Research Coding FAQs

NCI Research Coding and Reporting FAQs
Provides an overview of the scientific coding process and how this process contributes to NCI's mission.

Example Searches

The NCI Funded Research Portfolo's search function allows you to search the database using a number of criteria. On the search form, some of these criteria are designated by fields that already have preset values. Fields that are not relevant to your search can be left blank. The search function is not case sensitive.

When you have finished entering values for each of your search criteria, click the Search button and your request will be processed. If you would like to erase all of your entries and start over, click the Reset link.

To search for grants/contracts in Maryland and have a Cancer Site/Type equal to "Brain":

  1. Select Maryland from the State, Territory, or Province drop-down menu
  2. Select Brain from the Cancer Site/Type drop-down menu.
  3. Click the Search button.

To search for "Breast Cancer" across all fields and the NCI Division equal to "DCEG":

  1. Select Breast Cancer from the Cancer Site/Type drop-down menu.
  2. Select DCEG from the Division drop-down menu.
  3. Click the Search button.

To search for Cancer Activity equal to "Biometry" and Funding Mechanism equal to "P30":

  1. Select Biometry from the Cancer Activity drop-down menu.
  2. Select P30 from the Funding Mechanism drop-down menu.
  3. Click the Search button.

Search Criteria

Cancer Activity

The NCI Cancer Activity is a categorization of a cancer specialty used to identify the major cancer emphasis of a grant.

Common Scientific Outline (CSO)

The Common Scientific Outline (CSO) is a coding system used by public and private organizations in the US, UK, and Canada to describe research projects. The development of the CSO provides a framework to improve coordination among research organizations, making it possible to compare the research portfolios of public, non-profit, and governmental research agencies.

The CSO is organized around seven broad areas of scientific interest in cancer research, including:

  • Biology
  • Etiology
  • Prevention
  • Early detection, Diagnosis, and Prognosis
  • Treatment
  • Cancer Control, Survivorship, and Outcomes Research
  • Scientific Model Systems

Fiscal Year

The Federal budget year runs from October 1 to September 30. Selecting a fiscal year from the search form will search for projects funded during that fiscal year. The NCI Funded Research Portfolio database includes awards for the current fiscal year, and the previous nine fiscal years.

NIH Funding Mechanisms

A code used by NIH to identify the subcategory of an extramural or intramural activity. Also referred to as an "activity code."Click here to view a comprehensive list External link of NIH funding mechanisms.


The keywords box allows you to enter other words or phrases you'd like to search for, such as scientific terms and names. Separate each keyword with a space. If you would like to search for a specific phrase, use quotation marks around the phrase.

For example: "breast cancer"

You may also search using multiple words or phrases. To do this, combine words or phrases with "and" or "or" and use parentheses for grouping.

For example: (clinical and prostate) or (clinical and "breast cancer")

You may use keywords to search any of the following criteria:

  • The text and title of the project's abstract
  • Cancer activity
  • Division (abbreviations only, i.e. DCP)
  • Project number
  • Awarded institution
  • Awarded institution city
  • Awarded institution state (abbreviations only, i.e. MD)
  • Funding mechanism (by code only, i.e. R01)
  • Principal investigator name
  • Program director name
  • Project title
  • Any of the project's listed Special Interest Categories (SICs)
  • Any of the project's listed disease sites
  • Common Scientific Outline (CSO)

NCI Division

The NCI Division that manages the programmatic aspects of a project.



CCR Center for Cancer Research
DCB Division of Cancer Biology
DCCPS Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
DCEG Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
DCP Division of Cancer Prevention
DCS Division of Clinical Sciences
DCTD Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis
DDES Office of Deputy Director - Extramural Science
DEA Division of Extramural Activities
OD Office of the Director

Project Number

This field represents the grant or contract's project number. Punctuation is ignored.

Research Institution

This field represents the awarded institution. Whole or partial names are accepted.

Cancer Type (Disease site)

Cancer types as defined by NCI-designated cancer organ sites, such as Breast or Liver; or related cancers, such as Hodgkins Lymphoma, are reporting categories for NCI research projects.

Research Topic (Special Interest Category [SIC])

Special Interest Categories describe the major scientific disciplines that are of stated or growing interest to the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, Congress, and the public. Examples of SICs are Nanotechnology and Drug Development. SICs are reporting categories for NCI research projects.

Report Views

The NCI Funded Research Portfolio returns search results in one of two views: (1) the Project Details View and (2) the Budget Category View.

Project Details View

The Project Details View is available for all searches. This view displays detailed information for the projects returned by your search and includes scientific coding data comprising three categories:

  1. Special Interest Categories (SICs) with relevance to the project represented as a percentage
  2. Disease sites with relevance to the project represented as a percentage
  3. Common Scientific Outline

Budget Category View

The Budget Category View is only available if your search includes either a Special Interest Category (SIC) or an Disease site and is for fiscal year 2007 or greater. This report displays detailed information for projects returned by your search and includes relevant funding data for Special Interest Categories (SICs) and disease sites. These data represent the funding levels relative to each category.

Report Views Comparison
  Project Details View Budget Category View
Availability All searches Must select at least one SIC or Site and select a fiscal year equal to or greater than 2007
Title Yes Yes
Institution Yes Yes
Principal investigator Yes Yes
Program director Yes Yes
Cancer activity Yes Yes
Division Yes Yes
Funded amount Yes Yes
Project dates Yes Yes
Fiscal year Yes Yes
Project type Yes Yes
Total funding per Page Yes Yes
All coded research topics (SICs) Yes No
All coded disease sites Yes No
Selected research topics (SICs) Yes Yes
Selected disease sites Yes Yes
Common Scientific Outline (CSO) Yes No
Relevant funding for selected categories No Yes
Total relevant funding per page No Yes
Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health