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

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The MRP Melanoma Academy (MA) is a unique, interactive virtual academy providing intensive monitoring, national networking, collaborations, and a peer group for early-career faculty. The overarching goal of the MA is to develop successful, highly productive melanoma researchers in a collaborative research and career development environment.

The MA is a virtual career development and research training platform that consists of Scholars, and their Career Guides (primary mentors) from different institutions, and an Academy Director and Deputy Director The MRP Melanoma Academy Scholar Award is not a traditional career development award; the Scholar is expected to participate in monthly webinars and annual workshops and to communicate and collaborate with other members of the Academy (other Scholars, Career Guides, Director, and Deputy Director) as well as with the advocacy community.

The Academy Leadership members (the Director and the Deputy Director) serve as a resource for the Scholars and Career Guides, assessing the progress of Scholars, and facilitating communication and collaboration among all of the Scholars and Career Guides, as well as with national research and advocacy communities. In addition to fostering scientific development, the Academy, through its Leadership, provides for professional and leadership development of the Scholars to include skills and competencies needed to fund and manage a productive laboratory.

This FY21 program announcement is soliciting Scholars to join the Academy. This award mechanism enables the Scholar (the investigator named as the Principal Investigator [PI] on the application) to pursue a melanoma project that may be basic, translational, and/or clinical research, under the guidance of the Career Guide. The Career Guide is not required to be at the same institution as the Scholar. The Scholar is required to participate in monthly webinars, and the Scholar, with their Career Guide, is required to attend a DOD MRP biennial multi-day Academy workshop. In alternate years, they must also attend a DOD MRP 1-day workshop.

• Required Pre-Application Deadline: June 29, 2021
• Application Submission Deadline: Sep. 28, 2021

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

To be considered for funding, applications for the MRP FY21 Melanoma Academy Scholar Award must address at least one of the following FY21 MRP Focus Areas

  • Identify methods to decrease risk of melanoma development beyond sunscreen and protective clothing.
  • Identify and understand risk factor determinants for melanoma, including variants (e.g., uveal, acral, mucosal melanoma).
  • Identify how the tumor microenvironment (e.g., stromal, immune, microbiome) impact tumor initiation, response to therapy, progression, and dormancy.
  • Understand how precursor lesions and endogenous host factors may lead to melanomagenesis.
  • Develop new decision-making tools for the detection and diagnosis of melanoma that includes easily accessible technology (beyond the dermoscope) for primary care physicians and dermatologists.
  • Develop prediction and surveillance tools for distinguishing patient at risk for recurrence and/or metastasis. Identify biological determinants to differentiate patient populations
  • Understand mechanisms that underlie metastatic spread to different (regional/nodal) sites or the different distant sites of metastasis from acral, mucosal, and uveal melanomas.
  • Delineate the molecular pathways, tumor microenvironment, immune response that influence metastatic spread, recurrence, and/or dormancy. 

Eligibility Requirements


○ Must be within 7 years of terminal degree as of the full application submission deadline.

  • A Statement of Eligibility is required with the submission of the full application.
  • Time spent as a medical resident, clinical training, or on family medical leave is excluded.
  • Time spent as a postdoctoral research fellow is not excluded.

○ May be in a non-tenure track or tenure track position.

○ Must not have a concurrent career-development-like award at the time of this award.

○ Must have an institutional commitment of 50% protected time for melanoma research and Academy activities including participation in monthly webinars.

○ Individuals in a postdoctoral research position (Ph.D.) or clinical fellowship (M.D.), or equivalent at the time of full application are not eligible.



Amount Description

The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY21 Melanoma Academy Scholar Award will not exceed $500,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


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

External Deadline

June 29, 2021