CRC Call for Applications — Cycle 20: 2014
The California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP) believes that communities affected by breast cancer can take a leading role in research into the disease. Since 1997, our Community Research Collaboration (CRC) awards have funded community organizations—such as a breast cancer advocacy organization, community clinics, and other organizations serving women with breast cancer—to work in teams with well-trained, experienced research scientists. Together, the teams decide which breast cancer questions are most important to them, determine how to study these questions, gather and interpret data, and communicate findings to other community members, scientists, and the public. These teams have carried out sound and reliable research with results that can be applied to other communities. By combining the knowledge and interest of communities with the expertise and resources of research scientists, CRC teams are realizing the CBCRP’s vision of funding innovative and important research that will reduce the suffering caused by breast cancer.
We invite you to become part of this innovative, community-based participatory research by applying for a CRC award. More information about the CRC awards, including issues to consider and the types of projects we fund, can be found in this publication and on our website at www.cabreastcancer.org/community/.
Two funding mechanisms are available:
The CRC Pilot award is for a maximum of $150,000 in direct costs for a period of up to 18 months. The Pilot award supports the initial phase of the project, which includes strengthening collaborations, developing feasible methods and tools, and collecting pilot data.
The CRC Full award is for a maximum of $600,000 in direct costs for a period of up to three years. The Full award funds projects with a fully developed research plan and supporting preliminary data, carried out by a well-integrated, experienced team of scientists and community members. Typically, a CRC Full application is for support of the completion of a research plan successfully carried out with a previous Pilot award.
For both types of awards, indirect costs, over the direct cost limit, are also available (note: indirect costs to University of California institutions are capped at 25% of the modified total direct cost base.)
- CRC “concept papers” will not be required as a prerequisite prior to submission of an application. We offer an optional pre-application review (for the research plan only) for those teams wishing to receive feedback prior to the actual application submission.
How to Apply
CRC (Pilot & Full) Application Deadlines
|Important Steps||Application Item||Due date|
|CRC research plan review (optional)||Review of research plan||September 5, 2013*|
|CRC (Pilot & Full)||Full application||December 2, 2013, noon PST|
*Optional, for the applicants who wish to receive feedback prior to a full submission.
Applicants wishing to participate in the pre-application research plan review must email a pdf of their research plan to CRCinfo@cabreastcancer.org. Full instructions for submitting the plan are available on our Technical Assistance page.
CRC Pilot and Full applications must be submitted online through Altum proposalCENTRAL (https://proposalcentral.altum.com/). Forms and instructions for all award types are available in the Fall of each year. The CBCRP website will also contain the application forms/instructions and other helpful information.
For More Information, Please Contact:
Senaida Fernandez, Ph.D.
California Breast Cancer Research Program
University of California Office of the President
300 Lakeside Drive, 6th Floor Oakland, CA 94612-3550
Phone (510) 987-9884 Toll Free (888) 313-2277 Fax (510) 587-6325
Things to Consider Before You Apply
Think About Whether Applying for a Collaboration Award is Right for You
Community-Researcher collaborations take time and a willingness to share power and compromise. The process involves community-researcher collaboration at all levels of the research process, including considering and developing the research question, designing the methodology, conducting the research, analyzing the results, and disseminating the findings.
These types of collaborations are inherently “cross-cultural” and the differences between how academia and the nonprofit sectors function can be significant. For instance, in academia, publishing in peer-reviewed literature is an important step in publishing research results, yet the process of preparing, submitting, and revising drafts can take years before an article is published. In the nonprofit sector, newsletters, town hall meetings, and less formal dissemination strategies are often utilized for their relative directness to and accessibility for community members.
Collaborations can also include other differences within your partnership or team—race, gender, age, class, educational level, sexual orientation, or disability. Not all personality temperaments are geared toward working in collaborations and not all institutions are prepared for the effort of time and resources that are required. Be honest with yourself about whether collaboration is right for you and your institution.
