CSSI Offices

Office of the Director


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives (CSSI) serves as an innovation center for NCI, investing in exploratory research and developing resources, standards, and infrastructures that investigators need to traverse innovation bottlenecks. CSSI OD spearheads new Center initiatives, manages research grant programs, and oversees all CSSI activities.

CSSI OD Staff List

CSSI OD Programs

Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT)

The Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies program supports the development of potentially transformative technologies in cancer research using phased grant support. IMAT is involved throughout the technology development timeline, from proof-of-concept demonstration to rigorous analytical validation. The goal of theprogram is to equip basic and clinical research communities with novel analytical capabilities through the development of next‐generation, cutting‐edge technologies.


Provocative Questions (PQ)

The Provocative Questions initiative stimulates research in understudied areas across the cancer research continuum. Using NCI-sponsored workshops, challenging areas of cancer research are identified by extramural investigators and evaluated by NCI leadership. These areas are the basis for the funding opportunities available through Provocative Questions. Twelve PQs are currently available for proposals from the research community. 


Big Data Scientist Training Enhancement Program (BD-STEP)

As the volume of healthcare data grows, there is an increasing need for trained data science experts. The Big Data Scientist Training Enhancement Program was launched in partnership with Veterans Health Administration to develop the workforce of healthcare data scientists using VA data resources. 


Pilot Programs

Exploratory research pilot programs address research gaps related to data science, new technologies, standards, and preanalytical variables. These projects help accelerate progress in cancer-relevant scientific fields while allowing NCI to pilot new programs before incorporating them into the Institute.