Internal Deadline: TBA
LOI: 30 days prior.
External Deadline: August 2, 2024
Recurring Deadlines: August 2, 2025
Award Type: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.
Anticipated Award Amount: A base of up to $3,250,000 total costs per center per year will be awarded. The total amount awarded will depend on the applicant institutions’ NIH HIV/AIDS-funded research base.
Who May Serve as PI: Standard NIH requirements.
Link to Award: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-23-116.html
Process for Limited Submissions
PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Research Initiatives and Infrastructure (RII) Application Portal: https://rii.usc.edu/oor-portal/. Use the template provided here: RII Limited Submission Applicant Template
Materials to submit include:
- (1) Two-Page Proposal Summary (0.5” margins; single-spaced; font type: Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt). Page limit includes references and illustrations. Pages that exceed the 2-page limit will be excluded from review. You must use the template linked above.
- (2) CV – (5 pages maximum)
Note: The portal requires information about the PIs in addition to department and contact information, including the 10-digit USC ID#, Gender, and Ethnicity. Please have this material prepared before beginning this application.
The Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) program is co-funded and managed by twelve NIH Institutes and Centers to support basic and translational HIV/AIDS research and administrative infrastructure. CFARs are designed to foster synergy and improve coordination of research, support emerging research opportunities, and promote efficiencies through resources shared by multiple independent laboratories. CFARs are intended to promote NIH HIV/AIDS research efforts at CFAR institution(s). The proposed CFAR priorities should align with the NIH HIV/AIDS priority topics as highlighted in NOT-OD-20-018.
Expected Characteristics of all CFARs
Added value. CFARs are expected to provide added value to the applicant institution’s HIV/AIDS research efforts through support of activities that cannot easily be provided through standard research awards. The added value contribution that the proposed CFAR will make at the institution(s) should go beyond what would be expected from the pre-existing HIV/AIDS funded research. CFARs should promote and encourage activities that enhance collaboration and coordination of research that aligns with the NIH HIV/AIDS priority topics.
Some examples of added value include:
- Developmental Core awards resulting in collaborations, publications, or successful major research grants, especially among early career investigators and investigators new to the field of HIV/AIDS
- Evidence of an increase in multidisciplinary research and publications
- Evidence of CFAR enhancement and support of existing programs at the award institution
- Research activities focused on prevention, treatment and implementation science questions in high-risk and under-served populations
- Commitment from the institution(s) for support of CFAR activities
- Mentoring early career investigators in the HIV/AIDS research field and facilitating the transition to independence
- Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the scientific workforce diversity with particular attention to recruitment and advancement of early career investigators
- Promoting and supporting new collaborations designed to move the HIV/AIDS field forward through CFAR-sponsored meetings and activities
- Increase in percentage of NIH funded HIV researchers supported by the CFAR
- Development and implementation of a cost recovery system for science cores, as applicable.
Scientific and fiscal flexibility. CFARs will use a strategic planning process to provide guidance and oversight of scientific and fiscal flexibility. CFARs are responsible for using their resources to meet the needs of their investigators. A CFAR has the authority to re-allocate resources according to CFAR operating policies and procedures proposed in the application. CFARs have authority to change the structure and funding of cores through additions or eliminations, as long as the minimum required cores are maintained. CFARs may leverage other resources in support of HIV/AIDS research. CFAR Cores may be supported totally, or in part, by CFAR funds. Applicants are encouraged to develop creative collaborations to improve utilization of existing resources.
NIH-funded HIV/AIDS investigators at the applicant institution(s). The aims of the Cores and the services they provide should address the needs of HIV/AIDS investigators at the applicant institution(s) and be inclusive of the full range of HIV/AIDS science funded at the institution(s). The NIH-funded HIV/AIDS research base spreadsheet made available by the NIH should be used to ensure that the CFAR supports all NIH HIV/AIDS investigators at an institution.
Collaborations with community groups, organizations and other institutions. Applicants are encouraged to foster collaborative, multi-institutional linkages with international and domestic organizations and institutions, and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU). Examples of linkages include mentoring, collaborating, pilot awards, and training. Such linkages foster research training and collaborative studies and are able to meet needs that cannot be easily addressed by other funding mechanisms.
CFARs are also encouraged to work with local and state health departments, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and community organizations (e.g., CBOs, community health clinics, faith-based organizations, etc.) as they conduct research on aspects of the local HIV epidemic.
