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 closely related Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs).

Funding opportunities for the IMAT program have been issued with the following due dates: February 21, 2020; May 28, 2020; and September 29, 2020

The IMAT program supports highly-innovative technology development research to address the following areas:

  1. Molecular & cellular analysis for cancer research and clinical care
  2. Cancer-relevant biospecimen science

The individual IMAT Requests for Applications (RFAs) utilize the following mechanisms to support this research:

  1. R21 – Conduct highly innovative, exploratory research with substantial allowance for risk towards demonstration of technical feasibility.
  2. R33 – Conduct advanced development and technical validation of a technology/application for which proof of concept has been achieved.
  3. SBIR (R43/R44) – Conduct technology demonstration and validation with clear commercial potential to address unmet needs across basic through clinical cancer research.
  4. Revisions (to R01, U01, U54, P01, P50 and U2C awards) – Facilitate independent validation and acceleration of ongoing basic and clinical research through collaborations involving the integration of emerging IMAT-supported technologies.

All IMAT Research Project Grants (RPGs) are open to investigators from both academia and industry, and applications representing multiple principal investigators are welcome.

The complete matrix of IMAT FOAs is provided below along with basic requirements and total amount of set-aside funds for each of them for Fiscal Year 2020. Please note that for comprehensive information on all the submission requirements (including page limits and special sections), set-aside funds for each FOA, and the anticipated number of awards, it is absolutely essential that every applicant read 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.

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 Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research (ITCR) opportunities.


Matrix of IMAT RFAs and Outline of their Characteristics

Mechanism Theme Molecular/Cellular Analysis Cancer-relevant Biospecimen Science
R21 Project type: Exploratory-pilot
Required: Innovative technology/approacha; Quantitative Milestonesb;
Not required (but allowed): Preliminary data.
RFA-CA-20-017 RFA-CA-20-019
R33 Project type: Developmental
Required: Quantitative Milestonesb; Feasibility datac
RFA-CA-20-018 RFA-CA-20-020
R43/R44 Project type: Exploratory/Developmental
Required: Quantitative Milestonesb;



Project type: Integration & Validation
Required: Collaboration to demonstrate advanced capability.


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

bQuantitative 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 (i.e., quantitative) specifications for relevant measures/properties.

cDetailed 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 a previous R21 grant and associated milestones.