TRANSDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH ON ENERGETICS AND CANCER 

RELEASE DATE:  July 8, 2004

RFA Number:  RFA-CA-05-010 

November 24, 2009 - This RFA has been reissued as (RFA-CA-10-006).

(see NOT-CA-04-010)

EXPIRATION DATE:  November 17, 2004

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION:
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
 (http://www.nih.gov)

COMPONENT OF PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATION:
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
 (http://www.nci.nih.gov)

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER(S): 93.399

LETTER OF INTENT RECEIPT DATE: October 15, 2004
APPLICATION RECEIPT DATE: November 16, 2004

THIS RFA CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION

o Purpose of this RFA
o Research Objectives
o Mechanisms of Support 
o Funds Available
o Eligible Institutions
o Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators
o Special Requirements
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Letter of Intent
o Pre-Application Meeting
o Submitting an Application
o Supplementary Instructions
o Peer Review Process
o Review Criteria
o Receipt and Review Schedule
o Award Criteria
o Required Federal Citations

PURPOSE OF THIS RFA 

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) invites center grant applications, 
using the cooperative agreement (U54) mechanism, to establish the 
Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Centers in 
nutrition, energetics*, energy balance, and physical activity.  These 
Centers will involve scientists from multiple disciplines and will 
encompass projects spanning the biology and genetics of behavioral, socio-
cultural, and environmental influences on nutrition, physical activity, 
weight, energy balance, and energetics. 

The TREC Centers will focus on two great challenges in the area of 
energetics/energy balance and cancer. They are: 1) to enhance our 
understanding of the mechanisms underlying the association between energy 
balance and carcinogenesis across the cancer continuum from causation and 
prevention through survival, and 2) to develop effective innovative 
approaches with broad population impact at the social-environmental and 
policy levels for prevention of obesity with particular emphases on 
children and critical time periods during adulthood where weight gain is 
likely to occur, such as during smoking cessation, cancer treatment, and 
major life transitions involving work or family.  These challenges require 
integration of diverse disciplines, spanning the full range of cancer 
research from the molecular biology of carcinogenesis to public policy 
research.  The primary mission of the TREC Centers is to foster 
collaboration among transdisciplinary teams of scientists with the goal of 
accelerating progress toward reducing cancer incidence, morbidity, and 
mortality associated with obesity, low levels of physical activity, and 
poor diet (see Figure 1: TREC Conceptual Model at 
http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/TREC/).  The second mission of these 
Centers is to provide training opportunities for new and established 
scientists who can carry out integrative research on energetics, energy 
balance, and their consequences.  
 
* Energetics -- The study of the flow and transformation of energy through 
living systems – The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000. 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

Background

Existing research indicates that weight, physical activity, and nutrition 
alter cancer risk and carcinogenesis for many cancers, and evidence is 
building on the effects of these health factors on cancer prognosis and 
quality of life among cancer survivors. This research began with animal 
studies on diet composition and caloric restriction in the 1930s and 
expanded to studies in human populations in the 1960s and 1970s.   A 2002 
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) review, “Weight Control 
and Physical Activity,” summarized the evidence across basic and 
population research and identified that avoidance of adult weight gain is 
likely to have a substantial cancer-preventive effect for cancers of the 
colon, breast (postmenopausal), uterus, kidney, and esophagus.  The report 
also noted that physical activity is likely to have a substantial cancer-
preventive effect for cancers of the colon and breast.  The IARC report 
estimated that, for many of these common cancers, between one-quarter and 
one-third of the cases may be attributable to the combined effect of 
increased body weight and inadequate physical activity (IARC 2002).   In 
April 2003, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine extended prior 
research of weight and cancer within a very large prospective cohort of 
900,000 adults in the United States (Calle et al., 2003).  This research 
found increases in mortality from cancer associated with an increased body 
weight for many cancers, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple 
myeloma, and cancers of the esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, 
gallbladder, pancreas, and kidney.  In addition, trends for increasing 
risk were observed for cancers of the stomach and prostate in men and for 
cancers of the breast, uterus, cervix, and ovary in women.  The study, 
which focused only on the effect of body weight, estimated that in the 
United States, being overweight and obese could account for 14 percent of 
all deaths from cancer in men and 20 percent of all deaths from cancer in 
women.

National health surveillance data provide evidence of progress related to 
these factors in several areas that may reduce cancer risk, incidence, and 
mortality.  For example, specific changes in diet that may reduce risk and 
improve prognosis include reductions in total and saturated fat and 
increases in fruit and vegetable intake.  Modest reductions in saturated 
fat intake and increases in fruit and vegetable consumption have occurred 
in the past decade.  Some evidence also suggests that leisure time 
physical activity may be increasing in some population groups, despite the 
fact that results from several surveys indicate that over 25-28 percent of 
U.S. adults report no leisure time physical activity.  It also seems 
likely that overall levels of physical activity are declining due to more 
sedentary occupations and increasing automation.  Further, the marked 
increase in the epidemic of being overweight and obese suggests that 
levels of energy expenditure from overall physical activity are still too 
low to adequately balance energy expenditure with current levels of energy 
intake within the United States.  

The prevalence of obesity has changed dramatically over the last 40 years.  
It was relatively stable at approximately 10 percent for men and 15 
percent for women from the early 1960s to the late 1970s.  During the late 
1980s and early 1990s, rates of obesity increased, and the most current 
estimates from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination 
Survey (NHANES) indicate that the prevalence of obesity has increased to 
28 percent for men and 33 percent for women (Flegal et al., 2002).  Rates 
are highest among non-Hispanic black women who experience a 50 percent 
prevalence of obesity.  When the prevalence of overweight, defined as a 
Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 and higher, is considered, about 65 percent of 
the U.S. adult population is affected.  Of particular concern are 
increases in rates of overweight among children and adolescents.  
Prevalence rates, which were approximately five percent during the 1960s, 
have tripled to over 15 percent in 1999-2000 among school-aged children 
and adolescents.  Rates rose by 10 percentage points or more between 1988-
1994 and 1999-2000 for both Mexican American and non-Hispanic black 
adolescents (Ogden et al., 2002).  These national health surveillance data 
provide a strong rationale for a research focus on innovative approaches 
to improving energy balance, weight control, and the prevention of 
overweight and obesity to address this area of urgent and expanding need.   
A recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Fulfilling the Potential of 
Cancer Prevention and Early Detection,” lists the development of a 
national strategy to prevent obesity and sedentary behavior as its second 
major goal, yet proven methods to achieve the goal are lacking (IOM, 
2003).

As suggested by the 2002 IARC report on Weight Control and Physical 
Activity, the combination of efforts to improve diet, physical activity, 
and body weight may have even larger effects.  Yet, research has typically 
examined single cancer prevention-related factors, such as nutrition, in 
depth while few studies have used a multidisciplinary approach to assess 
these factors simultaneously and integrate their effects (IARC, 2002).  
Given that these factors are often closely inter-related in human 
populations, it is even more surprising that so little research has 
focused on the intersection of diet, physical activity, and weight.  
Although research studies of diet and cancer risk and prognosis have 
examined potential mechanisms in some detail, cancer research in the areas 
of weight and physical activity has largely been focused on defining the 
existence and extent of the association of these factors with cancer 
outcomes.  Very little research has explored the combined effects of 
weight, body composition, physical activity, and diet on the many 
physiologic systems that are affected by these factors individually, and 
virtually none have examined the combined influence of these factors on 
mechanisms related to carcinogenesis.  These mechanistic pathways are 
likely to involve the steroid hormones, insulin-like growth factors, 
insulin resistance, lipid metabolism, immune functions, and inflammatory 
factors, such as cytokines and prostaglandins.  The identification of 
which changes lead to cancer and adverse health outcomes among specific 
groups of people is fundamental to the development of global public health 
initiatives and to personalized strategies for intervention.  Genomics and 
post-translational (i.e., proteomics) technological advances have the 
potential to assist in deciphering the molecular basis by which these 
health factors influence the cancer process and may also assist in 
identifying intervention targets based on personalized risk assessment.

A second major gap limiting progress in advancing evidence-based 
interventions to prevent obesity and support weight control at the 
population level is the lack of research evidence on which social-
environmental, policy, or structural-level changes can most effectively 
facilitate cost-effective approaches for prevention and weight control.  
The state of this field is similar to that of tobacco control in the 1980s 
before NCI and other organizations supported research on innovative 
initiatives to advance tobacco control beyond the level of the individual.  
Research innovations in this area identified changes in work- and school-
based policies and practices, pricing of tobacco products, and other 
legislation that supported progress in tobacco control.  Similarly, in the 
area of cancer screening, major gains were made in use of cancer 
screening, with efforts focused not solely on the individual patient or 
provider, but also on the health care delivery system at the 
organizational level.  For example, utilizing data from clinical trials 
and population practice, economic research helped to identify the most 
cost-effective technological approaches to cancer screening as well as 
changes in health care delivery systems to enhance adoption of these new 
technologies.  This research has been used by federal health care delivery 
organizations to determine reasonable reimbursement levels for major 
cancer screening technologies.  In addition, organizational level research 
on cancer screening led to the identification of measures, such as 
mammography screening, that are used to evaluate the performance of health 
care delivery systems as part of the Health Employer Data Information 
System (HEDIS).  Such HEDIS measures have been credited with having a 
major impact in enhancing the adoption of cancer screening within managed 
care organizations and other health care delivery systems within the U.S.  
In the areas of weight control, diet, and physical activity, policies 
related to school food and physical activity practices, urban planning, 
and health insurance could have important roles in changing health 
behaviors at the population level.  However, the effectiveness of these 
efforts has not been adequately tested.  At present, in the United States, 
insurance coverage for treatment of obesity is allowed only if an 
individual has a secondary co-morbid condition, such as hypertension, 
hyperlipidemia, or diabetes mellitus.  There is currently no coverage for 
obesity prevention, or for the treatment of existing obesity to prevent 
the development of other diseases in the future.  

Controversy exists regarding the level of physical activity that should be 
recommended for different elements of overall health.  For example, a 
recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report (IOM, 2002), suggests that up to 
60 minutes of physical activity per day may be needed to prevent weight 
gain, substantially more than the minimum of 150 minutes per week 
recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) for 
cardiovascular benefit.  The ACSM has stated that the amount of physical 
activity needed to “gain optimal health benefits” is still unknown, but it 
maintains that the 150 min/week is the minimum needed to derive some 
health benefits (ACSM, 2002).  This controversy serves to highlight the 
possibility that different recommendations are needed for different 
outcomes (cardiovascular health benefits, prevention of weight gain, and 
weight reduction).  Current studies suggest that the physical activity 
dose needed to prevent weight gain versus that needed to reduce weight and 
prevent weight regain do not appear to be the same (Jakicic, 2002; 
McCaffree, 2003).  This hypothesis has not been studied in a randomized, 
controlled clinical trial.  It has also been suggested that increasing 
energy expenditure or reducing energy intake by 100 kcal/day would prevent 
weight gain, however, this has not been empirically tested (Hill et al., 
2003).  Finally, what type of physical activity (i.e., moderate-intensity 
versus vigorous) is needed to prevent weight gain has not been identified 
(Jakicic, 2002).  Despite the epidemiological evidence linking cancer to 
obesity and to lack of physical activity, even less is known about the 
appropriate level and type of physical activity required to aid in cancer 
prevention and control (IARC, 2002). 

Current evidence indicates that obesity prevention efforts should focus on 
children to avoid the difficulty of treating obesity once established 
(Jakicic, 2002; Hill et al., 2003; Mercer et al., 2003).  For tobacco use, 
prevention strategies have focused on children because most people start 
smoking before age 18.  In addition to efforts to target obesity 
prevention in children, it is also important to prevent weight gain in 
adults given the evidence from NHANES showing that obesity increases 
tremendously from the third to the sixth decade of life.  Weight gain is 
more likely during life transitions, such as with physical injury, 
marriage, and parenting, and with some types of treatment, such as with 
smoking cessation or treatments for depression and some types of cancer 
(Muller et al., 2001).  Therefore, key target populations for prevention 
strategies should include children as well as adults undergoing high-risk 
events for weight gain, such as smoking cessation, injuries, or cancer 
treatment.  Significant advances are required to optimize treatment and 
prevention strategies for children and adults differing in demographic, 
social economic status (SES), and individual characteristics.
 
Tobacco research has demonstrated that individual-based or single modality 
interventions have little impact on preventing the initiation of smoking 
or on increasing smoking cessation (Mercer et al., 2003), and preliminary 
research suggests similar effects may be observed for physical activity 
and nutrition.  Unlike in the area of tobacco control, comprehensive 
population-wide strategies that have specifically addressed obesity have 
not been evaluated (Muller et al., 2001) despite several comprehensive 
population-wide interventions that have included physical activity and 
nutrition for cardiovascular risk reduction.  Examples include the North 
Karelia Project, the Five-City Project, and the Minnesota Heart Health 
Program; these programs led to decreases in some cardiovascular disease 
risk factors but did not reduce BMI.  In fact, the long-term follow-up of 
the Five-City Project and Minnesota Heart Health Programs showed that BMI 
increased in both the control and intervention groups (Muller et al., 
2001). 

Significant advances are required to integrate our current and future 
understanding of these pathways into a population perspective that will 
allow use of such knowledge for cancer prevention and control.  Such 
advances depend critically on programs that bring together researchers 
with diverse perspectives and give them the support needed to facilitate 
collaboration.  TREC Centers are expected to elucidate how these factors 
interrelate in transdisciplinary, integrative approaches that span the 
cancer continuum, and range from basic and clinical metabolic studies to 
behavioral- and population-based studies.

OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE

Centers should have at least three of the four following goals and should 
effectively include basic and population sciences within the initiatives 
proposed.  Primary goals include:

o Enhancing our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the association 
between energy balance and carcinogenesis across the cancer continuum from 
causation and prevention through survival;

o Developing effective innovative approaches with broad population impact 
at the social-environmental and policy levels for prevention of obesity, 
focusing on children and critical time periods during adulthood where 
weight gain is likely to occur, such as with smoking cessation, cancer 
treatment, and major life transitions involving work or family;  

o Bringing together diverse disciplines in creative new ways by 
facilitating collaborative endeavors between researchers from cancer 
centers, schools of public health, and academic departments from diverse 
disciplines such as molecular biology, genetics, psychology, anthropology, 
urban planning, informatics, social sciences, and communications; and 

o Creating significant new opportunities for interdisciplinary training of 
scientists at every stage in their careers in the area of energy balance 
and cancer. 

Investigators should represent a broad range of disciplines, working 
together to increase knowledge across the full spectrum of basic and 
applied research in nutrition, physical activity, energetics, and 
carcinogenesis.  Meaningful collaboration across geographically separate 
sites is permitted, and will be expected across the funded TREC Centers.  
TREC Centers must establish a developmental research program with 
processes for conceiving and evaluating studies that allow exploration of 
novel directions, especially those that might arise with the progression 
of major projects.  

These goals build on lessons learned from the Transdisciplinary Tobacco 
Research Centers (RFA CA-04-012), an example of a successful 
transdisciplinary program.  Nevertheless, care should be taken to realize 
that the challenges of energy balance research are likely to differ from 
those in tobacco research.

STUDY DESIGN

Applications must include explicit discussions of both the specific aims 
of the research projects and the applicant’s efforts at forging creative 
new links between disciplines.  A minimum of three research projects, up 
to a maximum of five research projects, is expected per TREC Center.  The 
ability of applicants to articulate a coherent transdisciplinary research 
agenda that will accelerate progress toward understanding links between 
energy balance and carcinogenesis and efforts to curb the obesity epidemic 
is a key evaluation criteria for this RFA. 

Priority Research Topics

Examples listed below represent a small subset of the potential areas in 
which NCI's goals could be pursued.  These examples are intended to be 
illustrative of the kinds of efforts encouraged and are not comprehensive.

Example 1, Energy Balance and Carcinogenesis Throughout the Life Cycle:

Explosive growth in the understanding of genetics, molecular biology, and 
physiology of obesity is occurring in animal models, through the use of 
transgenic animals, and in clinical metabolic studies, and through 
randomized controlled interventions in the areas of physical activity, 
weight, and diet to elucidate mechanisms of carcinogenesis.  Yet these 
advances are not often integrated because they occur in divergent 
departments, are funded through different mechanisms, and require 
understanding various physiological pathways. Research devoted to energy 
balance and carcinogenesis throughout the life cycle that involves 
integrating the areas of obesity, exercise physiology, behavioral 
sciences, nutrition, genetics, and molecular carcinogenesis could 
accelerate progress toward understanding mechanisms linking energy balance 
and carcinogenesis.  

Example 2, Ecological Models of Health Behaviors:

Past work has emphasized individual determinants of health behaviors, 
particularly in the area of weight and physical activity.  Ecological 
models of health behavior postulate a combination of environmental, 
social, cultural, individual, and biological influences.  Research 
focusing on teasing apart the relative importance of these factors could 
profit from collaborations between faculties from departments such as, but 
not limited to, those in: transportation, sociology, public health, and 
psychology.  Research in a TREC Center might advance the development of 
innovative behavioral, policy, and organizational interventions to address 
the prevention and control of obesity among at-risk groups across the life 
course.  Such interventions might be strengthened by drawing samples of 
participants from existing research and demonstration efforts.  In areas 
related to examining effects of interventions on mechanisms of 
carcinogenesis, the use of samples drawn from groups with increased 
susceptibility to cancer or with more detailed information about their 
underlying cancer risk may enhance potential for understanding how such 
interventions may influence cancer outcomes.

Example 3, Disparities: 

Much recent effort has been devoted to understanding health disparities in 
cancer incidence and outcomes.  Differences in energy balance over the 
life course across different population groups defined by race, ethnicity, 
gender, social class, environmental deprivation, and other important 
characteristics related to health disparities may provide proximate 
explanations for some of these disparities, as well as potentially lead to 
further disparities in the coming decades.  Collaborations between 
biologists, epidemiologists, and behavioral scientists are required to 
develop creative ways of understanding the causes and consequences of 
associations between these demographic and social class characteristics 
and energy balance-related health behaviors.  In addition to examining 
these questions in human populations, progress has been made in the 
development of basic science and animal models to examine the effect of 
environmental stress and deprivation on health outcomes.  Such models 
could be applied to examining the question of how these factors interact 
with energy balance in influencing cancer outcomes as well as successful 
adoption of recommended health behaviors related to energy balance.  This 
area of research has the potential to identify key targets for the 
reduction of health disparities.

Example 4, Methodologies: 

There is a pressing need for better methods of dietary, physical activity, 
and anthropometric assessment.  Advances in psychometric and statistical 
methods, technologies for coding self-report and objective measures of 
activity, and new biological markers offer promise.  However, evaluating 
how such advances can be utilized in assessment of diet, physical 
activity, and body composition requires collaboration between biologists, 
epidemiologists, nutritionists, and exercise scientists.  Support for such 
methodological advances can be difficult to obtain and research devoted to 
this area could help lead development of the next generation of assessment 
tools that are urgently needed to clarify associations between energy 
balance and cancer and to evaluate efforts aimed at behavior change.  In 
addition, it is anticipated that integrative, transdisciplinary research 
that includes efforts at the individual, health system, and community 
levels may lead to the development of new, more synthetic measures in this 
area.

Example 5, Population-level Effects:

The identification of successful approaches to the prevention of obesity 
will require research at the individual and system levels.  One critical 
research issue is the development of effective population-level 
interventions, particularly directed at the prevention of obesity among 
children.  Research integration across diverse disciplines including those 
related to health services, policy, economics, urban planning, 
informatics, and communications can facilitate progress in identifying 
effective population-level interventions in prevention of obesity at the 
social-environmental or policy level across diverse at-risk populations.  
For example, communications, particularly entertainment media such as 
television, have been implicated in contributing to the growing epidemic 
of obesity in the United States, both in terms of being associated with 
declining physical activity and increases in energy-dense eating patterns.  
Research centers might examine issues such as the role played by mass 
media in influencing diet and physical activity, in contributing to the 
recognition of obesity as a public health problem, and in interacting with 
other social and structural factors in contributing to obesity and 
sedentary lifestyles.  In addition, TREC Centers might examine the effect 
of different policy or economic interventions to improve physical activity 
and eating patterns across different periods of life.  Animal models or 
interventions among specific at-risk groups might be used to explore 
whether different interventions result in different outcomes based on 
genetic or other factors that define susceptibility to either obesity or 
cancer. 

Example 6, Transdisciplinary Partnerships:

Applicants are encouraged to include programmatic components linking their 
efforts widely to the spectrum of activities involved in energy balance 
and carcinogenesis.  For example, investigators devoted to elucidating 
mechanisms of energy balance and carcinogenesis could form collaborative 
relationships with clinical research centers, modeling trials in humans 
and generating hypotheses about influences of interventions on new 
pathways, which could in turn be examined via serum samples or tissue 
repositories.  Similarly, investigators emphasizing social and behavioral 
sciences should reach out and embrace biology to ensure that their work 
contributes to and informs the challenge of understanding both the 
biological and behavioral aspects of energy balance and carcinogenesis.  
Finally, basic, epidemiological, and intervention research all depend on 
assessments of health behaviors.  Coordination among and between 
investigators in the uses of different instruments for assessing diet, 
physical activity, and anthropometry could also greatly enhance the future 
utility of data generated at multiple centers.  

MECHANISMS OF SUPPORT
 
This RFA will use NIH cooperative agreement (U54) award mechanism. 
Applicants will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and 
executing the proposed project.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  The 
anticipated award date is September 1, 2005.  
  
This RFA uses just-in-time concepts.  It also uses the non-modular 
budgeting format (see 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm). Applicants 
should follow the instructions for non-modular budget research grant 
applications. This program does not require cost sharing as defined in the 
current NIH Grants Policy Statement at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part2.htm.  

The NIH U54 is a cooperative agreement award mechanism.  In the 
cooperative agreement mechanism, the Principal Investigator retains the 
primary responsibility and dominant role for planning, directing, and 
executing the proposed project, with NIH staff being substantially 
involved as a partner with the Principal Investigator, as described under 
the section "Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award." 

FUNDS AVAILABLE 

NCI intends to commit approximately $14 million in FY 2005 to fund four to 
five U54 cooperative agreements for establishing TREC Centers in response 
to this RFA.  An applicant may request a maximum annual direct cost of 
$1.5 million per year, up to five years.  Future year increases in total 
direct costs are limited to three percent increases.  Although the 
financial plans of the NCI provide support for this program, awards 
pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of funds and the 
receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. 

(Please note that facilities and administrative [F&A] costs requested by 
any consortium participants are excluded from the direct cost limit per 
NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-04-040.) 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-04-040.html )
 
ELIGIBLE INSTITUTIONS
 
You may submit (an) application(s) if your institution has any of the 
following characteristics:
   
o For-profit or non-profit organizations 
o Public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, 
hospitals, and laboratories 
o Units of State and local governments
o Eligible agencies of the Federal government 
o Domestic institutions/organizations
o Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply--however, domestic 
applications with foreign components are permitted 
o Faith-based and community-based institutions. 

INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS   

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to 
carry out the proposed research is invited to work with their institution 
to develop an application for support.  Individuals from underrepresented 
racial and ethnic groups, as well as individuals with disabilities, are 
always encouraged to apply for NIH programs.   

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

The transdisciplinary activities must include an overarching objective 
that will: (1) delineate mechanisms by which diet and physical activity 
interact to influence weight, body composition, energy balance, and the 
carcinogenic progress across the cancer continuum, and (2) identify 
innovative approaches to the prevention of obesity, particularly among 
children, young adults, and individuals in high-risk groups (e.g., cancer 
survivors).

The TREC U54 Centers must include three to five individual research 
projects, which reflect hypothesis-driven research, plus common 
methodologically-based research projects (Developmental Projects) and 
shared resources (Cores facilities and resources or “Cores”).  TREC 
Centers must provide clear evidence of a transdisciplinary focus, 
including an explanation of how the projects fit together across 
disciplines to promote synergy and syntheses.  Evidence of plans and 
mechanisms for dissemination of research findings and products, including 
evidence-based tools and interventions, must be stated.  

As evaluation of progress is an increasing priority for NCI, TREC Centers 
will be required to participate in evaluation activities that will be 
established in partnership with the TREC Coordination Center.  Examples of 
outcomes produced from these efforts include: peer-reviewed publications, 
new theories or applied model development, new intervention formats, and 
opportunities for effective dissemination.  TREC Centers are encouraged to 
form partnerships with industry, public health agencies, and other 
organizations that have strong ties to minority communities with high 
rates of obesity and cancer.  The purpose of the evaluation component is 
to monitor and assess the performance of the TREC Centers in achieving the 
goals of the RFA.  This component includes evaluating the quality and 
innovativeness of the science conducted by the TREC Centers as well as 
assessing critical intermediate indicators of success such as 
infrastructure development and capacity building, career development, 
linkages, and resource sharing arrangements within and among Centers; and 
the interdisciplinary and multilevel nature of the research.  Criteria for 
the evaluation component will be developed in partnership with the TREC 
Coordination Center and NCI program staff.

Because of the central requirement for interaction across TREC Centers, a 
central TREC Coordinating Center will be established concurrently under 
another funding mechanism in order to facilitate the required 
interactions.  (See RFA CA-05-011)  This facilitation will include 
activities such as biannual meetings of the TREC Centers; development and 
maintenance of a web site for shared communications; identification and 
development of commonalities in methodologically-based research questions 
being explored across sites; the compilation of state-of-the-art 
instruments for diet, weight, and physical activity assessments in use 
across sites; identification of common data elements in research across 
sites that could be compared or combined to examine more detailed 
questions in specific populations; bringing together special working 
groups on key scientific topics; or the development of training modules in 
diverse disciplines, such as genetics and proteomics or advances in self 
report and technologies for assessment of diet and physical activity to 
support transfer of knowledge across disciplines.  Applicants will be 
asked to collaborate with other TREC Centers and the TREC Coordinating 
Center to develop an evaluation system that will be integrated into the 
TREC Centers’ design and operations.  This system will make it possible 
for each TREC Center to monitor its own performance and for NCI to compare 
site performance to that of other TREC Centers, and will enable evaluation 
of the initiative as a whole.

Objective criteria for the evaluation component will include the extent to 
which: (1) the overall capacity to study the mechanisms underlying the 
association between energy balance and carcinogenesis across the cancer 
continuum, from causation and prevention through survival, in the TREC 
Centers has increased as a result of the new funding; (2) the capacity to 
study the relationship between nutrition, physical activity, and 
energetics, as they relate to the goals of reducing cancer incidence, 
morbidity, and mortality associated with obesity, has been enhanced 
through the sharing of resources within and among Centers; (3) 
collaborative relationships within and among Centers have been established 
and institutionalized; (4) training and career development opportunities 
exist for new and established investigators; (5) a “transdisciplinary 
research culture” has been engendered that takes into account multiple 
levels of analysis; and (6) TREC Center investigators’ ability to compete 
for future R01 grants and participate in other research mechanisms has 
been enhanced.  

The evaluation will also examine intermediate markers of the importance 
and potential impact of the science conducted by the TREC Centers in 
addressing the relationship between the integration of social, behavioral, 
and biological sciences into more comprehensive study design.  Possible 
metrics include the development of: 1) new theories or conceptual models 
ranging from genetics, psychology, molecular biology, and anthropology to 
urban planning, informatics, social sciences, health behavior, and 
communication; 2) new measures of dietary, physical activity, and 
anthropometric assessment, or psychometric and statistical methodology for 
coding self-reported data; 3) new biological markers of genetics, 
molecular biology, and physiology of obesity; and 4) new treatments or 
interventions that address the individual-level determinants of behavior 
to the effective population-level interventions in prevention of obesity 
and the social-environmental or policy level across diverse at-risk 
populations.  These markers will be identified from the conceptual 
framework presented earlier and from other theoretical models and 
empirical evidence in the literature.

This initiative encourages investigators to build research projects in 
association with such activities as one means to facilitate 
institutionalization of effective interventions into practice.  As part of 
NCI’s commitment to the rapid translation of research evidence into 
practice, applications should include explicit plans for diffusion of 
research results into practice.

In addition to state-of-the-art research, a TREC Center must provide 
developmental funds for cross-site methodologically-based projects, and it 
must provide career development opportunities for new and established 
investigators who wish to pursue active research careers in 
transdisciplinary nutrition, physical activity, weight, and energy 
balance.  These areas will be coordinated by the TREC Coordination Center 
to enhance efforts across sites and diminish duplication, as well as 
maximize common measures assessment. 

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Cooperative agreements are assistance mechanisms and are subject to the 
same administrative requirements as grants.  The following Terms and 
Conditions of Award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise 
applicable U.S. Gov’t Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative 
guidelines, DHHS grant administration regulations in 45 CFR Part 74 and 92 
and administered under the NIH Grants Policy Statement. 

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program is a 
cooperative agreement (U54), an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an 
"acquisition" mechanism) in which substantial NIH scientific and 
programmatic involvement with the awardee is anticipated during the grant 
award.  The NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the activity by 
working jointly with the recipient in a partner role, but it is not to 
assume direction, prime responsibility or a dominant role in the activity.  
The prime responsibility for the research resides with the awardees, 
although some activities may be carried out in collaboration among the 
awardees with coordination and facilitation by the NCI Project Coordinator 
as described below.

1.  Awardee Rights and Responsibilities 

o The Awardee has primary authority and responsibility to define 
objectives and approaches and to plan, conduct, analyze, and publish 
results, interpretations, and conclusions of studies conducted under this 
program in accordance with the terms and conditions of the award. 

o The Awardee (with the TREC Coordinating Center Awardee as lead) will 
facilitate the establishment of the TREC Steering Committee for this 
initiative.  The Principal Investigator (PI) from each site will be the 
voting member on the Steering Committee.  An essential part of this 
initiative is to establish interactions among TREC Centers (e.g., research 
collaborations, exchange of scientists on a visiting basis, special issue 
working groups, resource sharing and other innovative mechanisms).  A 
requirement for all TREC Centers is that the Principal Investigators (PI) 
and key project co-investigators will participate in two meetings each 
year.  The purpose of the meetings are to share scientific information, 
assess scientific progress in the field, identify new research 
opportunities, and promote inter-TREC collaborations to promote discovery 
and resolve areas of controversy.  It is possible that each PI may be 
required to attend up to four TREC-related meetings per year.  TREC 
Centers will be encouraged to use common measures that allow pooling of 
data. 

o The TREC Center (U54) Awardee will be a voting member of the Steering 
Committee and is required to attend the biannual Steering Committee 
meetings.

o The TREC Center (U54) Awardee will be responsible for accepting and 
implementing the goals, priorities, procedures, and policies agreed upon 
by the Steering Committee.  Awardees will retain custody of, and have 
primary rights to, the data developed under these awards, subject to 
Government rights of access consistent with what are the current 
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Public Health Service 
(PHS), and NIH policies throughout the length of awards under the auspices 
of this RFA.  Awardees will be responsible for implementing the approved 
data-sharing plan for their project.  

o Awardees will be required to accept and implement the common processes 
and procedures approved by the Steering Committee.

o The NCI anticipates that awardees under the auspices of this RFA will 
develop unique research resources.  The policy of the NIH is to make the 
results and accomplishments of the activities that it funds available to 
the public.  

o Awardees will be responsible for implementing the approved research 
resource sharing plan and intellectual property plan for their project.   

o Awardees may be required to participate in the development of a process 
for identifying and funding adjunct developmental and methodologically-
based research to facilitate new collaborations and support common 
research questions across sites.  The interest here is in the process of 
solicitation and selection of common research questions.  It is important 
that the TREC Centers, in collaboration with the TREC Coordination Center, 
plan for funds to stimulate projects that take maximum advantage of new 
research opportunities once the TREC Centers are established.  Such 
projects are expected to be collaborative among scientists within one or 
more TREC Center.  The TREC Centers, in partnership with the TREC 
Coordinating Center, are expected to establish an institutional review 
process that selects common research questions and methodological issues 
that represent the most innovative and interdisciplinary ideas across 
sites.  

