NCI Clinical and Translational Exploratory/Developmental Studies (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)

Funding Agency:
National Institutes of Health

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) supports preclinical and early phase clinical research, as well as correlative studies, directly related to advancements in cancer treatment, diagnosis, prevention, symptom management, or reduction of cancer health disparities. This includes (but is not limited to) development and testing of the following: new molecular agents or biologics for cancer treatment; management strategies for cancer-related symptoms or treatment-related toxicity; cancer screening or diagnostic tools, such as imaging techniques; cancer preventive agents or approaches; predictive and prognostic biomarkers for patient selection or stratification; clinically relevant in vivo or in vitro tumor models (including genetically engineered mouse models, patient-derived xenograft models, organoids, and cell lines); and strategies to address therapeutic outcome disparities among diverse racial/ethnic populations. In addition to novel agents, new treatment strategies may involve repurposed agents or novel combinations of interventions (including radiation), based on established mechanisms of action. Comparative oncology studies in dogs investigating strategies for treatment and diagnosis of human disease are supported as well.

This FOA does not support research that focuses on basic cancer biology (such as studies of cancer-related pathways or molecular mechanisms), late-stage clinical trials, risk assessment studies, epidemiological studies, or studies of behavioral interventions. These applications will be deemed not responsive to this FOA and will not be reviewed (see below for a more detailed description of studies that are not responsive for this FOA).

The R21 mechanism is intended to encourage exploratory and developmental research projects by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of these projects. These studies may involve considerable risk but may lead to breakthroughs in particular areas, or to the development of novel techniques, agents, methodologies, models, or applications that could have a major impact on cancer research (preclinical or clinical).


  • Application Due Date(s): October 20, 2020; February 19, 2021; June 21, 2021; October 20, 2021; February 22, 2022; June 21, 2022
  • AIDS Application Due Date(s): December 18, 2020; March 19, 2021; July 20, 2021; December 17, 2021; March 21, 2022; July 20, 2022

PAR-20-292 Expiration Date July 21, 2022

Agency Website



Amount Description

The combined budget for direct costs for the two-year project period may not exceed $275,000. No more than $200,000 may be requested in any single year.

Funding Type





Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

October 20, 2020