Alliance for Clinical trials in oncology Foundation
special projects allocation




The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation accepts proposals to support research focused on addressing high-priority research areas defined during the Alliance Scientific Strategic Retreat every two years.


The Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology is a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research consortium whose mission is to reduce the impact of cancer by uniting a broad community of scientists and clinicians from many disciplines, committed to discovering, validating, and disseminating effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Alliance achieves this purpose by:

  • conducting high-quality multidisciplinary cancer control, prevention, and treatment trials that engage a comprehensive research network;
  • furthering our understanding of the biological basis of the cancer process and its treatment, from discovery to validation, to clinical practice;
  • providing a scientific and operational infrastructure for innovative clinical and translational research in academic and community settings.

Every two years, Alliance leaders participate in a scientific strategic retreat, during which a number of research priorities are defined. The goal of these priorities is to focus innovation by Alliance scientific committees on a few strategic areas, with the expectation that attention to these priorities will challenge researchers to move beyond what is currently possible and accelerate the development of new treatments, cancer control approaches, and cancer care delivery results. These strategic priorities generally focus upon fostering engagement of new disciplines or technologies relevant to Alliance research, or upon work to improve the design and implementation of Alliance clinical trials. 

Alliance Strategic Priorities announced in November 2020 are the following:

  1. Address health disparities by increasing accrual of minority and vulnerable population members to Alliance research protocols, and by assessing the impact of the Social Determinants of Health (including financial toxicity) on outcomes in Alliance trials.
  2. Expand Alliance portfolio in implementation science (including de-implementation)
    :::: Use implementation science approaches to understand the optimal ways to utilize virtual technology and other responses to COVID-19 to improve clinical trials execution
    :::: Incorporate implementation science approaches to improve clinical outcomes for cancer patients
  3. Develop methods to enhance awareness of and effective utilization of data and banked biospecimens
    :::: Oversight and prioritization, enhanced bioinformatics participation, data harmonization; don’t forget PRO, QOL, and other data generated by secondary analyses, feedback to prospective study design
  4. Expand Alliance capability to support molecular, biomarker-driven studies, including imaging, such as:
    :::: Oversight and prioritization, additional funding, biostatistics/bioinformatics support, productive partnerships, cross-trials harmonization of data (including consent, PROs, QOL), and prospective biospecimen collection
  5. Develop and implement a strategy to engage and support early-career investigators from all relevant disciplines with particular emphasis on researchers from URM groups
    :::: Increase opportunities for participation in Alliance research that bring value to early-career investigators
    :::: Include leadership development and broadening recognition of leadership success beyond conventional academic credit

Proposal Requirements

  • Principal Investigator (contact PI) must be an Alliance member in good standing
  • Proposal must address one of the five current Alliance Strategic Priorities
  • Proposal Specific Aims must be achievable in a two-year timeframe, and if selected for funding, it is expected that the work will be completed within two years following funding
  • If the proposed work involves NCI-supported research, approval by the appropriate NCI committees may be required before final approval and funding of the project

Proposal Format

            Specific Aims:  1-page maximum
            Research Plan:  2-3 pages maximum
            Relevance to Alliance Strategic Priority:  1-page maximum
            Qualifications of Research Team:  1-page maximum
            Sustainability Strategy:  1-page maximum

Review Criteria

        The following questions will be used by the review panel to assess the suitability of the proposed work and to assign priority for funding:

  • How well does the proposal address the relevant Strategic Priority?
  • Is the Alliance an appropriate environment for execution of the proposed research?
  • Does the work involve collaboration across two or more Alliance institutions?
  • Is the work achievable within the two-year timeframe?
  • Is the research team qualified to conduct the proposed research?
  • If the end result of the research is to set up a new research initiative or program, how will this new effort be sustained once the initial funding is completed?

Funding Source, Funding Amounts, and Reporting Requirements

The funding for this RFP is provided by the Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation whose purpose is to support the mission of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. A total of $1,000,000 is allocated for this RFP. Individual proposal budgets are limited to a maximum total cost of $200,000, of which no more than 15% can be allocated to indirect costs. Proposals for projects requiring less than the maximal amount are also welcome.

Successful applicants will be required to provide yearly progress reports to the Alliance Foundation, detailing scientific progress and funding allocation.

Proposal Due Date and Submission Information

Proposal submission deadlines have passed for this year.
For more information, contact:
Suzanne George, MD
c/o Katie Kamb
Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation

Year Two Recipients | Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation Special Project Allocation

  • Alvaro J. Alencar, MD, University of Miami: "Health disparities in lymphoma: Analysis of a critical and often overlooked prognostic marker"
  • James L. Chen, MD, Ohio State University: "Alliance Harmonized and Unified Biodashboard (HUB) Initiative"
  • Wendy L. Frankel, MD, Ohio State University: "Automatic detection of tumor buds in colorectal cancer patients from H&E images"
  • Andrew Hantel, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: "Development and piloting of a novel provider feedback intervention to improve clinical trial and biobank enrolment diversity"
  • Maryam B. Lustberg, MD, MPH, Ohio State University: "PIN ALLIANCE: Power in numbers using harmonized GWAS and toxicity data"

Year One Recipients | Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation Special Project Allocation

  • Ya-Chen Tina Shih, PhD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Tina W. F. Yen, MD, MS, Medical College of Wisconsin: "The effect of preoperative breast MRI on costs among women with breast cancer: an economic analysis of Alliance A011104"
  • Terrance M. Williams, MD, PhD, and David P. Carbone, MD, PhD, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center: "T cell receptor sequencing to predict responders and nonresponders to chemoradiation and atezolizumab for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer"
  • Federico Innocenti, MD, PhD, and Naim Rashid, PhD, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: "Machine learning prognostic and predictive analyses for metastatic colorectal cancer – C80405"
  • Ellen M. Lavoie Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Michigan and David Zahrieh, PhD, Mayo Clinic: "Patient-targeted ePRO educational resource (ePRO-E) to increase ePRO uptake within Alliance clinical trials"
  • Sumithra Mandrekar, PhD, Mayo Clinic and David E. Kozono, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital: "Streamlining tumor response criteria using iRECIST in Alliance immune-oncology trials"