2.  NCI Staff Responsibilities 

The NCI Project Coordinator will have the following roles and 
responsibilities.

o The NCI Project Coordinator will have substantial scientific-
programmatic involvement during conduct of this activity, through 
technical assistance, advice, and coordination beyond normal program 
stewardship for grants.   The Project Coordinator will be the primary 
agent responsible to identify and provide relevant content expertise to 
this project from within NCI staff scientists.  

o The NCI Project Coordinator will work in cooperation with the PI to 
support the development of and to facilitate the TREC programs (e.g., 
training and evaluation), will attend and participate as a voting member 
in all meetings of the TREC Steering Committee, and will provide liaison 
between the Steering Committee, the TREC Centers, the TREC Coordination 
Center, and the NCI.  On behalf of the NCI, the Project Coordinator will 
be the primary agent (among any involved NCI staff members, including the 
NCI Program Director) who is responsible for the identification and 
provision of relevant content expertise to this project.

o The NCI Project Coordinator will assist the Steering Committee in 
developing and drafting operating policies and policies for dealing with 
recurring situations that require coordinated action.

An NCI Program Director will be responsible for the normal stewardship of 
the awards, as described below.

o The NCI Program Director will review the scientific progress of 
individual U54 research projects and cores, and review them for compliance 
with the operating policies developed by the Steering Committee.

o The NCI Program Director may recommend withholding of support, 
suspension, or termination of a U54 award for lack of scientific progress 
or failure to adhere to policies established by the Steering Committee.

o The NCI Program Director will transmit to the appropriate NIH Institute 
Scientific Director any recommendation from the Steering Committee 
concerning failure of the TREC Center to adhere to policies established by 
the Steering Committee.

o The NCI Program Director may also serve as the NCI Project Coordinator.

3.  Collaborative Responsibilities 

Steering Committee  

o The NCI Project Coordinator and the Principal Investigators will be 
responsible for forming a Steering Committee, the main governing board of 
the TREC research projects, as defined below.  An arbitration system, as 
detailed further below, will be available to resolve disagreements between 
the NCI Project Coordinator and the members of the TREC Steering 
Committee.

o The TREC Steering Committee will be composed of a Principal Investigator 
from each TREC Center; the Principal Investigator from the Coordinating 
Center, and the NCI Project Coordinator; each representative will have one 
vote.  The Steering Committee may also include one non-voting 
representative from each extramural NCI Program Division (Division of 
Cancer Control and Population Sciences; Division of Cancer Prevention; and 
Division of Cancer Biology.    

o The Steering Committee chairperson may not be an NCI staff member.  The 
Steering Committee may establish sub-committees, as it deems appropriate; 
the NCI Project Coordinator will serve on sub-committees, as s/he deems 
appropriate.  The Steering Committee members will provide scientific, 
statistical, and technical input into discussions of pooled and 
collaborative research projects where relevant.

o The Steering Committee may, when it deems it to be necessary, invite 
additional, non-voting scientific advisors to the meetings.  The NCI 
reserves the right to augment the scientific or consumer expertise of the 
Steering Committee when necessary.  Content-specific working teams, 
comprised of scientific experts from the TREC Centers, the TREC 
Coordination Center, the NCI, or outside content experts, may be 
established by the Steering Committee to address specific research 
questions developed by the group.  

o The Steering Committee will meet twice every year, separately from the 
TREC Center biannual meetings, at locations selected by the Steering 
Committee in consultation with the NCI.  The Principal Investigator from 
each TREC U54 Research Center and the Coordination Center must attend 
every Steering Committee meeting. 

o The Steering Committee, in partnership with the TREC Coordination 
Center, will identify ways that the individual TREC Center’s Cores could 
potentially function as part of a coordinated, shared resource for other 
or all TREC Centers and minimize duplication of effort.

o The Steering Committee will evaluate the merit of all proposed cross-
site developmental projects and identify common resources to support such 
efforts.  In addition, the Steering Committee, in partnership with NCI 
Program Staff, will monitor the progress of these projects and facilitate 
common data sharing, evaluation, and group publications.

4.  Arbitration 

Any disagreement that may arise on scientific/programmatic matters (within 
the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NCI may be 
brought to arbitration.  An arbitration panel will be composed of three 
members--one selected by the Steering Committee (with the NCI member not 
voting) or by the individual awardee in the event of an individual 
disagreement, a second member selected by NCI, and the third member 
selected by the two prior selected members.  This special arbitration 
procedure in no way affects the awardee's right to appeal an adverse 
action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with the PHS regulations 
at 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation at 45 CFR Part 16.

PRE-APPLICATION Conference 
The NCI will hold a pre-application telephone conference to which all 
prospective applicants are invited 
(http://www.scgcorp.com/trec-call2004/).  Program staff and staff from the 
Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) will make brief presentations that 
review the goals and objectives for the Transdisciplinary Research on 
Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Centers as well as the policies and 
procedures for peer review of the applications; questions from the 
attendees will be entertained.  Prospective applicants are urged to 
monitor the NIH Guide Notice for date and time of the meeting at 
NOT-CA-04-010 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-CA-04-010.html).

WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES

We encourage inquiries concerning this RFA and welcome the opportunity to 
answer questions from potential applicants.  Inquiries may fall into three 
areas:  scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants 
management issues:

o Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Linda Nebeling, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., 
Chief, Health Promotion Research Branch
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
6120 Executive Boulevard, EPN Room 4080
Bethesda, MD 20892-7335
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 451-9530
FAX: (301) 480-2087
Email: nebelinl@mail.nih.gov

o Direct your questions about peer review issues to:

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute
Division of Extramural Activities
6116 Executive Boulevard, Room 8041
Bethesda, MD 20892-8329
Telephone: (301) 496-3428
FAX: (301) 402-0275 
Email:  ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

o Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters 
to:

Crystal Wolfrey 
Grants Administration Branch 
National Cancer Institute
6120 Executive Boulevard, EPS Room 243
Bethesda, MD  20892-7150
Rockville, MD 20852 (for courier/express service)
Telephone: (301) 496-8634
FAX: (301) 496-8601
Email: Crystal.Wolfrey@nih.gov
 
LETTER OF INTENT
 
Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that 
includes the following information:

o Descriptive title of the proposed research;
o Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator;
o Names of other key personnel; 
o Participating institutions; and
o Number and title of this RFA. 

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not 
enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it 
contains allows NCI staff to estimate the potential review workload and 
plan the review.
 
The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed at the beginning of 
this document.  The letter of intent should be sent to:

Linda Nebeling, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.
Chief, Health Promotion Research Branch
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
6120 Executive Boulevard, EPN Room 4080
Bethesda, MD 20892-7335
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 451-9530
FAX: (301) 480-2087
Email: nebelinl@mail.nih.gov

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant application 
instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001).  Applications must have a Dun and 
Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as the 
Universal Identifier when applying for Federal grants or cooperative 
agreements.  The DUNS number can be obtained by calling (866) 705-5711 or 
through the web site at http://www.dunandbradstreet.com/.  The DUNS number 
should be entered on line 11 of the face page of the PHS 398 form.  The 
PHS 398 document is available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html in 
an interactive format.  For further assistance, contact Grants Info; 
Telephone: (301) 435-0714; Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INSTRUCTIONS:
Face Page:
Use the Face Page of the PHS 398 form for the TREC application as a whole. 
This is Page 1 of the application. On item 2, check “YES,” and type 
Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer Centers RFA CA-05-010.  
Where human subjects and animal subjects approvals are requested, type 
“see page __ for summary”.  These summary instructions are provided below.

Description, Performance Sites and Personnel Page:
Write a Description that provides the theme and aims of the project as a 
whole, enumerates and briefly describes the individual components, and 
outlines the interdisciplinary strategy for the TREC Centers.  Performance 
Sites and Personnel (all Sites and all Key Personnel in the TREC Centers) 
are to be entered as described in the PHS 398 instructions.  Use extension 
pages as necessary.

Table of Contents Page for the TREC application as a whole: 
Use Attachment 1 as the Table of Contents for the entire TREC, which shows 
the order of all forms and subsections.  Number pages sequentially through 
the entire application.   Use Attachment 2 as the Table of Contents page 
for the individual Research Project Plans and Attachment 3 for Cores.   

Human Subjects protocol summary:  
Refer to PHS 398.  Certification of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) 
review and approval is a “Just in Time” item and need not be included in 
the application.  If the application is successful, the applicant will be 
asked to provide all of the “Just in Time” items during the award process.  

Gender and Minority Inclusion – Use a separate target plan enrollment 
table from PHS 398 form for each clinical research project.

Animal Subjects protocol summary:  
Refer to PHS 398.  Provide a list summarizing the Institutional Animal 
Care and Use Committee (IACUC) status of all research project plans, 
Cores, and developmental projects. You will also need to include IACUC 
approval at the time of submission of the application or within 60 days.

Biographical Sketch:  
As described in the PHS 398. Include the TREC Principal Investigator’s 
Biosketch first and then list Biographical Sketches for all other co-
investigators and key personnel in alphabetical order.     

Other Support: 
Information on Other Support is “Just in Time” and need NOT be submitted 
with the application. This information is required, however, for all 
applications that are to receive grant awards. NIH will request complete 
and up-to-date "Other Support" information from applicants at an 
appropriate time after peer review. The NCI’s scientific program and 
grants management staff will review this information prior to award. 

1)  Budget(s):

The budget(s) should be presented in logical, discrete units for each 
section of the application using the standard PHS-398 form pages 4-5.  The 
budgets to be submitted should include:  
a)  A detailed composite budget for the entire TREC Center;
b)  A separate budget for Administrative and Organizational activities;
c)  A separate budget for each individual Research Component;
d)  A separate budget for each Core Resource;
e)  A single separate budget section for the Developmental Component; and
f)  A single separate budget for the Career Development Component.  

Additional pages for budget justification are to be used when necessary.

Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period (DD):  
Include this page in the front section of the TREC application.  This page 
is a summation of all project costs in the first year of funding.  The 
TREC PI should show his or her percent effort and salary information where 
appropriate in the individual research project plans, Cores, and 
Developmental Projects.  Total effort should be listed on this form as 
well.

Budget for Entire Proposed Project Period (EE):   
Provide aggregate figures that encompass all Administrative and Research 
Project Plans, Cores, and Developmental Projects across all project years.  
Also, provide budget justification information here if it relates to the 
TREC as a whole. This form should also be used in the Individual Research 
Project Plans, Cores and Developmental Projects.

