Introduction

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) is a broad based community organisation and the peak national body for prostate cancer in Australia. We are dedicated to reducing the impact of prostate cancer on Australian men, their partners and families, recognising the diversity of the Australian community.

We do this by:

  • Promoting and funding world leading, innovative research into prostate cancer
  • Implementing awareness and advocacy campaigns and education programs for the Australian community, health professionals and Government
  • Supporting men and their families affected by prostate cancer, through evidence-based information and resources, support groups and Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses.

 

Research Program vision and purpose

With the dramatic increases in scientific knowledge in the prostate cancer (PCa) research field as well as the significant changes in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, translation and delivery of care, researchers must continue to meet future challenges.
PCFA's Research program aims to provide the much needed funds that will help researchers to accelerate the pace of discovery and apply their research results in a timely manner.

The mission of our research program is:

To enable acquisition of knowledge that will reduce the impact of prostate cancer on Australian men, their partners and families, recognising the diversity of the Australian community.

In fulfilling its mission to support the best scientific talent in prostate cancer research nationally, our research program provides a logical, consistent and transparent framework for the submission, review and selection of research applications for funding.

Allocation of PCFA research grant funds is guided by a clear strategic focus and a set of specific research priorities, based on our mission and identified deficits in prostate cancer research.

In 2014, PCFA's Research Program underwent a rigorous review.

Moving away from an all basic science program, in 2015-2017, this program will consist of three pillars of research funding, with each of the pillars representing a broad funding area with its own priorities and governance:
Pillar I: Basic Science – Team Awards, Global Venture Fund (GVF, further information about this scheme will become available later in the year), Young Investigator Awards and support towards first in field (FIF) ideas in prostate cancer research (New Concept Grants).
Pillar II: Clinical Science – Phase I-IV clinical trials, Clinician Scientist Awards and Clinical Guidelines.
Pillar III: Survivorship Research – psychosocial and survivorship needs of men with prostate cancer, their partners and families, and research that will lead to solutions to those needs.
The proposed three pillar structure will ensure that PCFA continues to support basic science, whilst at the same time broadening the research program to embrace consumer priorities such as clinical trials and psychosocial research.

PCFA will promote and implement Knowledge Translation as one of the main criteria of each scheme.

 

Overarching priorities of funding

  • Discovery of the genetic and cellular factors which initiate and/or perpetuate prostate cancer
  • Discovery, development and clinical validation of new, non-invasive tests to detect prostate cancer, and/or to determine whether a patient's cancer is curable.
  • Discovery, development and clinical validation of new biomarkers that predict the future clinical course of prostate cancer and/or the response to future chemotherapy
  • Discovery, development and preclinical and clinical validation of novel molecular targets for chemotherapy of locally-invasive or metastatic prostate cancer, including androgen-independent cancers
  • Development of new treatment strategies for prostate cancer, especially locally-invasive or metastatic cancers
  • Research, which if successful, will provide immediate improvements in the quality of life of patients with prostate cancer, especially those with advanced prostate cancer, including studies of the families and carers of men affected by prostate cancer, and studies of the psychological burden of prostate cancer to those men, their families and their caregivers.

 

Governance

From a governance perspective, all three pillars sit under the umbrella of the Research Advisory Committee (RAC), with final approval for financial decisions obtained from Finance & Operations Committee and the National Board. The RAC is responsible for advising on the strategic direction for the program as a whole. Each pillar will have its own expert subcommittee. Grant assessment for Pillars I and II will be conducted by expert panels/external assessors for each funding category. Pillar III will be guided by the Lead Advisory Group of the Prostate Cancer Survivorship Research Centre.

 

Confidentiality

Information contained in applications is regarded as in-confidence unless otherwise stated and will be received and treated as in-confidence by PCFA. It is the responsibility of all PCFA Research Advisory Committee members, and persons assisting this Committee, not to disclose to any person confidential information to which they become privy as a result of the exercise of their responsibilities to PCFA.
Information comprising the names of successful grant applicants and their administering institutions, together with the title of the research project and the funding awarded, are published in PCFA's Annual Report and are available through PCFA's website. PCFA may also release information about the areas of research of the grant and a brief description of the grant provided by the applicant in response to the question on the application form designated as Lay Summary.

 

Privacy

Documents containing personal information are handled and protected in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988, which sets standards for the collection, storage, use and disclosure of, and access to, personal information. Personal information is disclosed only with permission of the individual to whom it relates or where the Act allows.

 

Application Process

Application Forms

All applications must be made on the appropriate form provided by PCFA. Application forms can be found here.
Completed forms, along with all other required documentation, must be submitted electronically by the advertised closing date.

Withdrawal of Applications

Applicants may withdraw an application at any time through their Administering Institution's Research Office.

