Director's Message: The NCI's Annual Plan: Something for Everyone

The National Cancer Institute's annual plan and budget proposal was recently released and it has something for everyone - that is, everyone interested in better cancer care outcomes through cancer research. The NCI report outlines the public face for the NCI and how they present their priorities to congress. In fact, this becomes the Bible for congressional staff, NCI PR and the elevator speech of NCI Leadership.

While this report does not really provide a clue about where the next RFA and investments are coming, being knowledgeable about what they are thinking is important.

Often, our research is featured in this report, but not this year. Still, there are many points of note:

  1. Implementation science has come into its own, and even our basic science mechanism investigators can consider how to best implement impact of their research; even more so for our investigators focused on reducing risks - obesity, smoking, exposures, stress and investigating family risk and genomic issues linked to that risk, as well as recurrent epigenetic changes. For us, we would like to have implementation efforts for our genomics efforts.
  2. A strong appreciation that the R01 pool be funded at the 15% payline up from the current 8%. Let's hope this can be eventuated.
  3. The NCI is proud of their support for the broad pool of education in cancer research. This is a clear shift from the varmus years and correctly reflects the incredible needs to develop high-powered next-generation cancer investigators.
  4. Attention to the world cancer burden and encouragement of international cancer research, especially in population cancer research.
  5. Please note that a priority area is artificial intelligence (AI) with leadership in our scientific computational diagnostics scientific initiative led by Anant Madabhushi.

Please look this over and take from it your talking points. Understanding the NCI will help in your next application!