CFARs can establish and/or participate in inter-CFAR collaborations where investigators from different CFARs collaborate with each other in scientific areas of common interest to achieve economies of scale, to share unique resources and expertise, and to expand collaborative activities between CFARs, especially in areas that cannot be studied at a single CFAR site. Coordination with international programs funded by the Fogarty International Center (FIC) is also encouraged within these inter-CFAR collaborations. Examples of inter-CFAR collaborations can be found on the CFAR website. CFARs may expand these activities to achieve the objectives of the award. Examples include community outreach, development of scientists from diverse backgrounds including those from underrepresented groups (NOT-OD-20-031) in HIV/AIDS research, HIV/AIDS research communications to non-scientists, CFAR-sponsored seminars and meetings, identifying additional support for ongoing NIH programs not planned in the initial award, additional research collaborations, and other activities that meet the HIV/AIDS research needs of applicant institutions.
The overall structure of the CFAR is designed to support the HIV/AIDS researchers at the applicant institution(s) in the conduct of their research projects, interact with a variety of organizations to promote collaborations that serve the applicant organization, and create linkages for promoting additional HIV/AIDS research in key areas identified by the scientific community.
Cores and Core services provide support of specific functions that facilitate HIV/AIDS research at the CFAR institution, therefore, Cores must specifically target HIV/AIDS research.
The CFAR Administrative Core will be responsible for managing, coordinating, and overseeing the entire range of CFAR activities, monitoring progress, and ensuring that the project milestones are being met and implemented effectively within the proposed timelines. The Administrative Core must provide both an organizational and administrative structure that is conducive for ensuring collaborative efforts and interaction among the Cores and Scientific Working Groups. Additionally, the Core should coordinate and facilitate communication with other collaborating partners.
The CFAR Developmental Core provides short-term funding (e.g., 1-2 years) for HIV/AIDS specific research awards and mentoring for early career investigators. The purpose of Developmental Core awards is to support early career HIV/AIDS investigators and investigators new to the HIV/AIDS research field. These projects may encompass research to obtain preliminary data for applying to NIH funding opportunities, perform feasibility studies, and to support new and emerging science in HIV/AIDS research. Developmental awards can facilitate new strategic collaborations among faculty or institution(s) in diverse areas of science to stimulate opportunities to expand HIV/AIDS research in innovative ways. Developmental Core projects proposing clinical trials will not be permitted under this FOA.
Advanced Technology Core(s)
The CFAR Advanced Technology Core provides specialized/dedicated equipment, training, unique services, quality control, and expertise/advice for research activities that might not otherwise be accessible for HIV/AIDS research through existing resources at the institution(s). The main focus of the Core should be to drive innovation in HIV/AIDS basic research. An Advanced Technology Core can be a specialized Core that provides state-of-the-art emerging technologies such as single-cell analysis, omics, specialized immunology, CRISPR technologies, complex imaging, cryo-electron microscopy, machine learning, HIV reservoir assays, etc. Some examples might include specialized immunology, imaging, microscopy, structural biology, and others. Standard virologic and immunologic assay services may also be included if evidence can be provided that the services are in demand and will be highly utilized based on the needs of CFAR members. The Advanced Technology Core should provide economies of scale and should foster collaboration between basic and clinical investigators when applicable. The Advanced Technology Core does not substitute for resources that are obtainable commercially, or replace existing resources normally supported by individual research grants. The Core should have a clear focus, contribute to both basic and translational research and demonstrate added value. When the Core coordinates access to other institutional core services, sufficient justification should be provided on why this approach provides added value to CFAR members.
Clinical Science Core(s)
The CFAR Clinical Science Core provides resources for HIV/AIDS translational research among collaborating clinical, social and behavioral, and basic scientists. The Clinical Science Core involves direct interaction with human subjects (e.g., a single blood draw, sample and data collection, use of behavioral study instruments) or indirect interaction with human subjects (e.g., developing a database or specialized repository for unique clinical specimens). This Core provides services for investigators to develop appropriate study designs, study protocols, informed consents, and assist in obtaining requirements for human subjects research. Activities that will not be supported by a CFAR Clinical Science Core include normal patient care, such as screening of clinical specimens, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Additional Cores may be proposed if they are needed to advance the local HIV/AIDS research efforts. For example, an Implementation Science (IS) Core could be proposed at institutions making significant contributions to the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Initiative or has a growing need for IS expertise and consulting services. Some examples of additional cores could also include Social/Behavioral, Biostatistics, Data Science, Prevention, or Bioinformatics. Additional cores may be of a nature other than advanced technology or clinical.
Scientific Working Group(s)
A Scientific Working Group (SWG) is defined as a group of investigators (HIV or non-HIV) who share a common interest in a specific area of scientific focus that is critical to addressing the HIV epidemic, but is a gap or underdeveloped at the CFAR institution. The research area should not already be well-established at the CFAR institution(s). The goal of a SWG is to promote multi-disciplinary collaborations that result in successful applications for new HIV/AIDS research awards. The SWGs should address the NIH HIV/AIDS priority areas.
Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for more updates and other announcements.