By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

The Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program over the next four years will grant up to $12 million through the Innovator Awards program to scientists researching breast cancer.

The grant opportunity is open to academic, government or private sectors and includes any area of research such as the biological and physical sciences, computer sciences, social sciences, philosophy, economics, mathematics, humanities and engineering.

¿We¿re really trying to look for people who¿ve had a history of breakthrough ideas of innovation without regard to whether they are academic, government or industry or other forms of service or nonprofits,¿ said U.S. Army Col. Kenneth Bertram, director of the managing organization. ¿It really is going to come down to what their history is, combined with what their idea is and how are they going to bring that into play.¿

The program allows for about $3 million per individual or institution over the four-year duration, with grants handled by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command at Fort Detrick, Md.

¿We¿re hoping to gain new perspectives from scientists, engineers, sociologists, economists and others to rapidly advance the fight against breast cancer,¿ Bertram said. ¿We are trying to provide a large quantity of money that basically will enable people to have the freedom to sit back and think of innovative ways to attack breast cancer ¿ and once they¿ve had time to do that ¿ they can put those ideas into play.¿

Bertram told BioWorld Today that the intention is to award four grants. However, ¿if we have five or six proposals that are really outstanding, our committee could shift money from one area to another to support the strongest applications,¿ he said.

Letters of intent must be submitted no later than 4 p.m. May 30 and the final application deadline is 4 p.m. June 13. Recipients will be notified by the end of the year.

The Breast Cancer Research Program is a partnership that brings together the military, scientists, physicians and breast cancer survivors to promote research directed toward eradicating breast cancer. It is one of more than 50 Congressional research programs managed by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command office.

The initiative began in fiscal year 1992 to pursue research on breast cancer screening and diagnosis and has since expanded into a broad-based, competitively awarded research program.

Since 1992, grassroots advocacy organizations of the National Breast Cancer Coalition have lobbied Congress to appropriate more than $1 billion in funding for peer-reviewed breast cancer research to be managed by the BCRP. As a result of their efforts, the BCRP has expanded to become second only to the National Cancer Institute in funding of breast cancer research.

Complete information about the award and the application process is available at http://mrmc-rad6.army.mil/bcrp/bcrp2/sect3.htm or by contacting U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, 1077 Patchel St., Ft. Detrick, Frederick, Md. 21702-5024, phone (301) 619-7079.

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