Consolidated Direct Costs for First Year of Requested Support:
Use Attachment 4 for the overall TREC budget, across all Research Project 
Plans, Cores and Developmental Projects.  Note that standard 398 budget 
pages and justifications of budget items and personnel should be embedded 
within the individual sections, as outlined in the PHS 398 application 
packet.

Percent Distribution of Professional effort on this application: Use 
Attachment 5.

Percent Distribution of Core Resources: Use Attachment 6.

Resources: 
This page relates to the TREC as a whole, including off-site collaborative 
facilities, if any.  Use extension pages if necessary.

2)  Research Plan

The following format is suggested for completing the “Research Plan” 
section (see pages 19 through 23 of the PHS 398 application brochure).  
The application should be as concise as possible to ensure a thorough 
review.
a)  TREC Center Description (not to exceed 10 pages, see description 
below.)

This section should be used to present the overall vision for the TREC 
Center.  This summary should contain the long- and short-term scientific 
objectives, specifically addressing what questions in energy balance and 
obesity will be explored and what new approaches and collaborations that 
will result from the establishment of the TREC Center.  Summarize the 
organizational structure for the TREC Center, concisely defining Research 
Components, Shared Resources (i.e. Cores), the Developmental Fund, and the 
Career Development Component, and their relationships to each other. In 
addition, relationships between the TREC Center, TREC Coordination Center, 
or other research, academic, and administrative units of the institution 
(such as centers, institutes, departments) and the central administration 
should be described in this section.  The description should serve as an 
overview of the TREC Center, with a more detailed description of each 
component to be presented in a later section.

Part A.
Research Plan of the TREC Center as a whole
Introduction and overview of the entire TREC Center application: 
This section should not exceed five pages, exclusive of literature 
references.
Sub-sections of the overview should include:

o Specific Aims of the TREC Center, including brief descriptions of each 
Center component (including Core[s]).  Include here a brief overview of 
the interdisciplinary strategy with regard to interactions and 
collaborations.

o Setting and Facilities, including a statement of institutional 
commitment (this does not supplant the Resources form).  Describe here how 
the institution will make the TREC an area of high priority.   If the TREC 
is being submitted from an institution already designated as an NCI-
designated clinical or comprehensive cancer center, clearly delineate the 
relationship of the TREC Center U54) to the NCI-designated cancer center 
(P30). 

o Proposed animal models and species, and/or proposed use of human 
volunteers (e.g., patient populations, epidemiological samples). 

o TREC Center organization and administration, including a brief 
description of the roles and responsibilities of the Principal 
Investigator and other Scientific Leadership.

o Applicants are strongly discouraged from naming individual members of 
“advisory committees” or “scientific boards” until the time the 
application has been funded.

Part B.
Detailed Description of the Interdisciplinary Collaboration.  Explain how 
all of the projects fit together across disciplines to promote synergy and 
syntheses.  This section also should identify creative strategies to 
foster intra- and inter-center collaborations of a formal and informal 
nature to identify and address overarching scientific and methodological 
issues.  The NIH is especially interested in opportunities to engage arts 
and sciences university faculties and schools of public health in 
collaboration with medical schools or cancer center faculty.   Budget 
pages and other 398 forms should be included in this section if relevant.  
Five page limit, exclusive of forms and literature references.

b)  Organization and Administration (not to exceed 20 pages, including any 
organizational charts).  A separate budget should be prepared and included 
for centralized administrative and organizational activities.  The 
Organizational and Administrative Component should describe all of the 
infrastructure and decision-making needs of the TREC Center.  Appropriate 
for inclusion in this component would be (not necessarily in the following 
order):

o  description of the role(s) and responsibilities of lead investigators, 
internal and external advisory committees as well as participating 
investigators;

o  description of decision-making and oversight responsibilities for each 
Research Component;

o  description of decision-making, oversight responsibilities and 
anticipated utilization for each Shared Resource

o  description of decision-making and oversight responsibilities for the 
Developmental Fund, including the process for selecting, monitoring and 
terminating the Developmental Projects; 

o  description of decision-making and oversight responsibilities for the 
Career Development Component, including the process for selecting, 
monitoring, and terminating trainees;

o  description of TREC-sponsored activities designed to foster 
multidisciplinary interactions, such as regularly scheduled forums for the 
presentation and discussion of multidisciplinary research topics;

o  detailed description of Institutional commitment to the TREC Center; 
and

o  description(s) of commitment(s) to interact with other TREC Centers. 

c)  Research Components (not to exceed 25 pages each) 
Research Components will define the scientific projects supporting the 
long-term goals of the TREC Center, and are to be presented using the 
format of a traditional research project [Research Plan: Include Sections 
a-i (Instructions for PHS 398, Pages 15-17)].  The leader(s) of each 
Research Component will be responsible for ensuring that ongoing research 
project(s) are relevant to the TREC Center’s goals, and that the 
investigators and projects remain highly integrated with other ongoing 
TREC research.  Research Components may rely on the support of the 
Specialized Resources.  To ensure a sufficient level of multidisciplinary 
interaction, no fewer than three Research Components should be included in 
the application; the maximum number will be determined by the identified 
needs of the investigators and budgetary constraints. The total number of 
pages for each Research Component (sections a-d)is not to exceed 25.  
Describe each Research Component in sufficient detail to enable reviewers 
to judge the scientific merit from the written application.  Do not 
present separate "subprojects." All projects are to have a single theme, 
project leader and budget. 

Following the description of the scientific goals, each Research Component 
should include a summary of exactly how the project integrates with the 
goals of the TREC Center, how it will directly support or impact the 
project mission, how it will communicate and complement the other Research 
Components, and how it will utilize the Shared Resources (Cores).  
Describe in this section the relevance of the project to the primary theme 
of the TREC Center and the collaborations with investigators within the 
TREC Center.  Explicitly state which Cores will be used by this Research 
Component, and, if possible, quantitate the anticipated usage of Cores in 
tabular format.  This summary should not exceed 1-2 pages, which are 
included in the 25 page limit for each Research Component section.

Individual Research Projects, Cores, and Developmental Projects:

There is required, at minimum, three research projects concurrently active 
in any given year of the TREC.  It is not necessary, however, for all 
projects in the TREC to span the 5-year period.  An application can, for 
example, propose an initial project to begin and end in 2 years followed 
by a different 3-year project, while two other projects concurrently span 
the entire 5-year period.  Across all projects, different aspects of 
cancer communications research should be addressed; ideally, these should 
include research, from basic to applied, oriented toward critically needed 
areas, and should stimulate and sustain novel collaborations and test 
novel ideas.   Although a detailed description of the interdisciplinary 
collaboration (above) will describe the overall interdisciplinary 
collaboration across all of the TREC’s projects and cores, it would be 
helpful within each Project, Core, and Developmental Project to discuss 
its integration with the entire TREC. 
         
Each Research Project Plan of the TREC should be written as a separate and 
contained application that is based on the PHS 398 form and instructions. 
Do not, however, use the face page of the 398 package for the title page 
of the individual Research Project Plans or Cores.  Use the title page 
format provided in Attachments 2 and 3.  Otherwise, use all of the 
required 398 budget and other forms and sections for each individual 
research project plan.  Each Research Project Plan is limited to 25 pages.  
The page limit refers to the Specific Aims, Background and Significance, 
Preliminary Studies, and Research Design and Methods sections.  Refer to 
the PHS 398 instructions for guidance regarding human subjects research 
and inclusion of women, minorities, and children in research protocols.  
         
d)  Core Resources (not to exceed 15 pages each) 

Similarly, each Core of shared administrative, clinical, statistical, 
training or other resources and activities (e.g., Administrative Core, 
Scientific Core) should be written as a separate 398 application, again 
using the title page format provided in Attachment 2, followed by the 398 
forms and sections as appropriate.  The Core sections need not conform 
exactly to the layout of the Research Project Plans (for example, a 
research design and methods section may be inappropriate for a Core 
description).  Try to follow the table of contents outline, but if a 
section category is not applicable, type a dash “-“ in the page number 
column in the table of contents page. Each Core description is limited to 
15 pages, exclusive of forms and literature references.

Core Resources may include laboratory and clinical facilities, equipment, 
and services. For each Core Resource, describe in detail the resource(s) 
that it will provide to the TREC Center.  In addition, describe its role 
in the overall functioning of the TREC Center, including how each resource 
will enhance multidisciplinary research, and a description of the projects 
that will be supported by the Core Resource.  

1. Using a Form PHS 398 Continuation Page, denote "Core Resource" and the 
Core Resource director's name. If there is to be more than one core 
component, prepare a separate section for each core (i.e., Core Resource 
A, Core Resource B, etc.). 

2. For each Core Resource, describe the role of the Core Resource to the 
TREC Center as a whole. Clearly present the facilities, resources, 
services, and professional skills that the core component provides. 

Distinguish how each core facility supports the individual TREC Center.  
Identify ways the individual Cores, working with the TREC Coordination 
Center and Steering Committee, could potentially function as part of a 
coordinated, shared resource for other or all TREC Centers.

3. To aid in the review, it is suggested that a table to show the 
estimated or actual proportional use of this Core Resource by each 
project, be included in the application.  Justify this core component by 
discussing ways in which these centralized services improve quality 
control, produce an economy of effort, and/or save overall costs compared 
to their inclusion as part of each project in the U54 TREC Center. 

e) Developmental Projects (not to exceed 20 pages)

This section should include a brief description of the Developmental 
Project(s) that will be proposed during the first year of TREC Center 
funding, including a summary of which Core Resources will support the 
projects, and to what level that support will occur. The description of 
decision-making and oversight responsibilities, including the process for 
selecting, monitoring, and terminating the Developmental Projects should 
be included in the "Organization and Administration" Section of the 
application.  This section should include only the scientific portion of 
the Developmental Projects.  The Developmental Projects should provide an 
avenue for introducing and integrating new investigators and innovative 
technologies and/or methodologies into the TREC infrastructure.  Since the 
Developmental Projects will be flexible, only the first year of projects 
should be included in the application.  However, applicants should include 
in their budgets appropriate funds to also support Developmental Projects 
in Years 2-5 of the award.  The Developmental Fund projects must be 
multidisciplinary, and each is to be presented using the format of a 
traditional research project [Research Plan: Include Sections a-d 
(Instructions for PHS 398, Pages 15-17)].  The number of Developmental 
Projects to be initiated will be determined by the TREC Center applicants.  
A minimum of one Developmental Project per site is expected. The 
application may also include examples of up to two developmental projects. 
Each example should not exceed 2 pages. 