Incomplete, false or misleading applications

Once submitted to PCFA, the application will be considered final and no changes will be accepted.
The application is the prime source of information available for assessment. As such it must contain all the information necessary for assessment of the project and the investigators without the need for further written or oral explanation, or reference to additional documentation, including the Internet. All details in the application, particularly all information about all active research grants and all current grant applications must be current at the time of application.

Tobacco

PCFA will not award a research grant to any researcher who:

  • is an applicant for, or is in receipt of funds from, the tobacco industry or organisations deemed by PCFA to be associated with the tobacco industry, regardless of whether the funds are received directly, through collaborators or by other means (for example, the Smoking and Health Research Foundation of Australia is deemed to be associated with the tobacco industry)
  • is employed in a research institute or organisation or, in the case of universities, faculties or schools that allow applications or receive funds from the tobacco industry, whatever the use of those funds may be
  • is employed in a University that accepts funds from the tobacco industry for health-related research or services, wherever in the University that research may be done or those services supported.

PCFA will terminate its support for a research project if the above provisions relating to support from the tobacco industry are breached or it believes that the integrity of the research is threatened by influence from tobacco interests.

Initial Review of Applications

PCFA's Research Office reviews all applications submitted, and reserves the right to remove any applications that are clearly non-competitive or ineligible from further consideration in the peer review process. Exclusion of ineligible applications may take place at any time during the selection process under the following circumstances:

  • the application is inconsistent with the objectives of PCFA
  • the application contravenes or is inconsistent with PCFA Research Program Policies and the relevant guides for the completion of application forms
  • the application does not address the selection criteria and/or the application includes incomplete or misleading information
  • the application does not adhere to the guidelines for the relevant grant category.
Peer Review

For full details of the peer review process please refer to each specific RFP as published on the Research Program pages of PCFA's website.

 

Funding

All grants will be funded at levels stated within the main announcement of each award. For example, a Clinician Scientist Award will not be funded at levels above $150,000 pa and not for a period of more than three years.
The level of salary funding provided for personnel will generally adhere closely to current NHMRC guidelines.

 

Ethics and other required approvals

When relevant approvals are available at the time of application, copies should be forwarded to PCFA. If approvals will be sought after the grant is awarded, all relevant approvals must be forwarded to PCFA within one year of the commencement of the award.
Continued funding for any funding mechanisms is dependent on all relevant ethical and other approvals and licences having been received from the appropriate bodies by the Administering Institute, with copies of these approvals forwarded to PCFA.

 

Outcome of Application

PCFA will advise applicants directly of the outcome of the application as early as possible following approval by the Research Advisory Committee and PCFA National Board. Outcomes of the funding round and starting date for any awarded grant will be announced on PCFA's website.
PCFA will publish the following information on its website for all successful grants:

  • Application ID#
  • Principal Investigator
  • Administering Institution
  • Type of Grant
  • Title of Project
  • Lay summary
  • The Principal Investigator’s photography and biography
  • Any news regarding the progress of the project

 

Administration of grants

Offers will be made by PCFA to the Principal Investigator and copied to the nominated Research Officer at the Administering Institution. The Principal Investigator is responsible for organising and managing the research collaboration and reporting to PCFA however all correspondence must be sent from the Research Office at the Administering Institution.
The signed Certification Page, submitted at the time of the original grant application, is considered a binding agreement in which the applicant and the Administering Institution agree to abide by the policies of PCFA's Research Program.

Deferral

It is expected that awarded grants will commence on the start date indicated on the original application form. However, if this will not be possible, requests for a deferral of the start date must be provided in a letter addressed to Dr Miranda Xhilaga, Director Research Programs within 21 working days of notification of a successful application, and sent to anne.maerz@pcfa.org.au.
The letter must be on the letterhead of the Administering Institution and signed by either the Principal Investigator or an authorised representative from the Institution's Research Office. The letter should outline the reason/s for requesting a deferral and propose a new start date for the project.
Deferral requests will be assessed on a case by case basis. Please be aware that any approval for revision of the start date may also include amendment of the payment schedule and/or the reporting schedule.

Payments

Payment of funds will be made to the Administering Institution, in response to an invoice, in instalments by electronic transfer after the end of each quarter. Funds should be used for the general purposes documented in the application and approved under PCFA's Research Program.
In the event that annual reporting requirements are not met, PCFA will suspend payment of further instalments of any current grant until all of the appropriate reporting documents have been received and assessed as satisfactory.

