National Cancer Institute - IMAT

Funding Overview

The Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) Program, which is aimed at the development and integration of novel and emerging technologies in the support of cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment, now encompasses an array of 12 closely related Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs). Each FOA is segregated based on program and type of funding mechanism. This page is designed to help potential IMAT applicants identify appropriate FOAs for their research.

New Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for the Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) Program have been issued.

Receipt dates for IMAT Program R21 and R33 FOAs are as follows:
  • February 23, 2009; May 27, 2009; September 30, 2009
Clarification of IMAT Program Scope and Criteria for Determining Responsiveness of Proposals Made to the Program

The IMAT Program comprises the following three related thematic components:

  1. Innovative and Applied Emerging Technologies in Biospecimen Science, which is centered on the development of novel sample preparation technologies that are suitable for molecular analyses of cancer cells and their host environments
  2. Application and Use of Transformative Emerging Technologies in Cancer Research, which is designed to support research projects evaluating technologies that are ready for initial clinical or laboratory application in cancer research
  3. Innovative Technology Development for Cancer Research, which emphasizes research projects that are centered on the inception and early stage development of new technologies for cancer research

Each IMAT Program possesses several parallel FOAs of identical scientific scope but having different funding mechanisms with distinct submission requirements.

The individual IMAT FOAs are Requests for Applications (RFAs) that focus on:

  1. Conduct of high-risk exploratory research with an emphasis on innovation (Phase I)
  2. Further development of a technology/application for which proof of concept has been achieved (Phase II)
  3. Projects that combine both Phase I and Phase II efforts in one application/award (“Phased Innovation Award”)

In addition to conventional Research Project Grants (RPG), some IMAT FOAs are directed at small businesses under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) mechanisms.

The complete matrix of 9 IMAT FOAs is provided below along with basic requirements and total amount of set-aside funds for each them for Fiscal Year 2008. Please note that for comprehensive information on all the submission requirements, set-aside funds for each FOA, and the anticipated number of awards, it is absolutely essential that every applicant read and utilize the selected individual IMAT FOA page before preparing and submitting an application in response to the selected FOA . Nonetheless, potential applicants who are interested in the IMAT Program may use this table and the links to respective individual FOAs that are contained within it as a quick “switchboard” to initially identify which of the closely related active FOAs might be most appropriate.  Please note that all IMAT applications must be submitted electronically using Standard Form 424 as of June 1, 2006

Note on Other Related Programs: Researchers who emphasize the assessment of in vivo imaging technologies as the primary focus of their grant applications should contact the Cancer Imaging Program for information on appropriate funding opportunities. Researchers focusing on applying new bioinformatics or statistical techniques as the primary focus of their applications should consider one of the Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative (BISTI) opportunities.


Matrix of IMAT RFAs and Outline of their Characteristics

Award Type Funding Mechanism Project Type General Requirements Theme 1:
Innovative and Applied Emerging Technologies in Biospecimen Science
Theme 2:
Application and Use of Transformative Emerging Technologies in Cancer Research
Theme 3:
Innovative Technology Development for Cancer Research




Innovation of technology/approach1;
Quantitative milestone2;
Not required (but allowed):
Preliminary data.







Required: Feasibility data3




1 While no preliminary data are necessary, the applicants must demonstrate the innovative nature of the particular technology or approach proposed for development.

2 Quantitative milestones for each specific aim must be provided as a way of determining during the project and at its completion whether an applicant has successfully reached the specified goal. Milestones should be clearly stated as numerical quantitative specifications for relevant measures/properties.

3 Detailed preliminary data must be provided in support of the feasibility of the technology or approach that is proposed for development. Such data may reflect successful completion of Phase I and associated milestones. For SBIR/STTR FOAs, feasibility data need to be largely obtained through a NIH-sponsored Phase I project.

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