Development Research Selection Process:

The TREC Centers, in partnership with the TREC Coordination Center and 
Steering Committee are expected to establish an institutional review 
process that selects the most innovative developmental projects, based on 
common research questions and methodological issues that represent the 
most innovative and interdisciplinary ideas across sites.  It is 
anticipated that there will be at least one developmental collaborative 
project between two or more TREC Centers selected for each funded TREC 
Center.  Applicants should include within the budget, a funding proposal 
to support one developmental project, up to $ 250,000 in total cost per 
year, for a maximum of 5 years. 

f)  Career Development Component (not to exceed 15 pages) 
Career Development opportunities sponsored by TREC Centers will provide a 
limited number of trainees with access to a highly cross-disciplinary 
experience.  The extent of the Career Development Component is to be 
defined by the applicant, based on the needs and capabilities of the TREC 
participants.  Applicants for career development support may be new 
investigators or established investigators who wish to change research 
directions.  Candidates should be scientists who have demonstrated 
outstanding research potential but who need additional time in a 
productive scientific environment to establish an independent, 
multidisciplinary research program.  Recruitment must include 
qualified women and minorities.  To this end, each applicant should 
propose a clear policy and plan for recruitment of career development 
candidates.  The TREC Center application should propose the number of 
slots available, the criteria for eligibility and for selection of 
candidates, and describe the selection process.  Also, the application 
should indicate prospective mentors who are already in place at the 
proposed TREC Center, briefly describe their research programs, and 
describe complementary activities that contribute to the environment for 
career development (e.g., existing training grants, other career 
development mechanisms and relevant programs).

As described in the RFA, a Career Development Plan must be included that 
will target either new investigators or established investigators who wish 
to expand their research skills.  Recruitment must include qualified women 
and minorities.  To this end, propose a clear policy and plan for 
recruitment of career development candidates.  State the number of career 
development candidates proposed, the criteria for eligibility and for 
selection of candidates, and describe the selection process.  Also 
indicate potential mentors who are already in place at the proposed TREC, 
briefly describe their research programs, and describe complementary 
activities that contribute to the interdisciplinary environment for career 
development (e.g., existing training grants, other career development 
mechanisms and relevant programs). Do not exceed 15 pages.

Checklist:  Use one for the entire TREC application.  This is the last 
page of the application. 

Appendix:
Do not include appendices with the TREC application; they will not be 
accepted.  Following submission of the proposal, the Scientific Review 
Administrator may allow a PI to send original glossy photographs or other 
color images.  If such permission is granted (and only if) by the SRA, 
these photos are to be sent directly to the SRA.

Attachments
Attachment 1: Table of Contents for TREC application as a whole
Attachment 2 & 3: Table of Contents page for individual Research 
Project Plans, Cores, and Developmental Projects
Attachments 4-6: Tables for consolidated budget and percent 
distribution across TREC components

GUIDANCE FOR PREPARATION OF RESEARCH TOOLS SHARING PLAN AND INTELLECTUAL 
PROPERTY PLAN
Restricted availability of unique research resources, upon which further 
studies are dependent, can impede the advancement of research. The NIH is 
interested in ensuring that the research resources developed through this 
grant also become readily available to the broader research community in a 
timely manner for further research, development, and application, in the 
expectation that this will lead to products and knowledge of benefit to 
the public health.

Investigators conducting biomedical research frequently develop unique 
research resources. The policy of the NIH is to make available to the 
public the results and accomplishments of the activities that it funds.  
To address this interest in ensuring research resources are accessible, 
NIH requires applicants who respond to this RFA to submit a plan: (1) for 
sharing the research resources generated through the grant (e.g., human 
biospecimens and novel cancer biomarkers); and (2) addressing how they 
will exercise intellectual property rights, should any be generated 
through this grant, while making such research resources available to the 
broader scientific community consistent with this initiative. Therefore, 
the research resources tools sharing plan and intellectual property 
management plans must make unique research resources readily available for 
research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community 
in accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/) and the Principles and 
Guidelines for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts on 
Obtaining and Disseminating Biomedical Research Resources: Final Notice, 
December 1999 (http://www.ott.nih.gov/policy/rt_guide_final.html and 
http://ott.od.nih.gov/NewPages/64FR72090.pdf)(“NIH Research Tools 
Guidelines Policy”).  These documents also: (1) define terms, parties, and 
responsibilities; (2) prescribe the order of disposition of rights and a 
chronology of reporting requirements: and (3) delineate the basis for and 
extent of government actions to retain rights.  Patent rights clauses may 
be found at 37 CFR Part 401.14 and are accessible from the Interagency 
Edison web page, (http://www.iedison.gov); see also, 35 USC § 210(c); 
Executive Order 12591, 52 FR 13414 (Apr. 10, 1987); and Memorandum on 
Government Patent Policy (Feb. 18, 1983). If applicant investigators plan 
to collaborate with third parties, the research tools sharing plan must 
explain address how such collaborations will not restrict their ability to 
share research materials produced with NIH funding. NCI believes that 
applicants can satisfy the requirement to submit the research resources 
plan and intellectual property plan in a number of ways.

Reviewers will comment, as appropriate, on the adequacy and feasibility of 
the sharing of research resources plan and the intellectual property plan.  
Comments on the plans and any concerns will be presented in an 
administrative note in the Summary Statement.  These comments will not 
affect the priority score of the application.  NIH program staff will 
consider the adequacy of the plans in determining whether to recommend an 
application for award.  The approved plans will become a condition of the 
grant award and Progress Reports must contain information on activities 
for the sharing of research resources and intellectual property.

Where it is anticipated that there will be an exchange of collections of 
human tissues, consideration should also be given to obtaining the 
appropriate assurances from the DHHS Office of Human Subject Protections 
(http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/assurances/assurances_index.html) and necessary IRB approvals 
and/or exemptions.  In addition, issues pertaining to the protection of 
patient identifiable information under the Privacy Rule of the Health 
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1976 (HIPAA) should be 
addressed.  For more information concerning the HIPAA Privacy Rule, see 
the HIPPA web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa.

In the development of the research resource sharing and intellectual 
property management plans, applicants should confer with their 
institutions’ office(s) responsible for handling technology transfer 
related matters and/or sponsored research.  If applicants or their 
representatives require additional guidance in preparing these plans, they 
are encouraged to make further inquiries to the appropriate contacts 
listed above for such matters.  Further, applicants may wish to 
independently research and review examples of approaches considered by 
other institutions such as those described on the NCI Technology Transfer 
Branch web site (http://ttc.nci.nih.gov/intellectualproperty/).  
The foregoing guidance is provided by way of example to assist applicants 
in preparing the required research resources sharing and intellectual 
property management plans in a manner that encourages partnerships with 
industry. While these approaches will likely suit most situations, these 
approaches are not exclusive and applicants should feel free to submit 
alternative versions for consideration.

USING THE RFA LABEL:  The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 
5/2001) application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of 
the application.  Type the RFA number on the label.  Failure to use this 
label could result in delayed processing of the application such that it 
may not reach the review committee in time for review.  In addition, the 
RFA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the 
application form and the YES box must be marked. The RFA label is also 
available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/labels.pdf.
 
SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH:  Submit a signed, typewritten original 
of the application, including the Checklist, and three signed, 
photocopies, in one package to:
 
Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and 
all five copies of the appendices must be sent to:
 
Referral Officer 
Division of Extramural Activities 
National Cancer Institute 
6116 Executive Blvd., Room 8041, MSC-8329
Bethesda, MD 20892-8329
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 496-3428 (for express/courier service)

Appendices should be comprised of unbound materials, with separators 
between documents.  

APPLICATIONS HAND-DELIVERED BY INDIVIDUALS TO THE NATIONAL CANCER 
INSTITUTE WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTED.  This policy does not apply to 
courier deliveries (i.e., FEDEX, UPS, DHL, etc.) 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-CA-02-002.html).  
This policy is similar to and consistent with the policy for applications 
addressed to Centers for Scientific Review as published in the NIH Guide 
Notice 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-012.html).

APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be received on or before the 
application receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.  If an 
application is received after that date, it will be returned to the 
applicant without review.  An application received after the deadline may 
be acceptable if it carries a legible proof-of-mailing date assigned by 
the carrier and the proof-of-mailing is not later than one week prior to 
the deadline date.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an 
application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding 
assignment within 8 weeks.
 
The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending 
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  
However, when a previously unfunded application, originally submitted as 
an investigator-initiated application, is to be submitted in response to 
an RFA, it is to be prepared as a NEW application.  That is the 
application for the RFA must not include an Introduction describing the 
changes and improvements made, and the text must not be marked to indicate 
the changes from the previous unfunded version of the application.  

PEER REVIEW PROCESS  
 
Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR 
and responsiveness by the NCI.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive 
applications will not be reviewed. 

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated 
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group 
convened by the Division of Extramural Activities of the NCI in accordance 
with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit 
review, all applications will:

o Undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under 
review, will be discussed and assigned a priority score
o Receive a written critique
o Receive a second level review by the National Cancer Advisory Board.

REVIEW CRITERIA

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments, reviewers will be asked to evaluate the application 
in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a 
substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  The scientific review 
group will address and consider each of these criteria in assigning the 
application’s overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each 
application.  

o Significance 
o Approach 
o Innovation
o Investigator
o Environment
  
The application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged 
likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority 
score.  For example, an investigator may propose to attack a highly 
significant research problem for which some of the details of approach 
have not been established through preliminary data.

The Centers must include three or more individual research projects, which 
reflect hypothesis-driven research, plus a process for collaborative 
developmental, methodologically-based research projects, shared resources 
(cores) and career development.  

a. Research Projects

SIGNIFICANCE   
o Does this Application  address an important problem in nutrition, 
physical activity, energetics, and carcinogenesis?
o If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific 
knowledge in energy balance, obesity, and cancer risk be advanced?
o What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts and methods 
that drive the field of energy balance and obesity?

APPROACH
o Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately 
developed, well integrated, transdisciplinary in nature, and appropriate 
to the aims of the project, within the limits inherent in an emerging, 
complex approach to energy balance and carcinogensis? 
o Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?
o Are there appropriate plans to maximize TREC Center flexibility by 
incorporating developmental projects and redirecting resources to maximize 
progress?  Are the plans for oversight of such changes adequate?
o Is the scientific research plan of high quality?  Are the exploratory 
research components well justified and do they contribute to the goals of 
the planning effort?  
o Is there an appropriate plan for acquisition, organization, and 
deployment of equipment and human resources needed to attain the goals of 
the exploratory research?  Is there an adequate level of effort from key 
personnel?
o Is the plan to develop an effective training/outreach component 
appropriate?
o Is the plan to solicit and fund developmental studies adequate?