Extensions

In the event that a project cannot be completed within the grant period, an extension may be granted. Requests for an extension of the completion date must be provided in a letter addressed to Dr Miranda Xhilaga, Director Research Programs, and sent to anne.maerz@pcfa.org.au.
The letter must be on the letterhead of the Administering Institution and signed by either the Principal Investigator or an authorised representative from the Institution's Research Office. The letter should explain in detail the reason/s for the requiring an extension and propose a revised completion date for the project.
Extension requests will be assessed on a case by case basis. Please be aware that any approval for revision of the completion date may also include amendment of the payment schedule and/or the reporting schedule.

Intellectual Property rights and commercialisation
  1. Any Intellectual Property arising from a Research Project shall vest with the Administering Institution.
  2. The Administering Institution shall promptly notify PCFA of any such Intellectual Property as soon as is reasonably practicable after it arises.
  3. Subject to points 1 and 2 above, the Administering Institution shall be responsible for the protection, management, exploitation and commercialisation, of any such Intellectual Property. To the extent that the Administering Institution does not, within a reasonable time after it arises, protect such Intellectual Property, PCFA shall have a right, exercisable in its sole discretion, to protect and exploit such Intellectual Property.
  4. With respect to actions in connection with the protection, management, exploitation or commercialisation of Intellectual Property, the Administering Institution undertakes to consider whether such protection, management, exploitation or commercialisation is the most appropriate means of achieving benefit to men with prostate cancer.
  5. The Administering Institution must inform PCFA before commercially exploiting any Intellectual Property.

 

Reporting

Knowledge Translation

Knowledge translation is about raising knowledge users' awareness of research findings and facilitating the use of those findings. With knowledge translation being an emerging field, there is a need to build capacity not only in developing research proposals with a knowledge translation approach but also in assessing those proposals for scientific merit and potential impact. PCFA has adopted:

  1. Integrated KT or IKT, which requires that knowledge users be members of the research team and participate in many stages of the research process. IKT requires researchers and knowledge users to develop partnerships and engage in a collaborative process with the overarching goal being the co-production of knowledge, its exchange and its translation into action. By integrating knowledge users at every stage, KT becomes embedded into the process and researchers minimise the possibilities of unanticipated barriers that may occur when attempting to act upon results with stakeholders.
  2. End-of-grant KT, which requires applicants to submit a plan for how they will translate their findings when the research is completed.

In addition, the applicants are required to articulate their knowledge sharing/dissemination plan to demonstrate that the results achieved are relevant and useful to end users.

Annual Progress Reports and Financial Reports

Annual progress and financial reports will be required within three months of the end of the first year’s funding. The progress reports will include (but are not limited to):

  • Completion and submission of PCFA Scientific Progress Report Form, available here.
  • An internally-audited financial report from the Administering Institution against the approved Grant budget (i.e. financial reports must be certified and signed by a senior accountant at the Administering Institute). All expenditure reported should be in accordance with the budget requested in the application.
  • Justification for funds unspent, to be carried over or returned.  Carry-over of funds remaining up to 25% of the grant budget must be justified; funds remaining over 25% will automatically revert to PCFA.

PCFA will suspend payment of further instalments of any current grant until the appropriate reports have been received and assessed as satisfactory.
Where an institution fails to submit satisfactory reports, as required, the Research Advisory Committee may terminate funding and determine that all or part of the funding must be repaid.  In this case, PCFA may withhold the remainder of the institution’s payments under the scheme for the current year or initiate recovery of funding.
At the completion of the grant, a final report and financial acquittal will be required within three months of the end of the grant cycle. The final report should contain the same information as the annual report. Funds remaining up to 25% of the final year’s funding may be carried over for up to 6 months, with justification. The final grant payment, which shall represent 2% of the total funds available, will be payable when the final report is approved.

Acknowledgement of Support

Research carried out on awards funded by PCFA must be acknowledged as being supported by PCFA's Research Program. This includes any publication or presentation resulting from the research. Researchers are required to notify PCFA in advance of any publication or presentation and researchers must provide PCFA with an electronic copy of any such publication.  PCFA would also appreciate a .pdf file of any posters presented (or an A4 or A3 hard copy if a .pdf is not available). Grant recipients may be asked to participate in media or other publicity events relevant to the Research Program.
PCFA should be acknowledged in all publications. In the event that the award is funded from more than one source, PCFA will provide details of the co-funder and the acknowledgment terms in the official letter of offer.

Note: In the event that the grant holder fails to appropriately acknowledge all funders in any publications related to the funded work, PCFA will automatically and permanently stop further payments for the grant. In order to avoid inadvertent penalties, please be careful not to report to the research office via interim scientific progress and/or final scientific progress reports publications that are not related to research funded by PCFA's Research Program.

 

Further information

Enquiries may be addressed to Anne Maerz, PCFA Senior Research Program Coordinator:

Phone: 03 9948 2075
Email: anne.maerz@pcfa.org.au

Postal Address:
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia
Level 5
437 St Kilda Road
Melbourne VIC 3004