Guidance for Investigators Planning to Submit a Program Project Grant (P01)

POSTED: October 20, 2020

The Research Program Project Grant (P01) supports broadly based, integrated, multi-project research programs that have a major scientific objective or common theme. A program project generally involves organized efforts of relatively large groups of multidisciplinary teams, involving independent investigators who share knowledge and common resources. Each project contributes or is directly related to the common theme of the total research effort, forming a system of research activities directed toward a well-defined research program goal.

  • All NCI P01 applications must be submitted through the active NCI Program Project Applications funding announcement (PAR-20-077).
  • All P01 applications are required to submit an Awaiting Receipt of Application (ARA)*. In addition, DCP strongly recommends a Pre-Submission Meeting.
  • Investigators planning to submit a P01 to DCP are strongly encouraged to follow the planning process outlined by DCP below.
  • Principal investigators (PIs) planning a continuation of an existing P01 also are strongly encouraged to schedule a Pre-Submission Meeting.

P01 Pre-Submission Meeting

Before submitting a P01 application, a Pre-Submission Meeting with NCI-DCP staff is strongly recommended. It is strongly recommended that this Pre-Submission Meeting by teleconference, videoconference, or in person be scheduled 3-7 months prior to the anticipated receipt date. (Standard receipt dates for P01 applications are January 25, May 25, and September 25.) {Although a Pre-Submission Meeting can be scheduled within 3 months of anticipated receipt date, this may not allow for adequate feedback and successful revision of the P01 application. Therefore, PIs will be encouraged to submit for the subsequent receipt date 4 months later.}

The purpose of the P01 Pre-Submission Meeting is:

  • To discuss the overall project and the individual research projects, including the aims and methodology, as well as the administrative core (and shared resource cores, if applicable)
  • For NCI staff to provide guidance on the overall program project, proposed research approach and methodology, and aspects that might raise concern with reviewers
  • To identify and discuss potential weaknesses in the application, and
  • To provide an opportunity for the investigator team to ask questions that they may have related to program or review issues.

The Pre-Submission Meeting will include the investigators, the assigned NCI-DCP Program Directors, staff of other NCI Divisions that are relevant to the P01 projects, staff from the P01 review branch of NCI’s Division of Extramural Activities (DEA), and other identified NCI experts.

PIs are encouraged to have all the various Project Team Leaders and, if practicable, any resource core providers, to present their scientific strategies or services available to the overall Program Project.

Important Note: The DCP Program Director will provide investigators with a summary of the meeting discussion several weeks following the meeting. All feedback provided in the summary and at the Pre-Submission Meeting does not constitute a formal NCI review and should be taken as suggestions only. It is up to the investigators to determine which suggestions to incorporate into their submission.

Materials to Submit Prior to the P01 Pre-Submission Meeting

Two weeks prior to the Pre-Submission Meeting, PIs should submit to the DCP Program Director a brief proposal (4-page maximum) that includes:

  • Brief executive summary of the overall P01 Program Project that includes:
    • The required Administrative Core
    • The unique role of any optional Shared Resource Core(s)
    • Planned coordination and collaboration that reflects interaction and synergy
    • How the P01 Project will be integrated to enable sharing of data and results across projects for greater productivity and scientific progress
    • Investigators’ history of working together
  • Research project titles, specific aims, and brief description of each project (3 minimum)
  • Investigator names and affiliations
    • Biosketches of principal investigators suggested
  • Target submission date

In addition, as a separate document, investigators should provide the estimated proposed budget, including Sub-Total Direct Costs, Total Direct Costs, and Total Costs per year.

Overall P01 Timeline

Please consider the following timeline when planning to submit a P01 application to DCP:

Topic Action Timetable
PIs set up a Pre-Submission Meeting with NCI-DCP program staff 3-7 months before receipt date

If within 3 months, the investigators are encouraged to plan for the subsequent receipt (due) date.
PIs submit Awaiting Receipt of Application (ARA)* request to the DCP Program Director (required for direct costs ≥ $500,000) DCP highly recommends 8 weeks prior to application receipt date.

If the requested amount is much greater than $500,000, the ARA request should be submitted to DCP even earlier.

Per Notices NOT-CA-02-029 and NOT-OD-02-004, this contact should be made during the application development process and no later than 6 weeks before the application is submitted.
PIs submit Letter of Intent to NCI Referral Office using guidance found in active NCI Program Project Applications funding announcement (PAR-20-077) At least 30 days prior to application receipt (due) date
Submission PIs submit P01 Application per instructions in the active NCI Program Project Applications funding announcement (PAR-20-077). By Standard Receipt Dates

Formatting and Submission Guidelines to Consider

There are several important formatting and submission guidelines to consider when preparing and submitting a P01:

  • The application must include at least three Research Projects that share a common central theme, focus and/or objective (not including the cores). Both Administrative and Research Support Cores are allowed.
  • An Administrative Core is required for organizational management, plans for monitoring progress, and coordination and communication within the Program.
  • Applicants may propose one or more Shared Resource Cores for the proposed research if needed. Each Shared Resource Core must provide support and enhance the productivity, cost-effectiveness, and/or research outcome of at least two of the proposed research projects.
  • The page limits and details for preparing an application can be found in the active NCI Program Project Applications funding announcement (PAR-20-077). Additional page limits described in the SF424 Application Guide must be followed.
  • Investigators are encouraged to contact their DCP Program Director at any time for additional guidance.

*NOTE: Separate DCP guidance on submitting the Awaiting Receipt of Application (ARA) is pending. ARA References: