Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs -- Breast Cancer Research Program -- Breakthrough Award -- Level 3

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The intent of the Breakthrough Award is to support promising research that has high potential to lead to or make breakthroughs in breast cancer. The critical components of this award mechanism are:

Impact: Research supported by the Breakthrough Award will have the potential for a major impact and accelerate progress toward ending breast cancer. The impact may be near-term or long-term, but must move beyond a minor advancement and have the potential to lead to a new approach that is fundamentally better than interventions already approved or in clinical development. Applications are expected to identify the breast cancer patients or at-risk individuals who would ultimately benefit from the proposed research.

Research Scope: The Breakthrough Award is structured with four different funding levels. The levels are designed to support major (but not all) stages of research that will lead to clinical application. Each level has a defined research scope. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) to select the level that aligns with the scope of the proposed research. The funding level should be selected based on the research scope defined in the Program Announcement, and not on the amount of the budget. An application that does not meet the intent of the funding level selected will not be recommended for funding, even if it might meet the intent of a different funding level.

The current Program Announcement discusses the Breakthrough Award Level 3. Funding Levels 1, 2, and 4 are available under other Program Announcements (W81XWH-19-BCRPBTA12-2 for Levels 1 and 2 and W81XWH-19-BCRP-BTA4-2 for Level 4). The PI is strongly encouraged to review the research scopes defined under each funding level as described in the corresponding Breakthrough Award Program Announcements before submitting the preapplication.

Funding Level 3: Advanced translational studies with a high degree of project readiness. Where relevant, proof of availability of and access to necessary data, human samples, cohort(s) and/or critical reagents must be provided. If the proposed research would ultimately require U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) involvement, applications must demonstrate availability of and access to clinical reagents (e.g., therapeutic molecules) and patient population(s). Applications must state a realistic timeline for near-term clinical investigation. Small-scale clinical trials (e.g., first in human, Phase I/Ib) may be appropriate.  

• Pre-Application Deadline: June 26, 2019
• Invitation to Submit an Application: August 2019
• Application Submission Deadline:  Sep. 25, 2019

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Considering the current breast cancer landscape and the BCRP’s mission, all FY19 BCRP Breakthrough Award Level 3 applications must address at least one of the following overarching challenges unless adequate justification for exception is provided.*

• Prevent breast cancer (primary prevention) • Identify determinants of breast cancer initiation, risk, or susceptibility • Distinguish deadly from non-deadly breast cancers • Conquer the problems of overdiagnosis and overtreatment • Identify what drives breast cancer growth; determine how to stop it • Identify why some breast cancers become metastatic • Determine why/how breast cancer cells lie dormant for years and then re-emerge; determine how to prevent lethal recurrence • Revolutionize treatment regimens by replacing them with ones that are more effective, less toxic, and impact survival • Eliminate the mortality associated with metastatic breast cancer

Eligibility Requirements

Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent) are eligible to submit an application. An eligible PI, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or citizenship status, must be employed by, or affiliated with, an eligible organization.



Amount Description

The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY19 BCRP Breakthrough Award Funding Level 3 award will not exceed $3M for a single PI or $4M if applying under the Partnering PI Option. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Funding Type





Medical - Translational

External Deadline

June 26, 2019