New Investigator Awards (CFAR)

Closing Date

The UW/FHCRC Center for AIDS Research Developmental Core provides funds to support New Investigator Awards (NIAs) in the area of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) related research. 

An electronic version of the 2015 RFA is available here [135K, DOC].

Types of Projects
Funding Available
Budget Development Guidelines and Restrictions
Pre-Submission Requirements
Award Requirements
Application Instructions
Review Criteria 


The purpose of this award program is to encourage junior investigators (at a senior stage of training or recently independent) to conduct independent research, acquire preliminary date to use for exogenous grant submissions, receive mentorship, and write one or more grants to obtain funding to continue their HIV/AIDS research careers.  


  1. Current UW junior faculty (including acting positions) who have not had an R01 grant in HIV/AIDS
  2. Senior post-doctoral fellows or scientists initiating a new area of research that will form a basis for their independent program
  3. Junior faculty being recruited to the UW faculty or affiliated institutions
  4. Investigators with comparable appointments at UW-affiliated institutions (e.g., Fred Hutch, Center for Infectious Disease Research, Seattle Children’s, and affiliated international institutions)
  5. Investigators at the University of Hawaii with comparable positions

 Note that applicants are required to have an MD or PhD or equivalent terminal degree in order to be eligible to apply. NIH K awards do not impact on eligibility as long as the requested funds support different items. (The research can be on the same topic.) Successful applicants usually have some preliminary data to support their application. Resubmission of revised projects by previous applicants that address critiques of prior proposal is allowed (see application instructions). Applicants are only allowed to submit one application to this program per cycle.

Types of Projects

HIV-related research is defined broadly and includes basic science, clinical, epidemiological, behavioral, and health services research.

We specifically encourage applications in the field of HIV Cure, which is one of the CFAR Scientific Working Groups.

Per NIH, we cannot fund research with investigational drugs or clinical trials. If you are considering a study involving approved drugs and/or standard-of-care, please contact Ann Collier (, cc:; 206-744-3293) to determine whether your proposed project would be eligible for funding through CFAR.

Funding Available

Awards will be up to $45,000/year (direct costs) for non-interdisciplinary applications or up to $55,000 (direct costs) for interdisciplinary projects. Applicants may apply for up to 2 years of funding. The CFAR does not have funds to cover additional indirect costs, but has negotiated indirect cost waivers with several local institutions.

The award can be used for salary, technical support, laboratory supplies, equipment, and travel costs related to the project. Be sure to read our Computer Policy if you would like to budget for a computer. Office supplies are not allowed.

Requests for Second Year of Funding: Second year funding is contingent upon demonstration of satisfactory progress during year one. Please include the second year of funding in your application budget, however.

Budget Development Guidelines and Restrictions

  1. Please note that the CFAR does not have funds to cover additional institutional indirect costs and has negotiated indirect cost waivers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Biomed, and Seattle Children’s. 
  2. Requested support for project collaborators who are NOT at the same institution as the awardee should be listed as consultant costs.  If the collaborator cannot accept consultancy fees, a subcontract must be issued to their institution.  These costs must be listed in the detailed budget as consortium costs with applicable indirect costs included, which will count towards the direct costs limit. Please note that the UW has negotiated indirect cost waivers with several local partner institutions (See guideline 1 above.)
  3. Requested support for equipment and technology, including computers, must be fully justified in the budget justification with a clear connection to the scientific aspects of the project and not for general office use. Be sure to read our Computer Policy if you would like to budget for a computer.
  4. Tuition, fees and stipends for graduate students are allowable within the following guidelines:
    1. Total compensation (salary, fringe, and tuition/fees) cannot exceed $42,000. (NOT-OD-14-046)
  5. Costs associated with Institutional Review Board (IRB) review of human research protocols, or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) review of animal research protocols, are not allowable as direct charges.
  6. All costs must conform to the NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS) and applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget OMB circulars for necessity and reasonability, allocability, conformance and consistency, as well as allowability. Please follow the link below to section 7.2 cost principles section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Other Information

Interdisciplinary Proposals: Multidisciplinary projects are encouraged and are defined as involving 2 or more investigators that have differing areas of expertise or different research focuses, e.g. applicant and a co-investigator with differing areas of expertise or applicant plus 1-2 co-mentors with at least one of the co-mentors having different expertise than the applicant (at least one mentor must be faculty at UW or a UW affiliated institution). The applicant must provide a rationale in the online submission as to why the applicant considers the project to be interdisciplinary. 

