The WNY Center for Research on Flavored Tobacco Products (CRoFT, an NCI-funded Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science) announces a two-stage competition for research funds through its Rapid Response Program (RRP). Based at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Buffalo, New York), in partnership with the University of Rochester, CRoFT is one of nine U.S. Tobacco Centers for Regulatory Science (TCORS). CRoFT’s overarching theme is studying the effects of flavors in tobacco, with an end goal of developing a scientific framework for evaluating the potential effects of flavors on all tobacco product users, including users of electronic nicotine delivery systems [ENDS].

RRP funds have been made available through NIH and FDA, and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (P.L. 111-31). RRPs will allow the exploration of novel, time-sensitive directions, especially those that might arise from changes in the tobacco product landscape, the progression of CRoFT projects, or opportunities that arise due to new and/or collaborative research opportunities. Collaborative projects, where feasible and when scientifically justified, may be across major Research Projects within CRoFT, across two or more TCORS, or with scientists outside the TCORS environment. TCORS are expected to capitalize on research capacity, investigator expertise, and the network of collaborations in assessing and responding to the research needs of the FDA. Research results are expected to generate findings and data that are directly relevant in informing the FDA’s regulation of the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to protect public health.

Applicants should ONLY submit proposals that directly address one of the three identified research questions below. Your project MUST address one of these areas to be considered responsive. No exceptions will be made. You do not need to address all of the listed components within a given topic, but you do need to clearly articulate how your proposed project is responsive to that area.

  1. What are the toxicological implications of specific ENDS constituents (e.g., nicotine concentration, nicotine salt vs. free-base nicotine, most popular flavors, PG/VG ratios, voltage delivery, types of delivery systems [e.g., JUUL-type products vs. other ENDS systems]) on ENDS users?
  2. What is the impact of ENDS and/or heat-not-burn product characteristics (including, but not limited to, different nicotine types [salt vs. free-base] and popular flavor categories) on abuse liability?
  3. What is the relationship between specific flavor categories (other than tobacco) and initiation, progression, and patterns of use among youth, young adult, and adult ENDS and/or cigar users?

Applicants should submit 2-page preproposals for 1-year grants of up to $100,000 direct costs using the template provided. CRoFT anticipates making 2-4 RRP awards. Projects must be completed and all funds must be expended within the September 2019 – August 2020 project period. Awards will be made for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 (direct costs). Budgets should be commensurate with the scope of work and must conform with standard NIH cost principles. Collaborative efforts between Roswell Park and University of Rochester investigators are encouraged. Use of core facilities supported by CRoFT (Product Analysis; Biomarkers; Biostatistics & Informatics) is strongly encouraged. Subcontracts outside Roswell Park or the University of Rochester will not be permitted. However, fee-for-service arrangements with outside core facilities or laboratories will be considered.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to communicate with relevant CRoFT Project and Core Leads for guidance in developing an appropriate project. Preproposals should follow the provided template and address: relevance to the topic area(s), background, specific aims, brief overview of proposed methods, feasibility to complete the project within 1 year, list of research collaborators and affiliations, and estimated budget.

Eligible investigators (at time of submission): PhD or other terminal doctoral degree. Postdoctoral fellow (with at least 1.5 years remaining by start date), research scientist, or faculty appointment at Roswell Park or the University of Rochester. No funding from tobacco or e-cigarette industries in past 5 years (see Investigators may submit no more than ONE application to this competition as Principal Investigator.
CRoFT’s RRP Committee, comprised of senior scientists from Roswell Park and the University of Rochester, in consultation with federal partners at NCI and FDA, will solicit full proposals from selected preproposals. Decisions are based on responsiveness to the questions, scientific merit, feasibility, and applicability to FDA regulatory authorities.

Selected preproposals will be asked to submit a full proposal following the general format of an R03/R21 (please see RFA-OD-18-003 for reference). Please note that full proposals may NOT deviate from the Specific Aims submitted with the preproposal. Solicited full proposals must be submitted online – a link to the submission site will be provided to investigators with selected preproposals.

Before projects can be awarded, they must be in compliance with all applicable NIH policies. Projects involving human subjects or animals must provide proof of IRB or IACUC approvals (as appropriate). Applicants are encouraged to submit any required new IRB and/or IACUC protocols concurrent with the solicited full proposal to minimize delays.

Application deadlines for this cycle are as follows:
• 22 March 2019:    Preproposals solicited
• 8 April 2019:         Preproposals due
• 24 April 2019:       Full proposals solicited from selected preproposals
• 24 May 2019:        Full proposals due
• June 2019:             Review by CRoFT/NIH/FDA
• July 2019:              One-year grants announced
• August 2019:        All required materials (e.g., IRB/IACUC approval) provided to CRoFT
• 1 Sept 2019:          RRP Grant start date

Investigators can direct questions via email to Dr. Richard O’Connor, CRoFT Principal Investigator (
CRoFT is funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products under Award Number U54CA228110.

Download the Application Template

Pre-Proposals Due April 1.58, 2019

Investigators can direct questions via email to Dr. Richard O’Connor, CRoFT Principal Investigator (

CRoFT is funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products under Award Number U54CA228110