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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

NCI Cohort Consortium: Getting Started

How can I participate in the NCI Cohort Consortium?

The NCI Cohort Consortium was formed to foster large-scale collaborative cancer research studies. Cohorts with data on cancer incidence and/or survivorship that meet eligibility criteria are welcome to submit an application to join the consortium. Cohort Consortium members and other interested researchers may propose and conduct a study with the consortium.

A good way to learn more about the consortium is to attend the Cohort Consortium Annual Meeting which is generally held in the Fall and open to all. The Cohort Consortium also hosts a webinar series to share best practices for cancer epidemiology cohorts and address common challenges. For early career investigators, the Associate Member Council (AMC) facilitates the engagement of early career investigators in the Cohort Consortium with a focus on promoting professional development.

There are many active project groups affiliated with the Cohort Consortium - more information on these groups can be found on the Project Hub. Interested investigators may propose to join an already formed project group to conduct an analysis within the group or propose an independent project to the Cohort Consortium Steering Committee via a new project application. Once a project application has been approved, then this becomes a project group within the Consortium. Project groups can include groups that conduct many collaborative projects or analyses or groups that have formed to conduct a single project or analysis.For more information regarding project groups, please refer to the Project Hub.

For more information about becoming involved in the activities of the Consortium, you can email

How can my cohort participate in the Consortium?

The Cohort Consortium follows certain criteria for cohorts to become members, which can be found in the bylaws.

In short, cohorts designed to study cancer incidence and those designed to study cancer-related outcomes are eligible to join the Cohort Consortium if they have associated risk factor data at baseline and if they meet minimum enrolment criteria. Cohorts interested in joining the Consortium must submit a membership application form.

Cohort Consortium members and non-members alike can join in the activities of the Consortium, including contributing their data for project analyses, attending the Annual Meeting and scientific webinars, and joining project groups and other Consortium initiatives. Many of these opportunities are advertised either on the Cohort Consortium webpage or via the newsletter.

For more information about subscribing to the newsletter or becoming involved in the cohort-related activities of the Consortium, you can email

I am interested in conducting a project or analysis with the Cohort Consortium. What are my options?

First, you should identify whether your project or analysis idea falls under the scope of an existing active project group within the Cohort Consortium. Project groups can include groups that conduct many collaborative projects or analyses, or they can be groups that have formed to conduct a single project or analysis. If your idea falls under the scope of an existing group, contact the primary contact listed on the project details tab of the project's entry on the Project Hub and request to join their group. It may be the case that you can complete a project or analysis within their existing project group. Another option is that your idea would work better as a subproject of the existing project group. If this is the case, you would fill out a new project application in the Project Hub. Once approved, then your proposed project becomes a subproject associated with the original project group within the Consortium.

If you think that your project does not fall under the scope of an existing project, submit a new project application to become a new project group. You can view a template project application here and read the associated guidelines (coming soon).

How do I prepare to submit a new project application?

Prior to submitting a project application, understand the potential viability of your project by reviewing the data that may be available from the Cohort Consortium member cohorts. You can review cohort descriptions on the Consortium's Current Members page or by accessing the Cancer Epidemiology Descriptive Cohort Database (CEDCD) to understand the resources that cohorts have available. The CEDCD may be particularly useful for better understanding a cohort's enrolment counts, cancer counts, and biospecimen counts.

If you determine that your project is potentially feasible within the Cohort Consortium, submit the online application form by logging into the Project Hub and clicking “Submit Project Proposal.” Note: A secure account is required to access many of the functions on the Cohort Consortium Project Hub website. Before logging in, you must either have an NIH account or register for a new account on the website.

Creating a Secure Account and Logging In

NIH Network Login

This type of login is available to NIH staff and other individuals with accounts on the NIH network.

  • Go to
  • Click on “NIH Network”.
  • Use one of the following login methods available on this page:
    • NIH login. If required, insert your PIV card into your smart card reader and click “Sign in”.
    • Alternate log in options (, Google, Microsoft, etc.) at the bottom of the screen. Follow on screen instructions.

IMS Login Service

To register:

  • Go to Web Site Policy.
  • Fill in the requested information and click “Submit”.
  • You will receive an email instructing you on how to setup your password and security question. Please allow up to 48 hours for account approval.

To login:

These accounts are available to users who do not have an NIH account. If you do not already have an IMS Login Service account, you will need to register first. The application form will be reviewed by the Steering Committee to determine the viability of the project. The Steering Committee may convey feedback on how to increase your project's potential success within the Consortium as part of this process.

If you have questions related to submitting a project application or conducting a project related to the Cohort Consortium, reach out to Rachel Hanisch, Cohort Consortium Executive Director ( or to

How do I get my project started once it has been approved?

Once your project is approved by the Steering Committee, it will be advertised in the Cohort Consortium bimonthly newsletter that is sent to all subscribed Consortium affiliates. The newsletter will include details of your project and your contact information. You can ask affiliates to contact you if they have data to contribute to your project or if you would like them to collaborate in any other way.

Simultaneously, you may make direct contact with individual cohorts in order to inform them of your approved project, your data and biospecimen needs (if applicable), and to request access to their data. As per the Cohort Consortium bylaws, member cohorts are expected to share data upon reasonable request. You must work directly with the data holders to understand any other expectations they may have (payment, biospecimen access, data use agreements, etc.).

What are my responsibilities as a Cohort Consortium researcher?

Project groups, and subgroups, are expected to be actively working toward their project group's research objectives and to periodically share updates with the Consortium community. This involves completing regular progress reports and sharing updates via project group meetings when warranted. Project groups may also be invited to present their results, or experiences, to the Steering Committee or at the Cohort Consortium Annual Meeting.

Researchers are also expected to secure their own funding for the research that they conduct as part of the Consortium as the Cohort Consortium does not provide funding. Researchers are expected to acknowledge the Cohort Consortium in all publications (see Authorship Guidelines), and to record the associated PMID with their project on the Project Hub.