Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) -- Melanoma Research Program -- Idea Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The FY23 MRP Idea Award supports innovative, untested, exploratory, high-risk/potentially high-reward concepts, theories, paradigms, and/or methods that address at least one of the FY23 MRP Focus Areas in Section II.A.1.

The intent of the Idea Award is to generate novel research avenues for investigation; therefore, novelty and innovation should be key aspects of the proposed research. Research supported by the Idea Award must introduce a new paradigm, challenge existing paradigms, look at existing problems from new perspectives, or exhibit other highly creative qualities. The proposed project can be exploratory, hypothesis-driven, or hypothesis-generating research but must be based on a strong scientific rationale and a well-developed study design and plan of analysis.

The Idea Award is not intended to expand or extend previously published findings or continue a line of research already established in the applicant’s laboratory. Incremental advances, the next logical step, or merely switching the object or method of inquiry from one cancer to another cancer is not considered innovative. The expected outcome of research supported by this award is the generation of robust preliminary data to be used as a foundation for future melanoma-focused research projects.

• Required Pre-Application Deadline: July 10, 2023
• Application Submission Deadline: Sep. 22, 2023

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The MRP is seeking to support research that aims to inhibit melanoma earlier in the disease progression to prevent metastasis, reduce suffering, and increase survival. To be considered for funding, applications for the FY23 MRP Idea Award must address at least one of the following FY23 MRP Focus Areas.

Prevention: The MRP challenges the research community to expand the concept of melanoma prevention to include improving detection and monitoring capabilities, as well as inhibiting the initiation of melanoma, early dissemination, the emergence from tumor dormancy, and the development of metastases. The FY23 MRP Focus Areas that encourage research into the role of prevention throughout the disease process are: • Identify and understand risk factors and biomarker determinants for melanoma, including rare subtypes. • Develop prediction and surveillance tools for distinguishing patient populations and/or early tumors at risk for second primary, recurrence, metastasis, and/or treatment toxicity. • Develop new tools for the detection of melanoma, which includes easily accessible technology (beyond the dermoscope) for primary care physicians, dermatologists, oncologists, and/or pathologists. • Understand how precursor lesions evolve, and/or how environmental/endogenous factors influence melanomagenesis and/or early dissemination. • Identify how the tumor microenvironment and/or microbiome impacts tumor initiation, response to therapy, progression, recurrence, and/or dormancy. • Delineate the cellular and/or molecular mechanisms that influence metastatic spread (e.g., site-specific adaptations), recurrence, and/or dormancy. • Develop new preclinical models of melanomagenesis, early dissemination, and progression that more faithfully represent the disease progression observed in humans.

Rare melanomas: Rare melanoma subtypes (e.g., uveal, acral, mucosal, pediatric melanomas) can have distinct characteristics compared to cutaneous melanoma, which makes up the majority of melanoma diagnoses. This has led to a variety of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment challenges. Furthermore, rare melanomas are less well-studied than cutaneous melanoma, resulting in a dearth of knowledge across the entire cancer research spectrum. The following FY23 MRP Focus Area encourages research relevant to rare melanoma research and patient care: • Address unmet needs across the entire cancer research spectrum (biology, etiology, prevention, early diagnosis and detection, prognosis, treatment, and survivorship) for rare melanomas.

Survivorship: Increasing availability of effective treatment options for advanced melanoma over the last decade means that patients are living longer. This has created a need to address the long-term effects of treatment toxicities, fertility issues, and the overall quality of life of patients living with melanoma. The following FY23 MRP Focus Area encourages research relevant to these important survivorship issues: • Address the physical and psychological impacts of a melanoma diagnosis, symptom trajectories, adverse effects of treatment, and other outcomes that affect individuals with melanoma and their family members.

Eligibility Requirements

To be named as the PI on the application, the investigator must be at or above the level of Postdoctoral Fellow or equivalent. PIs new to the melanoma field are encouraged. 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 FY23 MRP Idea Award should not exceed $500,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty
Post Doctoral Fellows


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

July 10, 2023