Request for Applications — UCLA-CDU CFAR and UCLA AIDS Institute — HIV Research Pilot Projects


HIV Research

The UCLA-CDU CFAR and the UCLA AIDS Institute are accepting applications for pilot projects to fund HIV-related research with an emphasis on supporting new investigators and established investigators who are new to HIV research. Each applicant should involve an experienced HIV researcher, for the purpose of guidance and building a fruitful collaboration leading to future competitive funding. 

Maximum request per applicant:  $60,000  

Deadline for receipt of Letters of Intent:  August 29, 2022 

Applicants whose Letters of Intent are favorably reviewed will be invited to submit a formal proposal. Formal proposals will then be due by October 31, 2022.

The project period will be up to two years, with the earliest start date of January 1, 2023.

Investigator Eligibility

  • Applicants must fit criteria as NIH defined Early Stage and New Investigators, or be an established investigator in another area who has not had R01 or equivalent funding in HIV research.
  • All NIH defined Early Stage and New Investigators must justify a career path to independence, especially if the applicant does not have lab space assigned in their name in the Letter of Intent.
  • All applicants must have a Co-Investigator (without salary) with a track record of peer-reviewed HIV-1 funding; a list of some (but not all) qualifying co-investigators and their areas of expertise can be found here.
  • Projects that plan to enroll participants in Los Angeles must identify a community-based organization with a demonstrated background as HIV/AIDS content expert with which they will partner or that will serve in a consulting role.
  • Qualifying applicants in all series levels are eligible to apply for this funding mechanism as long as the faculty member has UCLA or CDU Principal Investigator Status or is eligible for an exemption per UCLA Policy 900: Principal Investigator Eligibility. If qualifying via an exemption, you will need to submit a letter from your Department Chair verifying eligibility.

Funding Criteria/Guidelines

  • Projects focused on any aspect of HIV research from all research disciplines will be considered, with priority on innovation and prospects for growth into a competitive program for future outside funding, and career development for new investigators.
  • Proposals should outline clearly how research funded by the pilot project could be translated into a larger project, particularly an NIH R01 level grant, an R34, an R21 or equivalent funded by a non-governmental source (e.g., amfAR, CIRM, pharmaceutical company, or private foundation). 
    • Involvement of the HIV research-experienced Co-Investigator in the application must delineate their contributions of the project in terms of areas such as conceptual guidance, technical/methodologic guidance, assistance with other collaborations, career development mentorship, etc.
  • Evidence of investigator productivity will be considered during the review. This includes, but is not limited to, evidence of ongoing application for outside funding by PI, funding received as a result of any previous CFAR pilot project, and PI publication record, especially if applicant is a previous CFAR pilot project recipient.
  • Extra consideration will be given to projects that address and/or have clear implications for issues of equity, diversity.
  • Competitive applications with collaborations between multi-sites of UCLA-CDU CFAR affiliated institutions (Harbor-UCLA, VAGLAHS, UCLA Vine Street Clinic, UCLA CARE Center, MLK OASIS Clinic, Drew CARES, etc.) will be prioritized for funding. 

Applications not meeting the above criteria will be returned without review. 

  • Although IRB approval is not required prior to application, release of funding will be contingent on receipt of IRB approval for proposed project.
  • Please note that human subjects younger than 18 are classified as children (per NIH guidelines) and additional approvals such as informed consent will be required before funding can be released.
  • No indirect costs may be included.
  • Pilot projects will be reviewed by a peer-review committee comprised of UCLA / CDU faculty and community advisory board members.
  • Annual progress reports and end of project reports will be required.
  • The UCLA-CDU CFAR must be acknowledged in all publications and presentations regarding the successfully-funded project.
  • Funds will be transferred to successful applicants after all appropriate approvals (IRB, ARC, human subjects certification etc.) have been provided.

UCLA-CDU CFAR Core facilities are available, on a recharge basis: 

  • Core C: Centralized Laboratory Support
    (Grace Aldrovandi,
    Provide laboratory expertise or lab space and instrumentation to carry out virologic, immunologic, and microbiome/genomics studies.
  • Core D: Humanized Mouse and Gene Therapy
    (Scott Kitchen,
    Provides humanized mice, access to BSL2+ vivarium facilities, expertise in humanized mouse models, and further development of improved humanized mouse models.
  • Core E: Community Engagement and Clinical Informatics
    (Homero del Pino,
    Provides advanced clinical informatics analytic support to public health and community providers and clinics in Los Angeles who are on the frontline of the epidemic.
  • Core F: Clinical Science
    (Kara Chew,
    Provide a single portal of collated services to support investigators and promote rapid study implementation, foster scientific collaboration, and expand training opportunities for new investigators, while efficiently leveraging existing NIH-funded resources at UCLA.
  • SWG: Translational Research on Substance Use
    (Pamina Gorbach,
    Provide assistance in developing novel assessment tools that take into consideration barriers to social determinants of health, as well as interpersonal, cultural, and societal influences linked with substance use and misuse among people living with HIV (PWH) or are at risk.

Instructions for Letters of Intent 

Letters of intent must be no longer than 2 pages, and must include the following:

  • Name, degrees, and full contact information (email, phone, mailing address) of PI and co-investigator(s)
  • Justification of eligibility including discussion of career path to independence if appropriate as outlined above
  • Letter from Department Chair if required per Investigator Eligibility
  • Brief summary of the proposed research project
  • Brief summary of PI/co-investigator experience conducting similar research
  • Total amount of funding requested
  • NIH biosketches of PI/Co-Investigator(s) (does not count towards the 2-page limit)

Letters of intent must be received by August 29, 2022 via email to: 

Instructions for formal proposals will then be forwarded to applicants whose letters of intent are approved. Formal proposals will then be due by October 31, 2022

Successful applicant PIs must provide their NIH Commons ID number. During the award period and for up to ten years post-award, awardees must provide the following information to the UCLA-CDU CFAR by November 30th of each year:
(1) all publications that resulted from CFAR -supported research with PubMed ID, and
(2) all PHS and non-PHS federal support that contributed to or resulted from the CFAR-supported research. 

Questions about eligibility, letters of intent, or formal proposals can be directed to 

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