Mentoring: It is strongly recommended that applicants identify a mentor while preparing their application. If needed, please contact Dr. Collier to provide suggestions for possible mentors. A statement from the applicant’s primary mentor that they have read and discussed the application with the applicant must accompany the application (should be included in the letter of support from the mentor). Please note that a Mentoring Committee will be formed for successful applicants to provide guidance for their career development and to assess progress of each NIA awardee at least annually.


Human Subjects and Animal Care Approvals: Animal Care and Institutional Review Board approvals, if applicable, must be obtained prior to receipt of award funding, but are not required to submit an application.


Use of CFAR Resources: We encourage all applicants to use or contact CFAR Cores or link to CFAR Scientific Working Groups. Several cores and scientific working groups have explicitly offered their consultations services (see Consultation Information below). Information about other CFAR cores and services can be found at

Pre-Submission Requirements

Required for All Applicants

Biostatistical Consultation: All applicants are required to discuss their proposal with one of CFAR’s biostatisticians prior to/during the preparation of their application. This consultation is best done early in the preparation process but must occur before July 13, 2015. Sometimes the detailed discussion requirement is waived for those with prior biostatistical involvement or review of their projects or because a biostatistical consultation is not relevant for the project.

  • If you are a local investigator, please contact Lauren Sterling (; subject: NIA Biostats Consultation) before July 6, 2015 to schedule your biostatistical review or to request a waiver. There will be a limited number of time slots available for you to schedule your in-person consultation. You will be required to submit a draft of your methods 48 hours before your consultation.
  • If you are an international investigator, please send a copy of your draft methods to Lauren Sterling (, and she will arrange your written consultation with a CFAR biostatistician.

CFAR Membership: All applicants are required to be CFAR Members. Information about membership can be found at or by contacting Linh Nguyen (

Letter of Intent: Email Lauren Sterling ( a non-binding “email of intent” listing proposed Principal Investigator, Project Title, Mentor(s), and names of collaborators by July 13, 2015. Please also include names and contact information of at least two non-conflicted senior reviewers from outside the Seattle area for your proposal. 

Required for Some Applicants

International Applicants: International applicants must obtain approval that they are eligible to apply prior to development of their proposal. They should send an up to date NIH biosketch or curriculum vitae for review to Lauren Sterling (; cc:; Subject: NIA International Applicant Eligibility Check) no later than July 13, 2015 (preferred by July 6, 2015). 

Institutional Approval for non-UW Applicants: Applicants from other institutions should prepare and submit a NIH 398 face page, with concurrence from their institution’s business official. UW applicants do not need departmental, school, or Office of Sponsored Programs signatures. For more information, contact Lauren Sterling (; 206-744-8876) prior to the development of their proposal and no later than July 13, 2015

Consultation Information

These consultations are best done early in the preparation process but no later than July 13, 2015.


