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LCFA/BMS/ILCF Young Investigator Research Grant in Translational Immuno-oncology 

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Funding Opportunity Description

Lung Cancer Foundation of America (“LCFA”) and the International Lung Cancer Foundation (“ILCF”), with financial support from Bristol-Myers Squibb (“BMS”), seek applications for the LCFA/BMS/ILCF Young Investigator Research Grants in Translational Immuno-oncology. LCFA, BMS and ILCF, are committed to advancing innovative lung cancer research with a focus on immunotherapy leading to transformative treatment protocols. To ensure success, we are casting the widest net possible to attract the most creative and originative young investigators and research institutions.

Objectives

The objective of the LCFA/BMS/ILCF Young Investigator Research Grants (“Grants”) is to support research in translational immuno-oncology undertaken by early-career investigators that aim to improve the care and treatment of individuals with lung cancers. Examples though not exclusive, include studies that:

  1. determine predictive features guiding the selection of patients for different immuno-oncology therapies;
  2. focus on the application of immuno-oncology therapies in combination with standard therapies, such as curative-intent strategies in early-stage disease; and
  3. other ways to improve the effectiveness of immuno-oncology therapies or even cure patients with metastatic lung cancer

Studies designed to facilitate care by minimizing treatment side effects are encouraged as well.

Research Focus and Overview

Successful applications submitted for this RFA require a research approach that seeks to make an immediate and relevant impact through immuno-oncology on lung cancer patient care or interpret the results of a clinical trial from a molecular basis as appropriate to help inform decisions in future clinical trials.

ELIGIBILITY: Education and Experience

At the time of application, eligible applicants must meet these criteria: 

  • Be a member of the IASLC. Go to https://www.iaslc.org/membership to join or get more information about IASLC Membership.
    • If selected, the applicant must maintain his/her IASLC membership throughout the duration of the grant.
  • Hold a doctoral degree (including PhD, MD, DO, PharmD, ScD or equivalent).
  • Academic rank should be at the Instructor, Assistant Professor, or Associate Professor or equivalent level. Full professors (or equivalent) are not eligible.
  • May not hold an independent grant of the R21, R01, DOD or comparable type, including project leader on a SPORE or P01.
  • For physicians: be within seven years of completion of residency or fellowship.
  • For laboratory scientists: be within seven years of completion of post-doctoral work.

NOTE: Exceptions to the seven-year criterion (but not academic rank) can be made for those who may have had interruptions in their career. To request an exemption, contact the ILCF (foundation@iaslc.org) prior to submission of the application.

The applicant may not currently be or previously have been:

  • Recipient of an LCFA grant.
  • A Principal Investigator (PI) of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) peer reviewed research grant of at least $125,000 in direct costs per year for a minimum of 3 years. (With the exception of mentored career development grants or grants where the PI is required to be mentored by another investigator).
  • A Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on a NIH competing multi-component research or center grant or cooperative agreement within a P or U series grant (e.g., P01 Program Project Grant, U01 or U19 Research Program
  • A Principal Investigator of a peer-reviewed research grant of at least $125,000 in direct costs per year for a minimum of 3 years from any of the organizations listed in the Organizations with Peer Review Funding Systems at: https://cancercenters.cancer.gov/PoliciesResources/PoliciesResources

The foregoing notwithstanding, the following candidates may be eligible:

  • Individuals who are currently supported by NIH Mentored Career Development (K) Grants.
  • Recipients of ASCO Career Development Grants or mentored career development grants/grants from other organizations.

Grant Structure and Allocation

The Grant will be $100,000 per year for up to each of two years. The second year of support is based on the Grantee demonstrating satisfactory research progress as determined by LCFA/ILCF as well as the availability of funding from LCFA/ILCF. 

No more than 25% of the requested budget for the Grant may be used for a Grantee’s salary and/or fringe benefits. Grant budget may not be used to fund the purchase of permanent equipment.  No indirect costs are provided.  Any unused Grant funds at the conclusion of the study period will be returned to LCFA.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted through the International Lung Cancer Foundation’s online application portal only. To access the application:

  1. Go to the ILCF's online application portal
  2. Login using your IASLC Member Portal Credentials.
    • If you do not know your IASLC Member Portal credentials, first try resetting your password using the "Forgot your password?" link. If that does not work, email membership@iaslc.org for assistance.
  3. Once you have successfully logged in, you will be directed to begin your application.