Who Can Apply
A team must include individuals representing:
- at least one California-based community organization, formal or informal
- community members, including patients, clients, or interested people
- at least one experienced scientific researcher working in California in an appropriate discipline or setting
Each team must have one person designated as the “Community co-principal investigator (co-PI)” and one as the “Research co-PI.” The co-PIs take leadership on the research project and ensure adequate representation of both community and scientific perspectives.
The team must work collaboratively in all phases of the research project, including:
- identifying the problem and formulating the research questions
- writing and submitting the application
- designing and carrying out the research
- analyzing the research findings
- preparing reports to the CBCRP
- disseminating the results to both community and scientific audiences
Teams MUST present evidence of broad community involvement throughout the entire proposal and proposed project. This can be accomplished by having community members on the research team or by having an informed and empowered community advisory board.
What Makes a Good Research Question?
Meet with other members of your community to identify and prioritize questions you have about breast cancer. Questions might arise from a program you are involved in and wanting to know whether it has an effect and what is the size of the effect? Or you want to gain a better understanding of risk factors unique to your community. Or maybe you want to gather evidence to advocate for policy action and program funding.
If you want to conduct research on a program it is important to understand the difference between research and evaluation. Research and evaluation both use a systematic approach to answer a question of interest. Evaluation, though, usually asks questions like “Is the program effective?” or “Do the clients like the program?” Research asks “Does the program have an effect? What is the size of the effect? What components are responsible for the effect?”
Research is an organized and controlled way to answer a question. It is conducted in such a way that you would be able to say that your study results are:
- Reliable: Are your measurements dependable?
- Valid: Do your findings accurately reflect what you were attempting to measure?
- Generalizable: Would your findings apply to people who were not included in your study, but have similar characteristics as the participants?
- Replicable: Can your study be repeated and would the results be the same?
Once you have an idea of what you might want to focus on, and you are sure you can phrase your question into a research question, you should conduct a literature review to determine what is already known about your topic. One good place to start is PubMed (www.pubmed.com). PubMed is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov) that includes over 17 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles back to the 1950s. PubMed includes links to full text articles and other related resources. There are other types of online databases of peer-reviewed articles available depending on your field of interest.
Another step in the process of refining your research question is to look at databases of funded breast cancer research—is your topic under-researched or over-researched? These databases will help you find out the answer to that question:
Kinds of Projects We Fund
You may apply for an award addressing any breast cancer question identified by your community as important, as long as it is consistent with CBCRP priorities and will add to knowledge about how to make an impact on breast cancer. CRC applicants are welcome to apply under any CBCRP research priority; however, the priorities most commonly applicable to the CRC award include the community impact of breast cancer (health policy; health services; sociocultural, behavioral and psychological issues relevant to breast cancer; and disparities) and the causes and prevention of breast cancer. The CBCRP does not encourage proposals that focus on increasing primary screening (i.e., mammography).
You must be able to express the issue you have identified as a well-defined research question. For example, you could test whether a certain health service improves a breast cancer patient’s quality of life; however, it would be considered an evaluation (which we don’t fund) if you just want to know if a service was provided in a timely, efficient manner.
Examples of past research we have funded include:
The San Joaquin Valley Health Consortium and the California State University, Fresno, is designing a breast cancer navigation service that responds to diversity within the community and health system. The pilot will prepare for a larger project that tests health and cost impacts of this navigation service.
The Mendocino Cancer Resource Center, the Humboldt Community Breast Health Project, and the University of California, San Francisco, are studying a treatment decision-making aid previously used in an urban hospital setting, among a mostly white population. The team is determining whether it can succeed as a telephone intervention for a diverse rural community.
The Northern California Cancer Center and Asian Health Services are collecting information on Vietnamese American women working in nail salons in Alameda County. The study examines health care access and utilization, behaviors relevant to breast cancer risk such as smoking and exercise, and occupational exposures to substances that may cause breast cancer.
University of California, San Francisco, and the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic are examining the beliefs, values, concerns, expectations, and goals about end-of-life from the viewpoints of underserved women with breast cancer, their physicians, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, and informal caregivers.