Administrative Consultation: Applicants from all (including UW) institutions are strongly encouraged to consult with the Program Manager about their budgets to clarify budgetary issues. Please send a draft copy of your budget and justification to Lauren Sterling at

Curative Therapies for HIV Study Consultation: Applicants proposing a study in HIV cure have the opportunity to have an expert from the Curative Therapies for HIV Scientific Working Group consult with them regarding their study. In order to receive this consultation, applicants should contact Tom Andrus at

Substance Abuse and HIV/STI Study Consultation: Applicants proposing a study in the field of substance abuse and HIV/STI have the opportunity to have an expert from the Substance Abuse and HIV/STI Scientific Working Group consult with them regarding their study. In order to receive this consultation, applicants should contact Dennis Donovan at

International Study Consultation: International applicants have the option of receiving an International Core Consultation to help evaluate their study design. In order to receive this consultation, applicants must email a draft of their application to Julia Dettinger at

Health Economics Consultation: Applicants using Health Economic Methods have the options of receiving a Health Economics Impact Study Team Consultation to help their study design. In order to receive this consultation, applicants must email a draft of their application to Julia Dettinger at

Sociobehavioral Study Consultation: Applicants performing behavioral or qualitative research have the opportunity to have an expert from the Sociobehavioral and Prevention Research Core consult with them regarding their study design. In order to receive this consultation, applicants must email a draft of their application to the Sociobehavioral Core Manager.

Clinical Research Study Consultation: Those proposing clinical, translational or basic research projects that require access to local research subjects, clinical specimens/procedures or viral assays such as droplet PCR, 2LTR, single copy RNA tests and proviral DNA measurements may contact the Clinical and Retrovirology Research Core to discuss their proposal. Applicants should contact the Core Manager Michalina Montano ( with a short description of the study and requested resources for assistance.

Immunological Study Consultation: Applicants proposing an immunology or other appropriate basic research study have the opportunity to have an expert from the Immunology Core consult with them regarding their experimental design. In order to receive this consultation, applicants should contact Stephen De Rosa at

Implementation Science Study Consultation: Applicants proposing a study in the field of implementation science have the opportunity to have an expert from the Implementation Science Working Group consult with them regarding their study. In order to receive this consultation, applicants should contact Kenny Sherr at

Computational Biology and Molecular Profiling Consultation: Applicants proposing a study involving sequence based assays have the opportunity to have an expert from the Molecular Profiling and Computational Biology core consult with them regarding their study. To receive this consultation, applicants should send a brief email to including a few sentences describing, briefly, the nature of your questions and your contact information.

Community Action Board Consultation: Applicants proposing to conduct research with human subjects, especially local and/or underserved communities, are encouraged to consult with the CFAR Community Action Board (CAB). Other applicants are welcome to consult with the CAB, also. This consultation can occur at the monthly CAB meeting on June 22nd or on an ad hoc basis. The CAB can advise on the acceptability and feasibility of research methods in underserved communities, as well as discuss implementation and research dissemination strategies (more information: In order to receive your consultation, please contact Joanna Bove at


Award Requirements

Human Subjects and Animal Care Approvals: Prior to funding, a copy of all Institutional Biohazard, Animal Care and IRB approvals must be forwarded to the CFAR Program Manager. If the project involves human subjects and the institutional IRB has deemed the study “greater than minimal risk”, the awardee must submit a Clinical Research Checklist to the CFAR Program Manager before funding is released. Proposals involving either international sites or clinical research above minimal risk will require additional clearance from NIH prior to receipt of an award, which includes IRB approval from all participating sites and human subjects training certification for all key personnel. It is recommended that if your study is minimal risk or below and linked to a non-minimal risk study, you apply for independent approval by the UW IRB – this will expedite the regulatory approval process.

Mentoring Committee and Agreement: Awardees will draw up a brief written agreement with their mentor and identify members of the mentoring committee.

Reporting and Presentation Requirements: Awardees will be required to submit yearly progress reports to the CFAR and make an oral presentation at the annual UW AIDS & STD Research Symposium. The chair of the mentoring committee will also be required to submit a brief progress report annually before Year 2 funding can be received.

CFAR Support: CFAR support (P30 AI027757) must be acknowledged in all publications and presentations derived from CFAR funding (see:

Other Support: In the event that pending other support is funded which overlaps with or reduces your effort on this CFAR project, you must notify the CFAR Program Manager. Your funding status will be reviewed and if it is determined that you are unable to meet the specific aims of your CFAR proposal, the CFAR award will be revoked.