INNOVATION
o Does the project employ novel transdisciplinary concepts, approaches, or 
methods? Are the aims original and innovative? 
o Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new 
methodologies or technologies?
o Would the proposed application be innovative in organization, scientific 
approach, or resources that could be mobilized, relative to more 
established efforts in nutrition, physical activity, energetics, and 
carcinogenesis?

INVESTIGATOR 
o Does the overall research team have sufficient expertise in all of 
the critical aspects of this undertaking, i.e., nutrition, physical 
activity, energetics, and carcinogenesis to effectively conduct this 
program? Are time commitments appropriate for each co-investigator to 
effectively conduct the project and contribute to the overall program? 
o Is the Principal Investigator appropriately trained and well suited to 
lead and coordinate a planning effort of this kind?
o Is there an adequate pool of expertise at the applicant institution(s) 
in all of the critical aspects of integrative cancer biology, or are there 
plans to supplement available expertise through collaboration and/or 
recruitment?

ENVIRONMENT 
o Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done 
contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take 
advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ 
useful collaborative arrangements? 

o Does the applicant institution(s) provide an environment conducive to 
the development of a high-quality research effort in integrative 
nutrition, physical activity, energetics, and carcinogenesis?

o Is there strong evidence of institutional support?  Is the 
institution(s) committed to the proposed application in terms of space, 
administrative authority, and other necessary resources, e.g., donated 
faculty time, use of equipment, etc?  Will the Program that is being 
developed be recognized as a major element within the organizational 
structure of the institution? 

o Is there evidence of experienced and available personnel dedicated to 
the activities necessary for the project, for example: human subject 
consent, data entry, maintenance of database and computer networks, 
development of data files for use with TREC Coordination Center. 

o Is there adequate access to patients and populations for conducting 
current and projected research?

b.  Core Facilities and Resources 
o Are the proposed core facilities or shared resources or specialized 
resources, if any, essential twith regard to interactions and 
collaborations.

o Setting and Facilities, including a statement of institutional 
commitment (this does not supplant the Resources form).  Describe here how 
the institution will make the TREC an area of high priority.   If the TREC 
is being submitted from an institution already designated as an NCI-
designated clinical or comprehensive cancer center, clearly delineate the 
relationship of the TREC Center U54) to the NCI-designated cancer center 
(P30). 

o Proposed animal models and species, and/or proposed use of human 
volunteers (e.g., patient populations, epidemiological samples). 

o TREC Center organization and administration, including a brief 
description of the roles and responsibilities of the Principal 
Investigator and other Scientific Leadership.

o Applicants are strongly discouraged from naming individual members of 
“advisory committees” or “scientific boards” until the time the 
application has been funded.

Part B.
Detailed Description of the Interdisciplinary Collaboration.  Explain how 
all of the projects fit together across disciplines to promote synergy and 
syntheses.  This section also should identify creative strategies to 
foster intra- and inter-center collaborations of a formal and informal 
nature to identify and address overarching scientific and methodological 
issues.  The NIH is especially interested in opportunities to engage arts 
and sciences university faculties and schools of public health in 
collaboration with medical schools or cancer center faculty.   Budget 
pages and other 398 forms should be included in this section if relevant.  
Five page limit, exclusive of forms and literature references.

b)  Organization and Administration (not to exceed 20 pages, including any 
organizational charts).  A separate budget should be prepared and included 
for centralized administrative and organizational activities.  The 
Organizational and Administrative Component should describe all of the 
infrastructure and decision-making needs of the TREC Center.  Appropriate 
for inclusion in this component would be (not necessarily in the following 
order):

o  description of the role(s) and responsibilities of lead investigators, 
internal and external advisory committees as well as participating 
investigators;

o  description of decision-making and oversight responsibilities for each 
Research Component;

o  description of decision-making, oversight responsibilities and 
anticipated utilization for each Shared Resource

o  description of decision-making and oversight responsibilities for the 
Developmental Fund, including the process for selecting, monitoring and 
terminating the Developmental Projects; 

o  description of decision-making and oversight responsibilities for the 
Career Development Component, including the process for selecting, 
monitoring, and terminating trainees;

o  description of TREC-sponsored activities designed to foster 
multidisciplinary interactions, such as regularly scheduled forums for the 
presentation and discussion of multidisciplinary research topics;

o  detailed description of Institutional commitment to the TREC Center; 
and

o  description(s) of commitment(s) to interact with other TREC Centers. 

c)  Research Components (not to exceed 25 pages each) 
Research Components will define the scientific projects supporting the 
long-term goals of the TREC Center, and are to be presented using the 
format of a traditional research project [Research Plan: Include Sections 
a-i (Instructions for PHS 398, Pages 15-17)].  The leader(s) of each 
Research Component will be responsible for ensuring that ongoing research 
project(s) are relevant to the TREC Center’s goals, and that the 
investigators and projects remain highly integrated with other ongoing 
TREC research.  Research Components may rely on the support of the 
Specialized Resources.  To ensure a sufficient level of multidisciplinary 
interaction, no fewer than three Research Components should be included in 
the application; the maximum number will be determined by the identified 
needs of the investigators and budgetary constraints. The total number of 
pages for each Research Component (sections a-d)is not to exceed 25.  
Describe each Research Component in sufficient detail to enable reviewers 
to judge the scientific merit from the written application.  Do not 
present separate "subprojects." All projects are to have a single theme, 
project leader and budget. 

Following the description of the scientific goals, each Research Component 
should include a summary of exactly how the project integrates with the 
goals of the TREC Center, how it will directly support or impact the 
project mission, how it will communicate and complement the other Research 
Components, and how it will utilize the Shared Resources (Cores).  
Describe in this section the relevance of the project to the primary theme 
of the TREC Center and the collaborations with investigators within the 
TREC Center.  Explicitly state which Cores will be used by this Research 
Component, and, if possible, quantitate the anticipated usage of Cores in 
tabular format.  This summary should not exceed 1-2 pages, which are 
included in the 25 page limit for each Research Component section.

Individual Research Projects, Cores, and Developmental Projects:

There is required, at minimum, three research projects concurrently active 
in any given year of the TREC.  It is not necessary, however, for all 
projects in the TREC to span the 5-year period.  An application can, for 
example, propose an initial project to begin and end in 2 years followed 
by a different 3-year project, while two other projects concurrently span 
the entire 5-year period.  Across all projects, different aspects of 
cancer communications research should be addressed; ideally, these should 
include research, from basic to applied, oriented toward critically needed 
areas, and should stimulate and sustain novel collaborations and test 
novel ideas.   Although a detailed description of the interdisciplinary 
collaboration (above) will describe the overall interdisciplinary 
collaboration across all of the TREC’s projects and cores, it would be 
helpful within each Project, Core, and Developmental Project to discuss 
its integration with the entire TREC. 
         
Each Research Project Plan of the TREC should be written as a separate and 
contained application that is based on the PHS 398 form and instructions. 
Do not, however, use the face page of the 398 package for the title page 
of the individual Research Project Plans or Cores.  Use the title page 
format provided in Attachments 2 and 3.  Otherwise, use all of the 
required 398 budget and other forms and sections for each individual 
research project plan.  Each Research Project Plan is limited to 25 pages.  
The page limit refers to the Specific Aims, Background and Significance, 
Preliminary Studies, and Research Design and Methods sections.  Refer to 
the PHS 398 instructions for guidance regarding human subjects research 
and inclusion of women, minorities, and children in research protocols.  
         
d)  Core Resources (not to exceed 15 pages each) 

Similarly, each Core of shared administrative, clinical, statistical, 
training or other resources and activities (e.g., Administrative Core, 
Scientific Core) should be written as a separate 398 application, again 
using the title page format provided in Attachment 2, followed by the 398 
forms and sections as appropriate.  The Core sections need not conform 
exactly to the layout of the Research Project Plans (for example, a 
research design and methods section may be inappropriate for a Core 
description).  Try to follow the table of contents outline, but if a 
section category is not applicable, type a dash “-“ in the page number 
column in the table of contents page. Each Core description is limited to 
15 pages, exclusive of forms and literature references.

Core Resources may include laboratory and clinical facilities, equipment, 
and services. For each Core Resource, describe in detail the resource(s) 
that it will provide to the TREC Center.  In addition, describe its role 
in the overall functioning of the TREC Center, including how each resource 
will enhance multidisciplinary research, and a description of the projects 
that will be supported by the Core Resource.  

1. Using a Form PHS 398 Continuation Page, denote "Core Resource" and the 
Core Resource director's name. If there is to be more than one core 
component, prepare a separate section for each core (i.e., Core Resource 
A, Core Resource B, etc.). 

2. For each Core Resource, describe the role of the Core Resource to the 
TREC Center as a whole. Clearly present the facilities, resources, 
services, and professional skills that the core component provides. 

Distinguish how each core facility supports the individual TREC Center.  
Identify ways the individual Cores, working with the TREC Coordination 
Center and Steering Committee, could potentially function as part of a 
coordinated, shared resource for other or all TREC Centers.

3. To aid in the review, it is suggested that a table to show the 
estimated or actual proportional use of this Core Resource by each 
project, be included in the application.  Justify this core component by 
discussing ways in which these centralized services improve quality 
control, produce an economy of effort, and/or save overall costs compared 
to their inclusion as part of each project in the U54 TREC Center. 

e) Developmental Projects (not to exceed 20 pages)

This section should include a brief description of the Developmental 
Project(s) that will be proposed during the first year of TREC Center 
funding, including a summary of which Core Resources will support the 
projects, and to what level that support will occur. The description of 
decision-making and oversight responsibilities, including the process for 
selecting, monitoring, and terminating the Developmental Projects should 
be included in the "Organization and Administration" Section of the 
application.  This section should include only the scientific portion of 
the Developmental Projects.  The Developmental Projects should provide an 
avenue for introducing and integrating new investigators and innovative 
technologies and/or methodologies into the TREC infrastructure.  Since the 
Developmental Projects will be flexible, only the first year of projects 
should be included in the application.  However, applicants should include 
in their budgets appropriate funds to also support Developmental Projects 
in Years 2-5 of the award.  The Developmental Fund projects must be 
multidisciplinary, and each is to be presented using the format of a 
traditional research project [Research Plan: Include Sections a-d 
(Instructions for PHS 398, Pages 15-17)].  The number of Developmental 
Projects to be initiated will be determined by the TREC Center applicants.  
A minimum of one Developmental Project per site is expected. The 
application may also include examples of up to two developmental projects. 
Each example should not exceed 2 pages. 

