Date of Conferral







Dr. Robert F. DeYoung


In 2012, the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Board of Scientific Advisors (BSA) conducted a review of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology's (CBIIT) bioinformatics program. The BSA suggested that the lack of a formal project selection process made it difficult to determine the alignment of projects with the mission of the organization. The problem addressed by this study was that CBIIT did not have an in-depth understanding of the project selection process and the factors influencing the process. The purpose of this study was to understand the project selection process at CBIIT. The research methodology was an exploratory case study. The data collection process included a phenomenological interview of 25 managers from program management, engineering, scientific computing, informatics program, and health sciences. The data analysis consisted of coding for themes, sensitizing, and heuristic coding, supported by a theoretical framework that included the technology acceptance model, the program evaluation theory, and decision theory. The analysis revealed the need for formal project portfolio governance, the lack of a predefined project selection process, and that the decision-making process was circumstantial. The study also revealed six major themes that affected the decision-making process: the CBIIT mission, the organizational culture, leadership, governance, funding, and organizational change. Finally, the study fills the gap in the literature regarding the project selection process for government-funded initiatives in information technologies. This study may contribute to positive social change by improving the project selection process at CBIIT, allowing for the effective use of public funds for cancer informatics researchers.