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CCR Health Disparity Award


CCR/NCI has made cancer health disparity a research priority. The objective is to improve cancer care in underserved and rural communities, to promote the science directed at understanding the causes of these disparities, and to study cancer and cancer treatments in understudied populations. Many of the most prevalent and lethal cancers are more common and confer a poor prognosis in racial or ethnic minority populations, individuals of lower socioeconomic status, rural communities, and those within sexual and gender minorities. Additionally, stigma and social isolation that these populations experience may worsen cancer outcomes. These disparities are not only due to barriers in access to health care, but also because of environmental, genetic, biologic, and immunologic risk factors. The full scope of the underlying biology associated with cancer health disparities is unknown because many minority populations are under-represented in precision medicine studies. These gaps in our knowledge need to be addressed to achieve health equity and improve cancer care for all populations within the United States and beyond.

Proposals may cover any area of cancer health disparity as defined by the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

Individual investigators or teams of PIs are eligible to apply. Research teams may include PIs from other NIH ICs or the extramural community. Collaboration with historically black colleges, as well as universities or other academic centers that have strong health disparity-related research programs is encouraged. Please note that the lead PI must be from CCR and only CCR and DCEG PIs are eligible to receive funding. Team projects may have a maximum of 3 CCR/DCEG PIs receive funding.

Selection Criteria

Key criteria for evaluation of proposals are:

  • Potential impact:  Successful projects will lead to significant new insights into cancer-related biological, social, or health care delivery problems or lead to the development of new diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic approaches or other interventions targeted at improving cancer outcomes in underserved or other disadvantaged population groups.
  • Synergy:  For team projects, each team member’s expertise and contribution to the project must be clearly defined. Proposals with at least one PI or collaborator with expertise or demonstrated interest in health disparity research will be given priority for funding.
  • Degree of innovation:  The resulting research output must be innovative and have potential for significant advances in understanding the causes of a cancer health disparity or provide new insights in improving cancer care among underserved or otherwise disadvantaged population groups.
  • Feasibility:  The PIs must provide evidence for the feasibility of the proposed studies and demonstrate relevant expertise amongst team-members. Preliminary data to demonstrate feasibility is encouraged, but not required.
  • Milestones:  The proposal should list clearly defined milestones and identify at least annual go/no-go decision points.


The lead PI for an LOI must be a CCR intramural Tenure-track PI, Tenured PI, Senior Clinician, or Senior Scientist in the Center for Cancer Research. Those in the Physician-Scientist Early Investigator (PEI) program can apply but must include a tenured PI as a co-PI.  Applications with a CCR PI as lead and DCEG co-PIs will also be accepted. Both the CCR and DCEG co-PIs will be eligible to receive funds. Non-NCI investigators may serve as co-PIs or collaborators but cannot receive funds.  Including co-PIs and/or collaborators with demonstrable interest or expertise in Cancer Health Disparities is encouraged.  Costs for sample preparation and shipment can be covered through CCR funds. Please click here for more specifics on who may apply.


Funding to cover personnel and supply costs will be provided for 3 years.  This includes up to $125,000 per year per CCR PI.  DCEG co-PIs can receive up to $85,000 per year.

Review Process

Review of proposals will occur in two stages. After initial review of Letters of Intent (LOI), shortlisted proposals (approximately 20% of LOIs) will be invited for full review.

LOI and invited proposals will be evaluated by the CCR Science Board.

Important Deadlines

More information will be available about the next round of funding in July of 2023   Please contact Diana Linnekin if you have questions

Last updated by Linnekin, Diana (NIH/NCI) [E] on Jan 23, 2023