April 29, 2016 — The Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) is encouraging researchers to apply for competitive grants totaling $200,000 over two years for projects that leverage the unique opportunities afforded by advances in “big data” analytics in radiation oncology. Letters of intent are due in July, with awards to be announced in December.
“Big data approaches may advance quality improvement in our field by helping identify links between factors such as patient or tumor characteristics and outcomes, ranging from positive treatment responses to dosimetric uncertainties or outright errors,” said ROI President Deborah A. Kuban, M.D., FASTRO. “These grants are designed to support innovative research with the potential for real-world impact on patient care.”
Eligible projects will focus on improving quality in radiation therapy (RT) by impacting any aspect of the radiation oncology process that could benefit from a big data approach, with preference for proposals that address the highest impact research questions for the field, inform policy development and/or enhance outcomes in cancer treatment.
Special consideration will be given to proposals with an emphasis on identifying and analyzing data sources from the multiple sectors that provide care for patients receiving RT. The goal is developing measures of quality assurance and quality improvement that span a variety of care providers. To this end, applicant teams that include a combination of physicists, dosimetrists, doctors, nurses, allied medical personnel and/or other employees are highly encouraged.
Sample projects illustrated in the Request for Proposal (RFP) include big data analyses of the measures most important to cancer patients receiving RT, such as toxicities and patient satisfaction, and large-scale examinations of patient records to determine, for example, potential benefactors of more active symptom management approaches or increased image guidance. Projects must draw on existing datasets, such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare databases, rather than use the funding to create or develop new registries or datasets.
Applicants must submit a letter of intent by July 8, 2016 and a full project proposal by Sept. 16, 2016, for a research project to be completed by December 2018. Awards will be announced in December 2016, following peer review and scoring of completed proposals.
Eligible applicants include individuals from institutions and organizations in the radiation oncology community who have completed post-doctoral training and are not enrolled in residency or fellowship programs; research consortia; and vendors or individuals from institutions or organizations with expertise and qualifications needed for specified research.
Each completed proposal will be judged by a minimum of five reviewers. Criteria for evaluation of scientific and technical merit include overall impact, significance, approach, innovation, investigators, research environment, and budget.
For more information: www.roinstitute.org