters of
>intent to be received by March 1, 1999 and invited full applications to be
>submitted by November 1, 1999.
>To facilitate the necessary networking, CBCRI will make meeting room space
>available on Sunday June 20, immediately following the inaugural Canadian
>Breast Cancer Researchers' Meeting, being sponsored by CBCRI on June 17-19,
>1999 in Toronto.  This scientific meeting will bring together, for the first
>time, Canadian expertise in breast cancer research, including all
>researchers funded by CBCRI. Conference details and invitations will be
>forthcoming in the near future.
>A Letter of Intent (original and fifteen (15) copies) must be submitted to
>the CBCRI by
>March 1, 1999.
>The Principal Investigator or Program Coordinator should include a five page
>summary of the overall program. In addition, EACH Principal Investigator
>should include a one page summary of his/her project, including relevance to
>the overall program goal, what role they will play in the program, and how
>this program will fit into their overall research program.
>The primary goal of the Streams of Excellence Program is to move basic
>research findings, or other research findings, forward toward translational
>application and ultimate impact on clinical care and treatment of breast
>cancer.  The Letters of Intent must convincingly convey this intent.
>Letters of Intent will be evaluated primarily with respect to this program
>goal, and rank-ordered accordingly.
>In order to clarify how the proposed team expects to achieve this goal,
>Letters of Intent must indicate the following:
>C Promise or expectation of Acutting-edge@ research of the highest
>scientific excellence, both in the overall collaborative plan and in the
>individual project components. This expectation would be provided by a brief
>general description of the work proposed.   (It is recognized that the
>science cannot be adequately evaluated until the full proposal is written
>and received.  Nevertheless, cutting-edge research will not appear to repeat
>something already done elsewhere, or to work out details of research
>directions already laid out elsewhere.)
>Thus, there should be a clear statement of the problem to be addressed, and
>a  demonstration of the state-of-the-art nature of the approaches proposed.
>C Collaboration and cooperation of at least 3 Aall-stars@ who are well
>recognized as top experts in their fields.
>Thus, there should be clear evidence of the established expertise in the
>proposed area of research.
>C Involvement of at least 3 distinctly different disciplinary areas, with
>clearly defined linkages.
>C Evidence of real collaboration among the components.
>Thus, there should be included a description of past, current, and planned
>future relationships and interactions of the participating investigators.
>C Promise or expectation of developmental movement toward the goal.
>Thus, it should be clarified how the future interactions of the
>participating investigators will accelerate the acquisition of knowledge
>beyond that expected from the same projects if conducted separately.
>C Good overall coordination and administration of the project.
>The Letter of Intent must include the following as appendices:
>A list of expert investigators, domestic and foreign, who would be
>appropriate to serve as reviewers of all or part of the intended
>application. Please ensure that potential reviewers do not include
>individuals who may have a conflict of interest with the program or with the
>investigators. Information about prospective reviewers shall include as many
>of the following as possible: potential reviewer=s name, his/her Host
>Institution, a telephone number, as well as a sentence describing his/her
>expertise. At the same time, it would be helpful if you could also include a
>list of investigators who should not be contacted as potential reviewers
>(present or recent collaborators, for example) with a brief explanation of
>the reason for their exclusion.
>For each Investigator, provide the following:
>1.  A brief Curriculum Vitae (no more than 5 pages) including publications
>the last 5 years, clearly indicating publications which have direct
>relevance to this proposal.
>2.  A listing of all operating funds and career awards currently held or
>over the last 5 years from the NCIC, MRC, CBCRI, NIH  and other granting
>agencies. For each grant, indicate principal investigator and all
>co-applicants, funding agency, title, duration of award and amount awarded.
>3. A listing of all research trainees supervised in the last 5 years,
>      indicating degrees received, if applicable, and current positions.
>Rationale and General Description:
>Over the past ten years, basic research has led to important new insights
>into hereditary forms of breast cancer, the relationship between cancer and
>cellular aging, the mechanisms by which cancer spreads through the body, and
>how cancer can become resistant to standard chemotherapeutic methods.  It is
>now time to take these fundamental advances, achieved in Canada and
>elsewhere, and translate them into clinical applications that will provide
>benefits directly to the breast cancer patient. With our new knowledge about
>the basic biology of cancer, coupled with a vision of breast cancer as
>multidisciplinary human problem, CBCRI should now capitalize on its
>investments. It is time to link laboratory investigation with clinical
>approaches, to link physical care with human care.
>Although individual Canadian investigators have made major contributions to
>discrete aspects of the breast cancer problem, many of these efforts have
>proceeded in relative isolation, with the result that discoveries in basic
>molecular mechanisms, for example, are not always effectively linked to
>clinical application.  Although "Program Projects Grants" on breast cancer
>can be awarded by either the NCIC or the MRC, the proposals submitted tend
>to cluster and link experts from the same or fairly closely related
>disciplines, specializing on only one aspect of the breast cancer problem.
>In many cases, the two classes of investigators represented by individual
>basic scientists and by clinician researchers have not formed effective
>linkages.  Nevertheless, it is at the interface between such groups, at the
>linkages, that exciting research opportunities and the potential for
>translational application of basic research findings exist.
>There is currently no effective mechanism in Canada to fund integrated
>breast cancer research proposals that:
>       are truly and broadly multidisciplinary;
>       are multicentered, requiring networking among several sites;
>       actively link separate components in a directional progression
>toward an ultimate goal; and,
>       develop synergy to achieve that goal, not attainable by any
>individual component.
>To address this gap in funding mechanisms, the Management Committee of the
>CBCRI is proposing a new program entitled "Stream(s) of Excellence in Breast
>Cancer Research".  The "research stream" metaphor is intended to evoke an
>image of directional movement and development, beginning at the site of
>discovery and initial wellsprings (the basic researchers), continuing
>through incremental growth (by translational researchers) and quality
>refinement (by clinicians, psychosocial and quality of life experts), toward
>the ultimate goal of effectively delivering benefits to the consumer
>(patients and family members). The metaphor is analogous to, but with
>broader intent than, what was implied by the phrase from "bench to bedside."
>The Streams of Excellence concept  also rests on the notion of assembling
>"all-star teams". Although the concept originated in the need to translate
>basic sciences into clinical treatment, other non-discrete, cutting edge and
>broadly envisioned areas of breast cancer research will be considered.
>Program Details:
>1) Terms and conditions of the grant(s):Large in scale, with no ceiling on
>the budget requested, other than the $1.5 million per year total budget
>allocation for the competition.  Term of the project(s): 4 years, on
>approval of annual progress reports, with a possible 1-year extension.
> 2) Competition date(s): Ideally, CBCRI would hold two competitions during
>its second mandate.  At this time, only one competition is foreseen,
>however, due to budget restrictions.
>The application process will be two-stage.  Letters of intent, which may
>include a request for preliminary funding of up to $20,000 to build the
>network and facilitate developing the full application: March 1, 1999.  The
>top-rated letters of intent to be invited by April 15, 1999 to submit full
>proposals for a special competition, with the deadline of November 1, 1999.
>Funding for successful grant(s) will begin July 1, 2000.
>3) Number of Streams of Excellence grant(s) to be awarded:  At least one,
>depending on the quality ratings and budget requests of the applications.
>4) Total Budget for the Streams of Excellence grant(s) program:  The budget
>allocation for the one competition will be $1.5 million for each of the
>first four years, plus a possible fifth-year extension, for a total of $7.5
>million in Phase II (1998-2003).  A second competition would bring the total
>budget to $15 million.  (It should be noted that the fourth year and the
>potential fifth-year extension of the first competition would take place
>after the end of Phase II of CBCRI.)
>5) Peer review process and committee structure:
>For all letters of intent, one truly multidisciplinary peer review
>committee, including at least 8 breast cancer research scientists and 2 lay
>participants, aided by ad hoc reviewers if necessary.  Recommendations to be
>approved by the CBCRI Management Committee.
>For each application invited to submit a full proposal, a separate
>specially-convened review committee will be struck.  This will be a balanced
>team of outside experts including international reviewers, each with
>specialist knowledge of a component of the proposal.  Each review committee
>will perform a project site visit, with the co-investigator and team
>member(s) from each participating site present at the main site.
>Recommendations of all specially-convened review/site visit teams to be
>received by the "Streams" review committee which will review them and make
>recommendation to CBCRI Management Committee.
>Some members of the special review /site review committee will subsequently
>form an ad hoc monitoring committee, to review annual progress reports as to
>the project's intended milestones and time line, and advise CBCRI's
>Management Committee on continuation of funding.
>6 a)  Structure of proposal:
>Submitted on a specially designed standard form, the full proposal will
>include a 10-page overview, as well as a 20-page project description from
>each principal or co-investigator for his/her individual project component.
>Appendices may be used to describe research management operations,
>communication strategies, etc., or to clarify partnerships with other
>institutional programs or industrial relationships.  Details of the
>components of the proposal, including special issues to be addressed, will
>be found in Appendix A.
>6 b) Budget:
>Budget requests will include all critical needs, including communications
>and networking, specialized equipment, support for key personnel or other
>specialized resources, etc., but will not include requests for routine
>diagnostic or clinical services that normally should derive from other
>sources such as normal health care costs. A detailed communications plan
>among team components, and networking, including international partners,
>will be presented.  Funding of core facilities that would provide new
>technologies (e.g. gene chips, scanning capabilities, tissue banks,
>transgenics, databases, etc.) can be included as core budget items in the
>funding request. Investigators are encouraged to include postdoctoral
>fellows and students as integral participants in the research plans.
>7) Review criteria:
>The proposals would be in any field of breast cancer research and would need
>to meet the following special criteria for this program, detailed as
>       Both the overall collaborative plan and the individual project
>components will represent cutting-edge research of the highest scientific
>       Projects will represent scientific input from at least 3 independent
>investigators, "all-stars," who are recognized and acknowledged as top
>experts in their fields.
>       Projects will have integral involvement of at least 3 distinctly
>different disciplinary areas, with expressed linkages, each contributing to
>progress toward a common goal.
>       Each individual component of the global research program will be
>described in the application and will be assessed both for its own
>individual scientific merit and excellence, and for its contribution to the
>common goal of the project.
>       The overall proposal will be assessed for its ability or potential
>to achieve more than the sum of its component projects, to use
>multidisciplinary synergy to move the team forward in developmental progress
>toward the goal.
>       The Principal Investigator must show adequate scientific and
>administrative experience and must demonstrate adequate time commitment for
>the overall coordination and administration of the project. A well defined
>research management committee structure for the project, with the
>participation of a woman living with or at risk of breast cancer, will be
>8) Research Administration:
>       Funding: Streams of Excellence Program grant(s) will begin funding
>on July 1st, 2000.
>       Reports: The project's management committee will be required to
>-  an annual scientific progress report with a summary in lay language; the
>progress reports will be peer reviewed, with continued funding dependent on
>-  annual financial statements;
>-  a final scientific report with a summary in lay language;

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