After initiating an application, you may return to the portal as needed to continue work on tyour application until it is submitted. Applications that have been submitted are no longer editable.

Factors Considered in Evaluating Applications

Projects must be feasible, have strong scientific merit, innovative and relevant to the missions of LCFA and ILCF. The Application should be structured to provide the following:

  • A clear rationale should be given for the experimental design and technical methodologies selected.
  • The hypotheses must be strong and testable and relate to potential clinical applications such as patient monitoring for preventive or therapeutic interventions, the development of new therapeutic strategies or testing of new biomarkers for the identification of patient subsets for specific prevention or treatment approaches.
  • Preliminary data, including relevant animal models or analyses of patient specimens that support the hypotheses’, however, the Applicant need not to have personally generated these preliminary data. 
  • Adequate clinical resources.  The laboratory assays must use specimens from patients receiving defined treatments in medium to large clinical trials such as from phase II or phase III clinical trials. 
  • A description of the methodological approach sufficient for an informed reviewer to judge feasibility.
  • Applications must include a statistical section describing the study design and plans for analyses of data designed to test the hypotheses.
  •  The Application must convey the level of commitment of the institution to the Applicant and the proposed research activities. Applicants must be independent, self-directed researchers for whom their institution must provide independent space and independent resources.
  • Budget and justifications must be included.
  • Three professional references to provide recommendations and ensure the applicant is qualified to fulfill the duties of the proposed project.

Note: LCFA/ILCF is not likely to fund studies undertaken entirely in murine models or cell line xenografts (must use patient biospecimens or PDX’s from local patients).

Peer Review Results of Full Applications

In the first round of review, applications will be reviewed and scored by a sub-committee of the IASLC’s Career Development and Fellowship Committee. Applications are scored using a nine-point rating scale, adapted from the NIH grant scoring rubric.

Based on the scoring from the first round, the finalists will be evaluated by LCFA’s Scientific Advisory Board, who will make the final selections.

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the peer review process by December 15, 2021 for Grant funding to start on or around April 1, 2022.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

The following Terms and Conditions apply to the LCFA/BMS/ILCF Grant application process and the Grant which Terms and Conditions must be confirmed and affirmed fully by the Grantee and his/her institution no later than the commencement date of the Grant Term.

Tobacco Funded Research

LCFA/ILCF will not provide research opportunities or other funding to investigators who have received funding from the tobacco industry or their agencies.

Institutional Commitment

Applicant’s institution must agree to approximately 50% of full-time professional effort for the applicant to dedicate to research.

Authorized Grant Holders

LCFA/ILC Foundation Research Grants go to individuals only and not institutions. No Grant may be held by or transferred to another individual.

Change of Budget

Requests for changes in budget require prior approval by LCFA/ILCF. All requests must be in writing. When requesting a change in budget, the Grantee must indicate: the amount, from what budget-line and to what budget-line the monies are being transferred.  In the case of supply or equipment budget, all items must be itemized. 

Human Subjects

The LCFA/ILCF Grant requires that studies funded involve samples from human subjects with whom the investigator has direct personal contact (the “handshake rule”)

Whenever human subjects are a part of a LCFA/ILCF research funded project, the following documents must be received by LCFA/ILCF no later than the time of Grant notification: 

  • A copy of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and approved patient consent forms.  LCFA/ILCF encourages applicants to submit their projects to the appropriate human subjects IRB at the time of application.
  • Research involving human adult stem cells or use of human fetal tissue requires one copy of the appropriate institutional committee approval.
  • IRB approval and approved patient consent forms must be provided to LCFA/ILCF no later than the time of grant notification. There will be exceptions.

Indemnification

The parties to this RFA shall each assume sole responsibility for its actions regarding any and all claims, losses, and liability arising out of the breach of any of its obligations in this RFA.  In no event shall either party to the RFA be liable for any lost profits, lost savings, consequential, incidental, or special damages, or attorneys’ fees, even if such party has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

First Year Progress Report

An annual progress report must be received within 30 days after the end of the first year of the Grant Term. This report must include a financial disbursement report as well as a full report on the progress made in the first year of the Grant. The reports must be submitted via ILCF’s online portal where they will be reviewed by members of LCFA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Within 30 days of report submission, the SAB will evaluate whether the progress made in the first year is deemed satisfactory, and if so, the second year of funding will be approved, and the quarterly grant payments will continue.