You can find a complete list of previously funded CRC awards in this publication and on our website at Community - Funded Partnerships.
Finding the Right Partner
Proposals go through a rigorous scientific review process that considers, equally, both scientific and community elements. Therefore, it is also important that the researcher on the project has experience researching your question of interest and the community partner on the project has deep roots in and respect of the community.
If you are a community member or represent a community-based organization you can do a Medline or Google search for researchers who have published on your topic(s) of interest. You can search on university or research institution websites for researchers working in your topic(s) of interest. You can also ask any researchers or health providers who you or your community group has contact with for referrals, even if their area of expertise is not right for your project. Remember that your academic researcher collaborator must work in California, but don’t ignore out of state referrals or researchers you find through the searches. You can always ask them for an in-California referral.
“I was the one who took it upon myself to find an epidemiologist. I made many, many phone calls. It was no small task. Lots of dead ends. Then I spoke with a doctor who thought he knew someone who would work with us. She was a former student of his.”
– Community Research Grant Recipient
If you are a research scientist contact breast cancer organizations or community members with whom you have worked or who might be interested in research topics in your area of expertise. Do a Google search using keywords of your area of interest, “community” and your geographic area. Read local community papers, go to community events and get to know the community and what the community’s concerns are.
“I had no experience with the community when I started this research. I think, with all modesty, I’m now well accepted by the community. I’m involved in the community besides the research. I take part in the cultural activities. I show a presence.”
– Academic Research Grant Recipient
Starting Your Partnership Off Right!
Once you have narrowed down your search, interview potential partners to determine their interest, experience, and potential fit as a partner. Be clear about why you are interested in the project you want to create and what you hope to do with the research results.
Talk about how you see the research project benefiting each of the partners, the partner’s institutions, the community, and the field of breast cancer research. Make sure that your goals are compatible.
Talk through how others will be involved in your project—who will the co-principal investigators be? Who else will be on the research team and how will they be involved? Will members of the “lay” or grassroots community participate in leadership or decision making roles? If a community organization is involved, how will the board, staff, and Executive Director be involved in the project? CBCRP’s own evaluations show that greater inclusiveness of community members and the nonprofit organizations can help the research project succeed.
Once you’ve formed your partnership, begin working together by focusing on both the research project you want to create as well as the way you want to work together. Focus on establishing good relationships with each other, especially if you are going to include multiple layers of individuals and a larger research team to manage the project. Begin planning early on for how you will achieve equitable distribution of all phases of the project: Developing the research question, developing the research plan, carrying out the research, conducting the data analysis process, analyzing the results, and disseminating the findings.
“She comes with the premise that the community knows best and the community are the experts. It wasn’t, ‘I’m the researcher and I’m going to tell you what to do and you’re going to use this’ it was more like, ‘well what do you think we should do?’, and ‘what’s going on?’, or ‘what would you develop?’ or ‘how can I help?’
– Community Member
The following materials and resources might be helpful to applicants in understanding the philosophy behind the CRC awards and in the development of your partnership:
- “Transforming Research: An Evaluation of the Community Research Collaboration Awards”
- “Transforming Partnerships: The Relationship between Collaboration and Outcomes in the Community Research Collaboration Awards”
- Community Research Collaboration Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
- Community Research Collaboration Partnership Assessment Tools
- Loka Institute (www.loka.org )
- Community-Campus Partnership for Health (http://depts.washington.edu/ccph/)
- Community Based Participatory Research for Health. 2003. M. Minkler and N. Wallerstein. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.
- Methods in community-based participatory research for health. 2005. B. Israel, E. Eng, A. Schulz, & E. Parker. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.
Resources are available at the CBCRP to help CRC applicants with finding a partner, thinking through research ideas or partnership plans, and preparing applications for the CRC awards, We will offer one-on-one assistance, teleconference workshops and an optional pre-application research plan review for those teams wishing to receive feedback prior to the actual application submission.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions that are not addressed here? Call Senaida Fernandez, Ph.D., toll free at (888) 313-2277 or email CRCinfo@cabreastcancer.org.