Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) -- Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) -- Idea Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The FY20 PRCRP Idea Award supports innovative, untested, high-risk/ potentially high-reward concepts, theories, paradigms, and/or methods in cancer research that are relevant to active duty Service members, Veterans, other military beneficiaries, and the American public. Emphasis is on exposures, conditions, or circumstances that are unique to the military, disproportionately represented in a military beneficiary population, or may affect force readiness. Cancers or circumstances with cancer risk that may affect the Service members’ support system (military families) are of special importance for total mission readiness. The advancement of knowledge in cancer research, patient care, and/or treatment options in the Military Health System (MHS) is critical to active duty Service members, Veterans, other military beneficiaries, and the American public. 

The Idea Award is not intended to support a logical progression of an already established research project. The proposed research should be innovative. A key characteristic of this funding opportunity is innovation. Innovative research may introduce a new paradigm, challenge existing paradigms, look at existing problems from new perspectives, or exhibit other highly creative qualities. Incremental advances, the next logical step, or switching a model system from one cancer to another cancer is not considered innovative. The proposed research project should include a well-formulated, testable hypothesis based on strong scientific rationale and study design. It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (PI) to select the funding opportunity that is most appropriate for the research proposed. For studies with strong preliminary data that support the next step in research with potential to impact patient outcomes, please consider the FY20 PRCRP Impact Award (W81XWH-20-PRCRP-IPA)

• Pre-Application Deadline: May 14, 2020
• Invitation to Submit an Application: June 2020
• Application Submission Deadline: August 27, 2020

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

To be considered for funding, applications for the FY20 PRCRP Idea Award must address at least one of the FY20 PRCRP Topic Areas as directed by Congress. Congressional language for the FY20 PRCRP provides funds for research into cancers not addressed in the breast, kidney, lung, pancreatic, prostate, ovarian, rare cancer, and melanoma research programs. Research applications in the areas of breast, kidney, lung (excluding mesothelioma), prostate, pancreatic, rare cancer, ovarian cancer, or melanoma will not be accepted. The inclusion of the individual Rare Cancer Research Program shall not prohibit the PRCRP from funding the below mentioned cancers or cancer subtypes that may be rare by definition. The FY20 PRCRP Topic Areas are listed below.

• Bladder cancer • Blood cancers • Brain cancer • Colorectal cancer • New for FY20: Esophageal cancer • New for FY20: Head and Neck cancer • Immunotherapy1 • Liver cancer • Mesothelioma • New for FY20: Metastatic cancers • Neuroblastoma • Pediatric brain tumors • Pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancers2 • Stomach cancer 

For research funded under the FY20 PRCRP Topic Area metastatic cancers research proposed must be targeted to cancer that has spread from its original location to another place in the body, representing what is known as stage III and stage IV cancer diagnoses. While recent research has revealed that there is a genetic basis for susceptibility or resistance to metastasis, more research is needed to develop a comprehensive understanding of this complex process. Applications to the metastatic cancer topic area should focus on the process of metastasis and not the cancer type (i.e., an agnostic interrogation of the process of metastasis). All research funded under the FY20 PRCRP must follow Congressional language (i.e., prohibited cancers).

Eligibility Requirements

To be named as the PI on application, the PI must have a faculty-level appointment or (equivalent). An investigator may be named as the PI on only one FY20 PRCRP Idea Award pre-application.



Amount Description

The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY20 PRCRP Idea award will not exceed $500,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Funding Type





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

External Deadline

May 14, 2020