Final Report

A final report must be received within 90 days after the conclusion of the second year of the Grant. The report must be submitted via ILCF’s online portal and will be reviewed by members of the LCFA’s Scientific Advisory Board and members of the ILCF Board of Directors. The final report will include details of the research outcomes and next steps as well as the final financial disbursement report.

Financial Reports

A complete financial disbursement report must be received by LCFA/ILCF within 45 days after the close of the first year of the Grant Term before consideration will be given for the renewal of the Grant for the second year.

At the conclusion of the Grant Term, the Grantee shall submit a complete financial disbursement report covering the entire Grant Term to LCFA/ILCF. LCFA/ILCF. The disbursement report must account for all Grant expenditures during the Grant Term as approved by LCFA/ILCF. Any Grant funds found to have been used for unauthorized expenditures or any unexpended Grant funds, must be returned to LCFA/ILCF, with the disbursement report, within 45 days after the Grant has terminated.

Publications

The results of all funded research must be open and shared. All publications and/or presentations at scientific conferences, meetings, and media interviews based on research conducted from this Grant must include a citation as follows: “With Grant Support from Lung Cancer Foundation of America and International Lung Cancer Foundation.”  Reprints of abstracts, manuscripts, or other articles that reflect research done after Grant acceptance must be submitted to LCFA/ILCF.

A copy of all publications, presentations, abstracts and the like that report research supported by LCFA funds must be submitted to LCFA's Board of Directors and Scientific Review Board at the time of publication. This information will be included as part of the Grantee’s file and will help LCFA educate patients, caregivers, donors and others about the progress of the proposed research.

Renewals

Renewal of the LCFA/ILC Foundation Grant is based on a demonstration of satisfactory progress and availability of funding and is at the discretion of LCFA and ILCF.  Grantees are required to complete a LCFA/ILCF Renewal Application form for each year the Grant is subject to renewal.

Travel Expenditures

The maximum amount of funds expendable for travel is $1,000 per year.

Relationship of Parties

Grants are made to the institutions to support the Grantee and the project set forth in the Grantee’s application. It is understood by all parties to this RFA that this Grant in no way constitutes an employer-employee relationship between the LCFA/ILCF and the Grantee or the Grantee’s institution.

Publicity

LCFA and ILCF will determine the way they will publicize the Grant and the Grantee, subject to the approval of both parties. Standard publicity could include recognition in organization publications, press releases, social media and inclusion in other announcements to the organizations' members and constituents.

Termination

Upon termination of a Grant prior to the end of the Grant Term for any reason and regardless of by whom, LCFA/ILCF must be notified immediately. A final report of expenditures must be submitted within thirty days of the termination together with the refund of any unexpended balance of the Grant proceeds. A final progress report must be submitted at this time including a completed intellectual property form.

Updating Information

LCFA and ILCF request that the Grantee provide any change of address or position or name of Grantee, together with changes in executive or fiscal officers of the institution to maintain an up-to-date database.

Modification to the Grant

Should the Grantee wish to discontinue the project, leave the designated institution, take a leave of absence for any reason, or modify any part of the Grant, the Grantee must seek approval from the LCFA and ILCF in advance. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in immediate termination of the Grant and may jeopardize any future Grants to the institution by the LCFA and ILCF.

 

About LCFA

LCFA’s mission is the dramatic improvement in survivorship of lung cancer patients through the funding of transformative science, with the ultimate goal of curing lung cancer. To accomplish this, LCFA works to raise funds for lung cancer research as well as the national profile of lung cancer in order to substantially increase the support of innovative and groundbreaking research efforts.

About ILCF

The International Lung Cancer Foundation (ILCF) aims to accelerate the pace of thoracic malignancy research, to inspire researchers to focus their careers on lung cancer, and to reduce the worldwide lung cancer mortality rate. Established in 2014, the ILCF has provided over $5 million towards global lung cancer research. Through the power of collaboration, support from Pharma, and generous individual donors, the ILCF inspires hope through research.

With these new grants, LCFA and ILCF will have partnered to grant more than $5 million in innovative and groundbreaking lung cancer research grants.

Questions

Any questions about this RFA may be directed to foundation@iaslc.org