Development Research Selection Process:

The TREC Centers, in partnership with the TREC Coordination Center and 
Steering Committee are expected to establish an institutional review 
process that selects the most innovative developmental projects, based on 
common research questions and methodological issues that represent the 
most innovative and interdisciplinary ideas across sites.  It is 
anticipated that there will be at least one developmental collaborative 
project between two or more TREC Centers selected for each funded TREC 
Center.  Applicants should include within the budget, a funding proposal 
to support one developmental project, up to $ 250,000 in total cost per 
year, for a maximum of 5 years. 

f)  Career Development Component (not to exceed 15 pages) 
Career Development opportunities sponsored by TREC Centers will provide a 
limited number of trainees with access to a highly cross-disciplinary 
experience.  The extent of the Career Development Component is to be 
defined by the applicant, based on the needs and capabilities of the TREC 
participants.  Applicants for career development support may be new 
investigators or established investigators who wish to change research 
directions.  Candidates should be scientists who have demonstrated 
outstanding research potential but who need additional time in a 
productive scientific environment to establish an independent, 
multidisciplinary research program.  Recruitment must include 
qualified women and minorities.  To this end, each applicant should 
propose a clear policy and plan for recruitment of career development 
candidates.  The TREC Center application should propose the number of 
slots available, the criteria for eligibility and for selection of 
candidates, and describe the selection process.  Also, the application 
should indicate prospective mentors who are already in place at the 
proposed TREC Center, briefly describe their research programs, and 
describe complementary activities that contribute to the environment for 
career development (e.g., existing training grants, other career 
development mechanisms and relevant programs).

As described in the RFA, a Career Development Plan must be included that 
will target either new investigators or established investigators who wish 
to expand their research skills.  Recruitment must include qualified women 
and minorities.  To this end, propose a clear policy and plan for 
recruitment of career development candidates.  State the number of career 
development candidates proposed, the criteria for eligibility and for 
selection of candidates, and describe the selection process.  Also 
indicate potential mentors who are already in place at the proposed TREC, 
briefly describe their research programs, and describe complementary 
activities that contribute to the interdisciplinary environment for career 
development (e.g., existing training grants, other career development 
mechanisms and relevant programs). Do not exceed 15 pages.

Checklist:  Use one for the entire TREC application.  This is the last 
page of the application. 

Appendix:
Do not include appendices with the TREC application; they will not be 
accepted.  Following submission of the proposal, the Scientific Review 
Administrator may allow a PI to send original glossy photographs or other 
color images.  If such permission is granted (and only if) by the SRA, 
these photos are to be sent directly to the SRA.

Attachments
Attachment 1: Table of Contents for TREC application as a whole
Attachment 2 & 3: Table of Contents page for individual Research 
Project Plans, Cores, and Developmental Projects
Attachments 4-6: Tables for consolidated budget and percent 
distribution across TREC components

GUIDANCE FOR PREPARATION OF RESEARCH TOOLS SHARING PLAN AND INTELLECTUAL 
PROPERTY PLAN
Restricted availability of unique research resources, upon which further 
studies are dependent, can impede the advancement of research. The NIH is 
interested in ensuring that the research resources developed through this 
grant also become readily available to the broader research community in a 
timely manner for further research, development, and application, in the 
expectation that this will lead to products and knowledge of benefit to 
the public health.

Investigators conducting biomedical research frequently develop unique 
research resources. The policy of the NIH is to make available to the 
public the results and accomplishments of the activities that it funds.  
To address this interest in ensuring research resources are accessible, 
NIH requires applicants who respond to this RFA to submit a plan: (1) for 
sharing the research resources generated through the grant (e.g., human 
biospecimens and novel cancer biomarkers); and (2) addressing how they 
will exercise intellectual property rights, should any be generated 
through this grant, while making such research resources available to the 
broader scientific community consistent with this initiative. Therefore, 
the research resources tools sharing plan and intellectual property 
management plans must make unique research resources readily available for 
research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community 
in accordance with the NIH Grants Policy Statement 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps/) and the Principles and 
Guidelines for Recipients of NIH Research Grants and Contracts on 
Obtaining and Disseminating Biomedical Research Resources: Final Notice, 
December 1999 (http://www.ott.nih.gov/policy/rt_guide_final.html and 
http://ott.od.nih.gov/NewPages/64FR72090.pdf)(“NIH Research Tools 
Guidelines Policy”).  These documents also: (1) define terms, parties, and 
responsibilities; (2) prescribe the order of disposition of rights and a 
chronology of reporting requirements: and (3) delineate the basis for and 
extent of government actions to retain rights.  Patent rights clauses may 
be found at 37 CFR Part 401.14 and are accessible from the Interagency 
Edison web page, (http://www.iedison.gov); see also, 35 USC § 210(c); 
Executive Order 12591, 52 FR 13414 (Apr. 10, 1987); and Memorandum on 
Government Patent Policy (Feb. 18, 1983). If applicant investigators plan 
to collaborate with third parties, the research tools sharing plan must 
explain address how such collaborations will not restrict their ability to 
share research materials produced with NIH funding. NCI believes that 
applicants can satisfy the requirement to submit the research resources 
plan and intellectual property plan in a number of ways.

Reviewers will comment, as appropriate, on the adequacy and feasibility of 
the sharing of research resources plan and the intellectual property plan.  
Comments on the plans and any concerns will be presented in an 
administrative note in the Summary Statement.  These comments will not 
affect the priority score of the application.  NIH program staff will 
consider the adequacy of the plans in determining whether to recommend an 
application for award.  The approved plans will become a condition of the 
grant award and Progress Reports must contain information on activities 
for the sharing of research resources and intellectual property.

Where it is anticipated that there will be an exchange of collections of 
human tissues, consideration should also be given to obtaining the 
appropriate assurances from the DHHS Office of Human Subject Protections 
(http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/assurances/assurances_index.html) and necessary IRB approvals 
and/or exemptions.  In addition, issues pertaining to the protection of 
patient identifiable information under the Privacy Rule of the Health 
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1976 (HIPAA) should be 
addressed.  For more information concerning the HIPAA Privacy Rule, see 
the HIPPA web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa.

In the development of the research resource sharing and intellectual 
property management plans, applicants should confer with their 
institutions’ office(s) responsible for handling technology transfer 
related matters and/or sponsored research.  If applicants or their 
representatives require additional guidance in preparing these plans, they 
are encouraged to make further inquiries to the appropriate contacts 
listed above for such matters.  Further, applicants may wish to 
independently research and review examples of approaches considered by 
other institutions such as those described on the NCI Technology Transfer 
Branch web site (http://ttc.nci.nih.gov/intellectualproperty/).  
The foregoing guidance is provided by way of example to assist applicants 
in preparing the required research resources sharing and intellectual 
property management plans in a manner that encourages partnerships with 
industry. While these approaches will likely suit most situations, these 
approaches are not exclusive and applicants should feel free to submit 
alternative versions for consideration.

USING THE RFA LABEL:  The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 
5/2001) application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page of 
the application.  Type the RFA number on the label.  Failure to use this 
label could result in delayed processing of the application such that it 
may not reach the review committee in time for review.  In addition, the 
RFA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face page of the 
application form and the YES box must be marked. The RFA label is also 
available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/labels.pdf.
 
SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH:  Submit a signed, typewritten original 
of the application, including the Checklist, and three signed, 
photocopies, in one package to:
 
Center for Scientific Review
National Institutes of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application and 
all five copies of the appendices must be sent to:
 
Referral Officer 
Division of Extramural Activities 
National Cancer Institute 
6116 Executive Blvd., Room 8041, MSC-8329
Bethesda, MD 20892-8329
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Telephone: (301) 496-3428 (for express/courier service)

Appendices should be comprised of unbound materials, with separators 
between documents.  

APPLICATIONS HAND-DELIVERED BY INDIVIDUALS TO THE NATIONAL CANCER 
INSTITUTE WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTED.  This policy does not apply to 
courier deliveries (i.e., FEDEX, UPS, DHL, etc.) 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-CA-02-002.html).  
This policy is similar to and consistent with the policy for applications 
addressed to Centers for Scientific Review as published in the NIH Guide 
Notice 
(http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-012.html).

APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be received on or before the 
application receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.  If an 
application is received after that date, it will be returned to the 
applicant without review.  An application received after the deadline may 
be acceptable if it carries a legible proof-of-mailing date assigned by 
the carrier and the proof-of-mailing is not later than one week prior to 
the deadline date.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an 
application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding 
assignment within 8 weeks.
 
The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending 
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  
However, when a previously unfunded application, originally submitted as 
an investigator-initiated application, is to be submitted in response to 
an RFA, it is to be prepared as a NEW application.  That is the 
application for the RFA must not include an Introduction describing the 
changes and improvements made, and the text must not be marked to indicate 
the changes from the previous unfunded version of the application.  

PEER REVIEW PROCESS  
 
Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR 
and responsiveness by the NCI.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive 
applications will not be reviewed. 

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated 
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group 
convened by the Division of Extramural Activities of the NCI in accordance 
with the review criteria stated below.  As part of the initial merit 
review, all applications will:

o Undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications under 
review, will be discussed and assigned a priority score
o Receive a written critique
o Receive a second level review by the National Cancer Advisory Board.

REVIEW CRITERIA

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments, reviewers will be asked to evaluate the application 
in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a 
substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  The scientific review 
group will address and consider each of these criteria in assigning the 
application’s overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each 
application.  

o Significance 
o Approach 
o Innovation
o Investigator
o Environment
  
The application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged 
likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority 
score.  For example, an investigator may propose to attack a highly 
significant research problem for which some of the details of approach 
have not been established through preliminary data.

The Centers must include three or more individual research projects, which 
reflect hypothesis-driven research, plus a process for collaborative 
developmental, methodologically-based research projects, shared resources 
(cores) and career development.  

a. Research Projects

SIGNIFICANCE   
o Does this Application  address an important problem in nutrition, 
physical activity, energetics, and carcinogenesis?
o If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific 
knowledge in energy balance, obesity, and cancer risk be advanced?
o What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts and methods 
that drive the field of energy balance and obesity?

APPROACH
o Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately 
developed, well integrated, transdisciplinary in nature, and appropriate 
to the aims of the project, within the limits inherent in an emerging, 
complex approach to energy balance and carcinogensis? 
o Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?
o Are there appropriate plans to maximize TREC Center flexibility by 
incorporating developmental projects and redirecting resources to maximize 
progress?  Are the plans for oversight of such changes adequate?
o Is the scientific research plan of high quality?  Are the exploratory 
research components well justified and do they contribute to the goals of 
the planning effort?  
o Is there an appropriate plan for acquisition, organization, and 
deployment of equipment and human resources needed to attain the goals of 
the exploratory research?  Is there an adequate level of effort from key 
personnel?
o Is the plan to develop an effective training/outreach component 
appropriate?
o Is the plan to solicit and fund developmental studies adequate?

INNOVATION
o Does the project employ novel transdisciplinary concepts, approaches, or 
methods? Are the aims original and innovative? 
o Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new 
methodologies or technologies?
o Would the proposed application be innovative in org


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