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Guidelines for Comprehensive Designation

Although there is no separate section of the CCSG application dedicated to comprehensiveness per se, the determination of whether a cancer center will be designated as “comprehensive” by the NCI is a two-step process. The first step is a determination by peer review that the center fulfills the broad scientific and interactive requirements for comprehensiveness as described elsewhere (Part I, 5.0 and Part II, 5.2.15). Unless a center chooses not to be reviewed for comprehensiveness (see Part II, 2.3.3), the Parent Committee automatically will evaluate the scientific and interactive aspects of comprehensiveness as an integral part of the overall review of the Cancer Center Support Grant.

Once the NCI determines that the CCSG application will be funded, and an award is issued, a second step involves the Executive Committee (EC) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Centers judged by peer review to have satisfied the scientific requirements for comprehensiveness will be asked by NCI to provide a brief summary that describes the institution’s efforts to serve its community in each of the areas of outreach, education, and cancer information. This summary should also describe how the public can access the available information (e.g., phone, website), and contain an agreement (signed by the Center Director and appropriate institutional official) to maintain the currency and accuracy of the information. The EC will examine the summary for completeness and adequacy and make the final decision on whether to recognize the center as comprehensive. The applicant will receive official notification of the outcome in writing from the Chief of the Cancer Centers Branch. An “NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center” is authorized to use the special copyrighted logo developed by the NCI that signifies this official recognition.


One-time Opportunity to Reapply for Comprehensiveness
A funded grantee that has failed to receive the comprehensive recognition from either the parent committee or the EC of the NCI will be given a one-time opportunity during the grant project period to reapply for comprehensive designation. The application would address reviewer or EC concerns and be evaluated by the Parent Committee and/or the EC for approval.


Retaining the Comprehensive Designation
If an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center’s competing renewal application meets the scientific standards for comprehensive recognition from the Parent Committee but is voted a priority score that does not merit funding, the center may retain the NCI comprehensive designation only for as long as the NCI maintains the “active” status of the CCSG through administrative actions. In no case will the NCI allow retention of the designation beyond the peer-approved period of the renewal application.