NCI Lead Project Scientist – Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET)

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has a unique opening for a position as the lead project scientist for the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET). This position is located within the Statistical Research and Applications Branch (SRAB), Surveillance Research Program (SRP), in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). SRP manages the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) population-based cancer registry program, which represents almost 50% of the US population.

CISNET is an NCI-sponsored collaborative consortium of decision modelers in breast, prostate, colorectal, lung, esophagus, and cervical cancers, formed in 2000 with over 150 members at more than 25 different institutions. The overall purpose of CISNET is to synthesize trial, epidemiologic, observational, and surveillance data using simulation modeling and decision analysis to guide public health research and priorities by providing a link between complex evidence and actionable public health strategies. In 2020, CISNET was awarded the Society for Medical Decision Making John M. Eisenberg Award for Practical Applications of Medical Decision Making Research by “demonstrating sustained leadership in translating medical decision making research into practice, and has taken exceptional steps to communicate the principles and/or substantive findings of medical decision making research to policy makers, to clinical decision makers, and to the general public.” CISNET will be expanding in the Fall of 2021 with the addition of the CISNET Incubator Program, whose purpose is to translate CISNET’s model of success to cancer sites for which there has been nascent/limited population modeling efforts to date.

CISNET modeling has informed the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in the development of screening guidelines for breast, colorectal, lung, and cervical cancers. In addition, CISNET investigators have examined important problems in: improving our understanding of the impact of cancer control interventions in prevention, screening, and treatment on past and future population-level trends in incidence and mortality; the development of individual and policy decision tools; trial design and interpretation of trial results; state, local, and international cancer control planning; health disparities; evaluating new and existing prevention, screening and treatment strategies and technologies and their optimal deployment; and characterizing community screening practices and processes and strategies for improvements.

CISNET innovated a systematic comparative modeling approach with multiple modeling groups per cancer site, where central questions are addressed by groups collaboratively with a common set of inputs and outputs, where reproducibility across models adds credibility to results while differences point out areas for further study in a systematic way. To facilitate comparative modeling, the organization of CISNET is based on multiple PI grants (one for each cancer site), with one or more PIs per model, and a coordinating center. There is one NCI project scientist designated for each cancer site, and the lead project scientist works across cancer sites but would also take on the role of project scientist for an individual cancer site.

The major duties of the position include:

  • Working in collaboration with investigators to provide a shared scientific direction and vision for CISNET (and facilitating the necessary accompanying administrative arrangements to achieve these goals), taking into account the evolving priorities of the National Cancer Institute and cancer research more generally;
  • Working with the team of project scientists, assisting the cancer site groups in forming collaborative relationships with other NCI consortia and workgroups, relevant federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, and individual researchers;
  • Working as a cancer site project scientist and participating in many cancer site activities, ranging from providing broad advice on the direction of the research to involvement in specific projects, including co-authorship on papers as appropriate;
  • Serving as an institute-wide resource in the area of decision modeling, conducting exemplar analyses demonstrating the utility of this type of work in different areas of cancer research, translating the priorities of decision modeling for cancer research into future funding opportunities, and managing a portfolio of grants in this area.

In addition to CISNET-related activities, the incumbent can also (depending on their interests and expertise) become involved in the wide range of ongoing activities across SRP, e.g., analyses to demonstrate the clinical utility of new linkages of SEER with other data sources; development, evaluation, and reporting of new cancer progress measures and methods for the reporting and interpretation of national cancer statistics (see the Methods and Tools page); and/or become involved in activities across DCCPS or NCI as appropriate.

Applicants can be at any level in their career, but should have a doctoral degree or equivalent with training and experience in decision modeling and a passion for the advancement of decision modeling as a practical tool to solve problems that direct observation and other methods cannot.

The location is Rockville, Maryland, close to Washington D.C. The National Cancer Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer (Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants).

Please send a CV and a letter describing your background and interests to Trish Murphy at


Please visit our Web pages:
The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program
Surveillance Research Program (SRP)
SRP Branches

Last Updated: 28 Jun, 2021