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CFAR Stephaun Elite Wallace Community Investigator Awards


The purpose of the UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)’s Stephaun Elite Wallace Community Investigator Awards (referred to as the Wallace Awards) are to grow capacity for community-led HIV research with funding, mentoring and educational support for community leaders. The Wallace Awards are also intended to facilitate community-based organization (CBO)-CFAR member connections and collaborations.   

This award honors the founding Director of the UW/Fred Hutch CFAR Office of Community Engagement (OCE), Dr. Stephaun Elite Wallace. Dr. Wallace was a scientist, social justice advocate, leader in the LBGTQIA+ Ballroom community, and champion of community-led research. This award would not be possible without the staunch advocacy and vision of Dr. Wallace. 

The Wallace Awards are led by the OCE, with the CFAR Developmental Core providing operational support and funding of $5,000-$20,000 per award for 1-2 years.  Project awards will scale proportional to the complexity and duration of the proposed work.  

Projects should contribute to advancing the CFAR’s overall mission of advancing knowledge in clinical, epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of HIV and comorbidities. Projects may be traditional or non-traditional research (see “Types of Projects” below).  

The awardees of a Wallace Award will be offered prioritized consideration for CFAR training opportunities.  Wallace Award recipients will also be afforded access to UW/Fred Hutch CFAR resources, including the UW library system, public health-focused workshops/webinars, and select courses taught by CFAR researchers while completing their projects. 

For more information about this program and the application process, download 2024 CFAR Wallace Award Request for Applications (RFA): MS Word or PDF.


Wallace Awards RFA

REQUIRED Non-Binding Letter of Intent Form (includes eligibility check details): May 30, 2024

Mentor Match Finalized: June 30, 2024

Consultation Appointments Window Opens: June 15, 2024

  • REQUIRED: Data Science and Methods Core Consultation
  • REQUIRED: Office of Community Engagement Consultation
  • REQUIRED: Budget Consultation
  • OPTIONAL: Other Core/Scientific Working Group

Deadline for Consultation Requests: August 31, 2024

Data Science & Methods, Budget, and Office of Community Engagement Feedback Window Ends: October 3, 2024

Application Deadline: November 1, 2024

Eligible applicants must be actively involved in and have a strong commitment to community-based HIV work in Washington State as either a leader, staff member, volunteer, or research collaborator of a community-based organization. Eligible applicants must be employees of the organization receiving Wallace Award funding or have long-standing relationship with that organization. Individuals whose primary professional affiliation is with the University of Washington, Fred Hutch, or other affiliated academic institutions are not eligible.

Eligible applicants include those with a high school diploma/GED or some college experience (including associate and bachelor’s degrees), associate degrees, relevant professional certifications, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Applicants with terminal degrees (MDs, PhDs, JDs) are not eligible. Current HIV investigators are also ineligible.

UW/Fred Hutch CFAR values diversity and encourages individuals from underrepresented groups to apply.

Applicants may submit only one application to this program per cycle.

Contact if you have questions about eligibility.

There are two kinds of projects that can be accepted for this award, defined broadly as traditional research projects and nontraditional research projects. 

In scientific inquiry, we often distinguish between traditional research projects and their nontraditional counterparts. While traditional research projects conform to conventional methodologies and topics within a discipline, nontraditional research projects venture into areas less recognized but intrinsically connected to the overarching aims of HIV research.  

Traditional research projects in the realm of HIV research are typically characterized by their focus on biomedical investigations, basic science, clinical, epidemiological, behavioral and implementation science research. These endeavors are aimed at understanding the pathophysiology of HIV, developing new treatments, vaccines, or cures, and studying the virus’s transmission dynamics. 

A nontraditional HIV research project may not be immediately identifiable as typical “research,” yet it: 

  • Contributes to the overall knowledge and understanding of HIV science and/or service implementation.   
  • Offers vital support to both HIV research initiatives, researchers, or research participants themselves. 
  • Enhances the capacity for conducting HIV-related research or establishing collaborative efforts. 
  • Expands the scope of who is involved in conducting research, notably incorporating members from unrepresented communities affected by HIV. 
  • Prioritizes the interests and issues critical to the community. 

