Alliance Cancer Control Program Pilot Project Award

The Alliance offers funds to support one pilot or early career investigator award in the Cancer Control Program (CCP), focusing on cancer prevention, risk assessment, screening, symptom intervention, surveillance, health outcomes research, or specific population groups, including minority and underserved, older adult, or adolescent and young adult populations. The purpose of these awards is to generate preliminary data that will lead to Alliance protocols. Funds are available from the Alliance NCORP Research Base grant, which is supported by the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) and are available for projects that can be completed within one year.

Early career investigators are strongly encouraged to apply and may apply for either a pilot award or an early career investigator award. Early career investigator applicants may hold either an instructor or assistant professor position within their institution and must be within 10 years of their first faculty appointment as of February 1, 2024. Post-doctoral fellows must maintain their fellowship for the entire one-year award period. Each early career investigator award applicant must work with a mentor throughout that time, allocating protected time to engage in training activities and conduct a research project in the field of cancer prevention and control (as described above). Early career investigator award applicants must also include a 1-page detailed training plan.

Applicants, their respective institutions and mentors (if applicable) must be Alliance members, and applicants must be a member of an Alliance CCP committee. Interested applicants must submit a completed elibility form to confirm institutional and individual Alliance membership, as well as CCP committee membership.

Eligible applicants will be invited to submit an application in the form of a 3-5 page concept to conduct a CCP pilot clinical trial. Proposals should be written using 11-point (or larger) font in either Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype or Georgia typeface (black font color) with at least 0.5-inch margins on all sides. Early career investigators may include one additional page with a detailed description of training activities.

The concept should follow the following format: 

  • Title page (include address, phone number, and preferred email address for contact PI; include email address for all Co-PIs, type of award applying for – pilot or early career) (not included in page limit)
    • Early career investigators should include this information for their mentor, too.
  • Background (include rationale and significance)
  • Study objectives
  • Study plan (include schema and eligibility criteria)
  • Data analysis plan
  • Feasibility (provide evidence that study can reach accrual goal within 12 months of the start of funding)
  • Description of how this pilot study will lead to an Alliance protocol in the future
  • Description of research environment
  • References (not included in page limit)
  • For early career investigators only:
    • Detailed description of training activities (limit 1 page, and is included in 6-page limit; failure to provide adequate description will negatively affect score)
    • Letter of support from the mentor committing time to mentor the applicant

In addition to the concept, applications should include a biographical sketch of the PI(s) and mentor (if applicable), summary of Other Support for the PI(s) and mentor (if applicable), and a budget (following the PHS 398 budget format, including the Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period AND the Checklist Form page) that may request up to $150,000 in total costs (including institutional indirect costs) over an 18-month period with a budget justification. Awardees must budget for and attend at least one Alliance Group meeting to present the results of their research. Funds not to exceed 10% may be requested for early career investigator PI salary support; however, funds cannot be used for PI (or co-investigator) salary support or salary support for Alliance Central Office staff.

Applications that propose to conduct the pilot trial as a multi-institutional study (rather than as a single institution study), include an NCORP community or minority/ underserved community site and have the potential to become a future Alliance protocol will be given highest priority. Note: These pilot studies will not be considered Alliance protocols, and as such, will not be assigned a protocol number or be eligible for cancer control credits/reimbursements or per-case payments for the participating site(s).

Approved projects will be funded with an anticipated budget start date and a budget end date.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their proposal to their local IRB for approval at the time the application is submitted to the Alliance CCP for review to reduce time to activation, if funded.  If the study is not activated within the first 12 months after funding is awarded, the study will be shut down.

If the submitted application is not adherent to the requirements described above or if the submission is late, it will not be reviewed.

Questions about the application process should be addressed to Jill Oliveri, DrPH, at or 614-293-8174.

Past Recipients

  • Sagar Sardesai, MD; Jennifer Vaughn, MD; and Maryam Lustberg, MD (The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center)
    "Episodic Future Thinking: A Behavioral Intervention to Promote Weight Loss in Breast Cancer Survivors"


  • Kevin Cassel, DrPH, MPH (Hawaii Minority/Underserved NCORP)
    "Improving Quality of Life for Colon Cancer Patients and Their Caregivers"


  • Audrey Calderwood, MD, MS (Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center)
    "Non-invasive Stool Testing (FIT) for Surveillance of Colonic Neoplasia in Older Adults”
  • Tanya M. Wildes, MD, MSCI (Washington University School of Medicine)
    ”Adherence to Lenalidomide in Older Adults with Multiple Myeloma”


  • Rachel Freedman, MD (Dana-Farber)
    “‘ADVANCE’ (A Pilot Trial) ADjuVANt Chemotherapy in the Elderly: Developing and Evaluating Lower-Toxicity Chemotherapy Options for Older Patients with Breast Cancer”
  • Nathan Staff, MD and Charles Loprinzi, MD (Mayo Clinic)
    ”A Pilot Trial of Fingolimod for Prevention or Treatment of Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy”
  • Lisa Yee, MD (City of Hope) and Maryam Lustberg, MD (Ohio State)
    “Curcumin for Breast Cancer Survivors with Aromatase Inhibitor-induced Joint Arthropathy: A Randomized Double-blinded Controlled Pilot Study”


  • Kathleen Lyons, ScD, Andrew Ray, PhD and David Finley, MD (Norris Cotton Cancer Center)
    "A remotely supervised exercise program for lung cancer patients undergoing chemoradiation"
  • Allison Quick, MD and Maryam Lustberg, MD (Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center)
    "Fractional CO2 laser therapy for survivors of gynecologic malignancies"


  • Aminah Jatoi, MD (Mayo Clinic)
    "Lipids to prevent carboplatin hypersensitivity reactions"
  • Rudolph Navari, MD, PhD (Northern Indiana Oncology Associates)
    "Olanzapine for the treatment of chronic nausea and/or vomiting, unrelated to chemotherapy or radiation, in advanced cancer patients: A pilot, dose-finding trial"
  • Nitin Pagedar, MD and Richard Hoffman, MD (University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine)
    "Supporting head and neck cancer survivors in making shared decisions for lung cancer screening"


  • William Wood, MD, MPH (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
    ”Assessing physical fitness in cancer patients with cardiopulmonary exercise testing and wearable data generation: An Alliance pilot study proposal”


  • Arti Gaur, PhD and Konstantin Dragnev, MD (Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center)
    "MicroRNAs as biomarkers of treatment efficacy and toxicity in gioblastoma patients"
  • Aminah Jatoi, MD (Mayo Clinic) and Kendrith Rowland, MD (Carle Clinic)
    "Curcumin + piperine for ureteral stent-induced symptoms in older cancer patients:  A pilot study to derive a safe, optimal biological dose"
  • Hyung Kim, MD (Cedars Sinai Medical Center)
    "Cholesterol lowering intervention for prostate cancer active surveillance"