Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs -- Breast Cancer Research Program -- Innovator Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The Innovator Award supports visionary individuals who have demonstrated exceptional creativity, innovative work, and paradigm-shifting leadership in any field including, but not limited to, breast cancer. The Innovator Award will provide these individuals with the funding and freedom to pursue their most novel, visionary, high-risk ideas that could accelerate progress to ending breast cancer.

Because the intent of the Innovator Award mechanism is to recognize these remarkably creative and innovative visionary individuals, rather than projects, the central feature of the award is the innovative contribution that the Principal Investigator (PI) can make toward ending breast cancer. The PI should have a record of challenging the status quo, shifting paradigms by changing a field of research or approach to patient care, exhibiting high levels of creativity, and demonstrating promise for continued innovation in future work. These rare individuals will be able to articulate a vision for ending breast cancer that challenges current dogma and demonstrates an ability to look beyond tradition and convention. The PI is also expected to be established in their field and have demonstrated success at forming and leading effective partnerships and collaborations. To further the development of innovative individuals and spark the generation of novel ideas, applications are required to incorporate the mentoring of promising junior investigators.

Experience in breast cancer research is not required; however, the application must focus on breast cancer, and the PI must maintain a 50% dedication of his/her full-time professional effort during the award period to breast cancer research. This professional effort in breast cancer research can be through a combination of this award and other current support. Individuals from other disciplines who will apply novel concepts to breast cancer are encouraged to submit. 


• Required Pre-Application Deadline: March 13, 2020
• Invitation to Submit an Application: April 2020
• Application Submission Deadline:  June 24, 2020

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Considering the current breast cancer landscape and the BCRP’s mission, all FY20 BCRP Innovator Award 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

PIs must be at or above the level of Associate Professor (or equivalent) as of the application submission deadline. Previous recipients of the BCRP Innovator Award are ineligible. The PI must maintain a 50% dedication of their full-time professional effort during the award period to breast cancer research. 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 FY20 BCRP Innovator Award will not exceed $7M. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Funding Type





Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

March 13, 2020