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Innovative, Developmental, and Exploratory Awards (IDEA)

Supporting speculative, exploratory, high-risk/high-reward projects with a primary focus on breast cancer.

Requirements: Applications for this award type should challenge existing paradigms, represent a new direction for the PI and encourage innovation by the incorporation of techniques and approaches not yet well represented in mainstream breast cancer research. We encourage researchers to attempt breakthroughs that, if successful, could be leveraged into more substantial funding. Both established researchers and new investigators (see below) are welcome to apply.

Examples of research not responsive to the IDEA are projects that:

  1. Propose incremental advances for the underlying topic,
  2. Duplicate the aims of completed or funded research to the PI derived from non-breast cancer studies without incorporating detailed breast cancer-specific justification,
  3. Overlap in topic and aims with current grant support to the applicant or
  4. Represent portions of existing grants or are derived from larger, R01-type projects.

To be maximally responsive to the IDEA funding mechanism, the applicant must either be previously trained and have published in breast cancer or collaborate with an established breast cancer researcher.

IDEA applicants are required to explain how the research project is on a “critical path” to substantially advance the topic under investigation.

IDEAs for new investigators: Researchers at a career level beyond postdoctoral training and less than three years as an independent investigator, or entering research from another field, are encouraged to apply for IDEA grants. During the peer review process, the applicant's prior research history and accomplishments will be rated less stringently than for IDEAs from established investigators.

To be responsive and eligible for funding, each applicant must explain how their proposed research addresses one or more of our priority issues.

Project Duration and Budget Caps:

  • 18 months maximum duration
  • Budget cap for total project direct costs is either $100,000 or $150,000 (higher cap is for projects using animal or human participants). Non-UC institutions are entitled to full F&A of the Modified Total Direct Cost base (MTDC); UC institutional F&A is capped at 35% MTDC (not retroactive to prior grants).

The Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted by the deadline in order to be considered. The LOI must:

  • Provide a brief background, rationale or purpose for the project specific to breast cancer in lay terms.
  • Describe a novel, innovative topic and/or approach for the proposed research that is linked to a CBCRP priority issue.
  • Explain how the project is a key portion of the “critical path” from basic knowledge, hypothesis-testing to a practical application specific to breast cancer at either the patient or community level.
  • Show evidence of involvement of advocates. Specifically, name the advocacy organization that you plan to work with on the full application, why the organization is appropriate for your proposed research project and who you have communicated with at that organization. In addition, describe the role of advocate(s) in the project design, implementation, interpretation and dissemination, and attach written documentation (an email is sufficient) from the advocate of a representative of the advocacy organization demonstrating their willingness to explore participating in the research application, should the LOI be approved.

LOI decisions and invitations to submit a full grant application will be communicated to PIs in December.

LOI templates and instructions are available in SmartSimple and on the Application Materials webpage.

Full call for applications (pdf)


We will hold an applicant informational webinar on September 18, 2023 11am-12pm in which we will describe the requirements and application process for the IDEA, Translational Research, Community Research Collaboration and Conference Awards. Register to join the webinar at: