Posted May 28, 2020

As Melanoma Awareness Month comes to a close the Melanoma Research Program (MRP) has geared up for a fantastic year with new funding opportunities to fill gaps in melanoma research and patient outcomes. The MRP was established with a $10 Million (M) appropriation in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 when Congressional leaders acknowledged that melanoma diagnoses are increasing amongst active duty Service members and that melanoma is the fifth most common cancer among Veterans. The U.S. Congress encouraged the Department of Defense to continue efforts to invest in melanoma research ‘given the extreme and harsh conditions Service members face in theater and the rise of this aggressive and frequently deadly form of cancer’. For FY20, Congress appropriated $20 M for the MRP to prevent melanoma initiation and progression through earlier intervention to enhance mission readiness for U.S. military personnel and to diminish the disease burden on Service members, Veterans, and the American public. To this end, the MRP allocated a portion of its investment strategy for specific gaps in melanoma research, including bioengineering approaches to address diagnostics, high-risk markers, dormancy, and metastasis (Technology Development Partnership Award); and supporting mid-career researchers to conduct impactful melanoma research (Mid-Career Accelerator Award).

Technology Development Partnership Award (TDPA): The TDPA encourages investigations into emerging technologies to assist in the detection, diagnosis, prognosis, and ultimately treatment of melanoma. The intent of the TDPA is to foster collaboration between biomedical researchers and physical scientists (e.g., bioengineering, computational science, imaging science, and bioinformatics). The TDPA will spur progress in the development of computational approaches, bioinformatics, devices, or knowledge based products or outcomes, especially for diagnostics approaches, high-risk marker discovery, cancer dormancy investigations, and metastatic staging. By bringing together researchers from biomedical and physical sciences the MRP hopes to advance research in this specialty area through multidisciplinary convergent scientific approaches. The TDPA offers $700,000 in total direct costs for 3 years to study gaps in bioengineering that may lead to an impact in melanoma research and patient outcomes. Investigators with faculty level appointments are encouraged to apply to the TDPA.

Mid-Career Accelerator Award (MCAA): The MCAA presents an opportunity for mid-career investigators to obtain funding ($700,000 in total direct costs for 3 years) to perform impactful research that will accelerate their career to become leaders in the melanoma research community. The MRP recognizes gaps in career development especially at the mid-career level beyond early career stage but prior to establishment of longevity in the field of melanoma. The Principal Investigator for the MCAA must be an independent, mid-career researcher, or physician-scientist at the level of Assistant or Associate Professor or equivalent being at least 7 years or more from their first faculty appointment. The goal of the MCAA is to enhance the ability of mid-career investigators to progress in their research and in their career. With this as the focus, the MCAA requires the investigator to include a Continuity Development Plan to demonstrate a strategy to further develop their career. Strategies for career growth should include plans to collaborate with leaders in the melanoma field, targeted career milestones, approaches to expand the investigator’s knowledge base, putting the gained knowledge into usable action in the field of melanoma, planning to obtain and build career viability, and expanding funding with potential research outcomes. For the MRP this will strengthen the research community, expanding it and ensuring continuity for the future of melanoma research.

FY20 MRP funding opportunities including the TDPA, MCAA as well as the Idea Award, the Team Science Award, and the Translational Research Award with Collaborative Option may be found here:

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Last updated Friday, September 11, 2020