Examples of Research Projects 

The HIV-related research projects funded under this award can take various forms, such as: 

  • Enhancing PrEP/TasP uptake in priority populations 
  • Uncovering factors that can increase HIV testing 
  • Understanding and developing tools to address HIV vaccine hesitancy;  
  • Communicating about HIV cure research priorities and methods;  
  • Assessing the need and design for low barrier care models; 
  • Increasing capacity for community engagement and related projects; 
  • Providing training to researchers to liaise between the community and the research community; 
  • Simplifying complex scholarly articles for broader public comprehension; 
  • Organizing workshops that equip individuals with essential research skills; 
  • Understanding facilitators/barriers to medication adherence; 
  • Strengthening patient-provider relationships to increase health outcomes; 
  • Evaluating programs to determine their effectiveness and impact; 
  • Disseminating research findings or updates from recent conferences; 
  • Creating community-friendly research materials or social media platforms; 
  • Executing community surveys, focus groups, or qualitative interviews to gather first-hand data; 
  • Innovating with new technologies, for instance, developing applications or chatbots to facilitate research processes; 
  • Hosting research-related events with community, policy makers, health agencies and researchers; 
  • Authoring conference abstracts submitted and presented, or manuscripts submitted and presented.  

Nontraditional research projects hold significant promise for redressing imbalances within the realms of equity—be it racial, gender, or socioeconomic—and representation in HIV investigation. These innovative approaches serve as powerful tools to mitigate HIV disparities observed in healthcare, medicine, and public health. By broadening the spectrum of researchers and engaging diverse communities, nontraditional research projects not only may enrich the field of HIV research but also may amplify its relevance and reach. 

Additional Considerations 

  1. We can only accept applications related to the NIH’s HIV research high or medium priority areas. Please contact with questions about whether your proposal qualifies.  Also, please review the additional guidelines below.
  2. Projects that cannot be funded through the CFAR include: 
  3. Projects that can be funded via CFAR but require additional NIH review if selected for an award. Please note that this review can take several months to complete, delaying the project start. 
    • Studies involving new ways of using known drugs, treatments, or devices (allowed on a case-by-case basis) 
    • Studies that are deemed above minimal risk by the Institutional IRB 
    • Studies involving vulnerable populations  
    • Studies with populations with additional considerations for confidentiality and safety (transgender, sex workers, refugees, etc.) Studies involving behavioral interventions (above minimal risk)
  4. Projects that do not require additional NIH review
    • Research activities that do not include vulnerable populations (see Category 3.c. above) and present no more than minimal risk to human participants as described in the OHRP Expedited Review Categories. Examples include but are not limited to the following: 
      • Routine blood draws 
      • Non-invasive procedures routinely employed in clinical practice (e.g. ultrasound, MRI) 
      • Surveys, focus groups 

To achieve the Wallace Awards’ goal of growing capacity for local community-led HIV research, an important hallmark of the program is that community investigators will receive mentoring from academic researchers in preparing and executing their proposal. We view mentorship as non-hierarchical shared learning that is guided by the needs of the mentee. The CFAR OCE and Developmental Core will assist applicants in identifying a mentor for their project, based on information submitted by the community investigator in their interest form (including goals of the proposed project, mentorship areas, and mentor preferences identified by the community investigator). Community investigators are also welcome to identify their own mentor, with approval from the CFAR OCE and Developmental Core. Mentors must be appointed at a US-based affiliate of the UW/Fred Hutch CFAR [University of Washington, Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s, Access to Advanced Health Institute, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa].  

The primary mentor is expected to meet with the community investigator throughout the application process and give substantive input on the application, as well as provide mentorship and support throughout the project. Each Wallace Award submission must include a letter of support from the applicant’s primary CFAR-appointed mentor. In addition to this mentor, a CBO-based mentor at the organization where the work will be conducted is strongly encouraged. Additional mentors may be identified prior to submission. Mentors must provide a letter of support stating they have read and discussed the proposal with the applicant as part of the full application. The CFAR can provide resources to support the mentoring relationship throughout the project, including providing example mentoring agreements.  The CFAR will also aim to provide successful awardees with professional development and capacity-building opportunities to further their success. 

Awards will be $5,000-$20,000 total (direct costs) per year for 1 to 2year projects. Project awards will scale proportional to the complexity and duration of the proposed work. 

Please note that the pre-submission process is designed to support applicants in strengthening their proposal and success if selected for an award. Pre-submission requirements include the following:

  1. Non-Binding Letter of Intent – Submit by May 30, 2024
  2. 3 Required Consultations – Request by August 31, 2024
    • Office of Community Engagement (OCE) Consultation
    • Data Science and Methods Core Consultation
    • Budget Consultation

Only applicants who have fulfilled the pre-submission requirements will be considered during the application review phase. Please refer to the RFA for detailed instructions on pre-submission requirements, and contact with questions.

Wallace Award Information Session and Q&A Recording:



Please contact with any questions.