Post-Award Requirements: After project is completed, awardees need to agree to provide contact information and respond to annual queries about publications, collaborations and future grants related to the CFAR project.


Application Instructions

After completing all pre-submission requirements, submit the following in one PDF (preferred) or MS Word file by 5:00 p.m. PDT July 20, 2015 to Please note that there are several questions on the submission form that you will need to answer in order to submit your application. They are listed below the proposal information so that you can prepare your answers ahead of time.

The full proposal will be on PHS 398 forms and should follow a modified NIH investigator initiated grant application (R01) format (For more resources see: with the modifications listed below). The Research Plan (Specific Aims through Approach) is limited to 4 pages (Bibliography and References Cited sections do not count toward the page limit). No appendices are allowed. Do not submit Targeted/Planned Enrollment Tables. Submit a detailed budget, not a modular budget.  

  1. Face Page: (PHS 398 Form page 1 - Download: MS Word or PDF) Institutional sign-off for Non-UW applicants required.
  2. Project Summary Page: (PHS 398 Form page 2 - Download: MS Word or PDF)
  3. Detailed budget for first 12 month period: (PHS 398 Form page 4 - Download: MS Word or PDF)
  4. Complete 2-year budget and justification: (PHS 398 Form page 5 - Download: MS Word or PDF)
  5. Resources page (PHS 398 Format - Download: MS Word or PDF; maximum length 1 page)
  6. Biographical Sketch for the NIA applicant (PHS 398 Format - Download: MS Word or PDF)
    • Please use section A to answer the question: How will the CFAR NIA prepare you for a career as an independent HIV/AIDS investigator?
  7. Biographical Sketch for NIA mentor only (Either PHS 398 Format or SF424 Format acceptable)
  8. Research Plan (Maximum 4 pages for a-d below). Use PHS 398 Continuation Format pages (Download: MS Word or PDF).
    1. Specific Aims (suggested length ½ page)
    2. Significance (suggested length 1 page)
    3. Innovation (suggested length ½ page)
    4. Approach (suggested length 2 pages)
  9. Bibliography and References cited (as needed)
  10. Protection of Human Subjects (if applicable; maximum 1 page)
  11. Vertebrate Animals (if applicable; maximum 1 page)
  12. Mentor’s Letter of Support (should include the statement “I have read and discussed this application with _____ and am supportive of its submission.”)
  13. Letters of support (Only allowed from collaborators essential to the proposed project. Biosketches are not requested for collaborators.)

Additional Information Requested in the Online Submission Form:

Topic Key Words (5-10)
Justification for Interdisciplinary Award (if applicable)
Suggested Reviewers (2 non-Seattle, non-conflicted investigators required)

Resubmission Information
- Previous application title and date submitted
- Major changes from the prior application
- Your response to the reviewer’s comments from your prior submission
- Any other information relevant to the resubmission

Review Criteria

The evaluation criteria for proposals include:

  • Scientific Merit of the proposal and the likelihood of the project to exert a sustained powerful influence on the field. Will this proposal be likely to provide information that can significantly advance our understanding of HIV and/or provide preliminary data that is likely to lead towards independent research grant funding?
  • Significance – Does the study address an important problem consistent with the objective to advance our understanding of HIV?  If the aims are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced?  What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive the field of HIV and AIDS?
  • Investigator – Are the PI, mentor(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? Does this person have appropriate experience and training? If the project is collaborative, do the investigators/mentors have complementary expertise? 
  • Approach – Are the conceptual framework, design methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated and appropriate to the aims of the project?   Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternatives?
  • Innovation – Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches, or methods?  Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?
  • Impact of Project on Pathway to Independence – Will the project help prepare the applicant for a career as an independent HIV/AIDS researcher? Will the proposed mentorship aid in the investigator’s career development?