DHHS/NIH: Seeking Applications for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) in Human Cancers

Deadline: 7 January 2021

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking applications for its program entitled “Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) in Human Cancers for years 2018, 2019 and 2020”  that are organ-specific, groups of highly related cancers or cancers driven by common activation pathways or cross-cutting themes. This FOA targets applicant institutions with a demonstrated ability to conduct translational research (see key definitions) in the prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and/or treatment of human cancer. Applications focusing on novel cross-cutting themes are encouraged.

In each SPORE project, at least one of the following types of human endpoints should be proposed:

  • Early phase clinical trials of new investigational drugs, biologics, experimental procedures, medical devices, or combinations;
  • Early phase clinical trials of new combinations or new uses of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved agents and devices;
  • Discovery and development of biomarkers, only when measurements are made in human specimens, or directly in human subjects;
  • Laboratory studies that begin with an observation in the clinic and use human specimens to generate new clinical hypotheses;
  • Population, behavioral, or psychosocial studies, when these studies address mechanistic aspects of the biology of the disease;
  • Investigational new drug (IND)-directed toxicology studies conducted following a pre-IND meeting with the FDA in which the plan proposed by the investigators is acceptable to the FDA.


Major Components of SPORE Applications are:

  • Research Projects: Research projects may be conducted solely through the parent institution, or through collaborative associations that have been developed and/or are planned with other SPOREs and/or with other investigators in the biomedical research community.
  • Administrative Core: An Administrative Core is required. This Core describes the SPORE’s organization and capabilities, including the organizational, administrative, and scientific and data management of the SPORE and explains how coordination and communication among the different projects and programs, Shared Resources Cores, and participating institutions will be achieved at the overall program level.
  • Shared Resources Cores: SPORE applications are required to include a Biospecimen/Pathology Shared Resource Core and have the option to include other Shared Resources Cores that provide laboratory and/or clinical facilities, equipment, and/or services to be shared by one or more research projects and the developmental programs.
  • Developmental Research Program (DRP): Each SPORE must allocate a significant effort to support pilot projects that take maximum advantage of new research opportunities in the organ site or group of related cancers that are the focus of the SPORE.
  • Career Enhancement Program (CEP): The SPORE must demonstrate a consistent and substantial commitment to a Career Enhancement Program (CEP) in translational research. As a required element of the SPORE, the CEP must be maintained throughout the entire term of the funding period.
  • Scientific Collaboration: Each SPORE must demonstrate a commitment to both horizontal and vertical collaboration (see key definitions section) in completing preclinical projects and moving promising results along the pathway of translational/clinical development.

Eligibility Criteria

  • County governments
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • State governments
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Special district governments
  • Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
  • City or township governments
  • Small businesses
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
  • Independent school districts
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online via given website.

Eligible Country: United States

For more information, please visit Grants.gov.

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