Since its signing, the LAF has been engaged in discussions and planning regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (more commonly referred to as the Stimulus Package) and how it will impact cancer. We have been working with Administration officials and federal agencies to advocate that the be money spent responsibly and invested in programs that will advance the fight against cancer.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is expected to receive approximately $1.2 billion that will need to be spent by September 30, 2010. They are currently working on a plan to fund programs that can meet the 2010 deadline. This is particularly challenging for the NCI and other scientific institutions because new research projects require planning, development, and review by experts for scientific merit- a process that can take months to sometimes over a year to accomplish. And the projects also need to be evaluated for safety and ethics issues, particularly if the research involves humans, such as in clinical trials research. Additionally, most research grants last 3-5 years. However, projects funded by the recovery act will need to be accomplished in an accelerated timeline of about 2 years. And finally, all the projects need to be overseen by NCI staff and all the money from the recovery act needs to be accounted separately from the non-recovery act funds. All of these challenges are trying to be addressed by the NCI in their plans for the recovery funds.
To meet the requirements of the recovery act, the NCI and the other institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are working on a plan to direct the funding into three different program areas. The first area will be to award grants to researchers who have already applied and received a meritorious review, but were unable to be funded by the NCI because of the previous payline. These grants will be reviewed by NCI staff to ensure they can be accomplished in two years. The second area of funding will be supplements to existing programs already funded by the NCI. Researchers will have the opportunity to apply for additional funds that will help expand an already existing program. And the third area is what is called the NIH Challenge Awards. These are new projects that the NIH feels address specific knowledge gaps, new technologies, or research areas that can benefit from ?jumpstart funds? and be accomplished in 2 years.
We plan to stay engaged with the NCI, the NIH, and the Obama Administration as the recovery act funds are allocated. The recovery act requires that all the funds be tracked separately. You can monitor where the various agency funds are being spent at the following links: