381.922 William G. “Bill” Bankhead, Jr., and David Coley Cancer Research Program.—
(1) The William G. “Bill” Bankhead, Jr., and David Coley Cancer Research Program, which may be otherwise cited as the “Bankhead-Coley Program,” is created within the Department of Health. The purpose of the program shall be to advance progress towards cures for cancer through grants awarded through a peer-reviewed, competitive process.
(2) The program shall provide grants for cancer research to further the search for cures for cancer.
(a) Emphasis shall be given to the following goals, as those goals support the advancement of such cures:
1. Efforts to significantly expand cancer research capacity in the state by:
a. Identifying ways to attract new research talent and attendant national grant-producing researchers to cancer research facilities in this state;
b. Implementing a peer-reviewed, competitive process to identify and fund the best proposals to expand cancer research institutes in this state;
c. Funding through available resources for those proposals that demonstrate the greatest opportunity to attract federal research grants and private financial support;
d. Encouraging the employment of bioinformatics in order to create a cancer informatics infrastructure that enhances information and resource exchange and integration through researchers working in diverse disciplines, to facilitate the full spectrum of cancer investigations;
e. Facilitating the technical coordination, business development, and support of intellectual property as it relates to the advancement of cancer research; and
f. Aiding in other multidisciplinary research-support activities as they inure to the advancement of cancer research.
2. Efforts to improve both research and treatment through greater participation in clinical trials networks by:
a. Identifying ways to increase adult enrollment in cancer clinical trials;
b. Supporting public and private professional education programs designed to increase the awareness and knowledge about cancer clinical trials;
c. Providing tools to cancer patients and community-based oncologists to aid in the identification of cancer clinical trials available in the state; and
d. Creating opportunities for the state’s academic cancer centers to collaborate with community-based oncologists in cancer clinical trials networks.
3. Efforts to reduce the impact of cancer on disparate groups by:
a. Identifying those cancers that disproportionately impact certain demographic groups; and
b. Building collaborations designed to reduce health disparities as they relate to cancer.
(b) Preference may be given to grant proposals that foster collaborations among institutions, researchers, and community practitioners, as such proposals support the advancement of cures through basic or applied research, including clinical trials involving cancer patients and related networks.
(3)(a) Applications for funding for cancer research may be submitted by any university or established research institute in the state. All qualified investigators in the state, regardless of institutional affiliation, shall have equal access and opportunity to compete for the research funding. Collaborative proposals, including those that advance the program’s goals enumerated in subsection (2), may be given preference. Grants shall be awarded by the department, after consultation with the Biomedical Research Advisory Council, on the basis of scientific merit, as determined by the competitively open peer-reviewed process to ensure objectivity, consistency, and high quality. The following types of applications may be considered for funding:
1. Investigator-initiated research grants.
2. Institutional research grants.
3. Collaborative research grants, including those that advance the finding of cures through basic or applied research.
(b) To ensure that all proposals for research funding are appropriate and are evaluated fairly on the basis of scientific merit, the department shall appoint peer review panels of independent, scientifically qualified individuals to review the scientific merit of each proposal and establish its priority score. The priority scores shall be forwarded to the council and must be considered in determining which proposals shall be recommended for funding.
(c) The council and the peer review panels shall establish and follow rigorous guidelines for ethical conduct and adhere to a strict policy with regard to conflicts of interest. A member of the council or panel may not participate in any discussion or decision of the council or a panel with respect to a research proposal by any firm, entity, or agency with which the member is associated as a member of the governing body or as an employee or with which the member has entered into a contractual arrangement.
(4) In order to attract and retain experienced research talent and attendant national grant-producing researchers to integrated cancer research and care institutions in this state, the Department of Health shall award endowments to integrated cancer research and care institutions for establishing a funded research chair, pursuant to the General Appropriations Act, specifying an appropriation for this purpose. Funding for the endowed chairs must be independent of funds appropriated pursuant to s. 215.5602(12). The purpose of the endowment is to provide secure funding for at least 7 years to attract an experienced and promising researcher whose continued employment for this period is not contingent upon grant awards associated with time-limited research projects. In addition, the Legislature intends for a research chair to specialize in a cancer-related research field that will facilitate coordination among research institutions within the state and attract other promising researchers and funding to the state.
(a) Upon selection of an endowed research chair, the institution shall notify the chairs of the appropriations committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives. An institution funded pursuant to this subsection shall provide to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives an annual progress report by December 15 that must, at a minimum, provide the research chair’s name; the amount of the endowment fund used for the chair’s salary; research responsibilities; the percentage of time devoted to research if the chair also serves as a member of the faculty; research progress; progress toward achieving the goals of this program; endowment expenditures; balance, interest rate, and interest earned on the endowment; and the amount of federal or private grants or donations generated, if any, as a result of the research chair’s efforts.
(b) If an institution must replace an endowed research chair, the endowment must cease funding expenses associated with the endowed research chair, other than reasonable costs for recruitment, until a replacement chair has been retained. While the endowed research chair is vacant, the endowment must continue to earn interest and all earnings must be added to the balance of the endowment. A vacancy tolls the 7-year timeframe for the endowed research chair.
(5) The William G. “Bill” Bankhead, Jr., and David Coley Cancer Research Program is funded pursuant to s. 215.5602(12). Funds appropriated for the William G. “Bill” Bankhead, Jr., and David Coley Cancer Research Program shall be distributed pursuant to this section to provide grants to researchers seeking cures for cancer and cancer-related illnesses, with emphasis given to the goals enumerated in this section. From the total funds appropriated, an amount of up to 10 percent may be used for administrative expenses.
(6) The Biomedical Research Advisory Council shall submit a report relating to grants awarded under the program to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 15 each year. The report must include:
(a) For each research project supported by grants or fellowships awarded under the program:
1. A summary of the research project and results or expected results of the research.
2. The status of the research project, including whether it has concluded or the estimated date of completion.
3. The amount of the grant or fellowship awarded and the estimated or actual cost of the research project.
4. A list of principal investigators under the research project.
5. The title, citation, and summary of findings of a publication in a peer-reviewed journal resulting from the research.
6. The source and amount of any federal, state, or local government grants or donations or private grants or donations generated as a result of the research project.
7. The status of a patent, if any, generated from the research project and an economic analysis of the impact of the resulting patent.
8. A list of postsecondary educational institutions involved in the research project, a description of each postsecondary educational institution’s involvement in the research project, and the number of students receiving training or performing research under the research project.
(b) The state ranking and total amount of cancer research funding currently flowing into the state from the National Institutes of Health.
(c) Progress toward programmatic goals, particularly in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of cancer.
(d) Recommendations to further the mission of the program.
History.—s. 11, ch. 2004-2; ss. 7, 8, ch. 2006-182; s. 32, ch. 2008-6; s. 2, ch. 2009-5; s. 4, ch. 2009-58; s. 6, ch. 2010-34; s. 14, ch. 2010-161; s. 3, ch. 2012-20; s. 70, ch. 2012-184; s. 3, ch. 2013-50; s. 6, ch. 2016-230.
Note.—Subparagraphs (2)(a)1.-3. former s. 381.921.