Pilot Award

The Pilot Award Program for Investigators New to HIV is aimed for Investigators New to HIV (assistant or associate faculty, including clinical) without past or current HIV/SIV funding with an innovative research idea in translational, clinical, and/or behavioral-epidemiological, HIV/AIDS research. Pilot awards are typically used to initiate a project or to gather preliminary data and findings leading to a future grant application. International research projects are allowed. Some topics of current high interest include HIV and aging-inflammation, latency, cure, vaccines, co-infections, implementation science, HIV in women, and research related to health disparities in HIV-infected and HIV-impacted Bay Area populations.

NOTE: Projects must be within NIH’s HIV/AIDS research high or medium priority areas. NIH does not allow CFAR to fund clinical trials or human use of an investigational drug. If you are considering a study involving a clinical intervention (e.g. approved drugs and/or standard-of-care), please contact Brenda Sanchez with a brief description of your study (brenda.sanchez@ucsf.edu, cc: lauren.sterling@ucsf.edu) to determine whether your proposed project would be eligible for funding through CFAR.  

Applications must be submitted via the RAP website by February 27, 2:00 PM PT. Questions about proposal submission and review process contact rap.ucsf.edu.

Funding Opportunity, Eligibility, Apply to RAP 

  • Term: 1 year
  • Number of awards: Dependent on available funding
  • Award amount: $50,000 in direct costs
  • Deadline: February 27 at 2 PM
  • To Apply: Apply by the deadline of February 27 at 2 PM to the RAP website additional information can be found at (http://rap.ucsf.edu/how-apply)
  • Eligibility: Faculty members at the level of Assistant or Associate Professor level at UCSF or our affiliated partner institutes. (http://cfar.ucsf.edu/about/partners) may apply. Faculty members may apply only if they are newly entering the field of HIV research. Investigators are not eligible for CFAR Pilot Funding if they have received any past HIV research funding from any agency. NOTE: Eligibility requirements need to be met as of date of submission; no waivers are allowed.
  • K-Awardees: Current K awardees can provide complementary effort on the CFAR without salary within their remaining 25%. The mentored CDA must also maintain the 75% on the K. All K awardees should consult with their program officer to make sure they will allow this exception. For additional questions contact Lauren Sterling, CFAR Managing Director at Lauren.Sterling@ucsf.edu.
  • International Components: CFAR-funded research conducted in an international setting must have both UCSF and international institution CHR approval and must be approved by the NIH before funding will be released to the awardees institution via subcontract at UCSF.
  • Progress reports: Will be due to the CFAR Program office at six months and at the end of the project period.
  • Carry-forwards: Carry forwards are not guaranteed and must be fully justified. If this application is awarded, indirect costs at appropriate rates will be added to the total direct costs.

Designation of Research Mentor

All pilot award applications from individuals at the Assistant Professor level or below require an HIV research mentor, and faculty at the Associate Professor level are recommended to find an HIV research mentor or collaborator. CFAR strongly recommends seeking your research mentor’s support to advise and guide the research portion of your application before submitting it to RAP.

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications

Completed applications which meet eligibility requirements will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate review committee convened by the UCSF Resource Allocation Program in accordance with NIH review criteria: 1. Significance, 2. Approach, 3. Innovation, 4. Investigator, 5. Environment. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall application score.

CFAR Research Resources

Awardees are encouraged to use one or more support services from our CFAR research resources:

  • Implementation Science Scientific Working Group: Applicants proposing a study in the field of implementation science are required to have an expert from the new Implementation Science Working Group consult with them regarding their study. Send an email with a brief study description to Elvin Geng, SWG Director (elvin.geng@ucsf.edu).
  • Clinical and Population Sciences Core: Steven Deeks, MD & Jeff Martin, MD, MPH, Directors; (SDeeks@php.ucsf.edu; martin@psg.ucsf.edu).
  • Immunology Core: Jeffrey Milush, PhD, Director (Jeffrey.Milush@ucsf.edu)
  • Virology Core: Teri Liegler, PhD; Joseph Wong, MD, Directors;
    (TLiegler@sfgh.ucsf.edu;  joseph.wong2@va.gov).
  • Specimen Bank Core: Richard Jordan, DDS, PhD & Yvonne DeSouza, MS, Directors (richard.jordan@ucsf.eduYvonne.DeSouza@ucsf.edu).
  • Pharmacology Core: Francesca Aweeka, Director (FAweeka@sfghsom.ucsf.edu)
  • Health Disparities Core: Applicants proposing to conduct research with human subjects, especially local and/or underserved communities, are encouraged to consult with the Health Disparities Core. Send an email with a brief study description to Lauren Sterling, Managing Director (lauren.sterling@ucsf.edu) to receive this consultation.


Same research topic with an amended application or research plan rather than a new research topic and new research plan. Requirements: Please use up to one extra page to introduce your revised proposal, addressing the issues raised in the review, and any additional changes to your proposal. A new letter from the Chair is not required if the resubmission is within 2 cycles (one skipped cycle max). You will include the old letter and state your resubmission is within 2 cycles and new letter is not required. Make sure the new changes are highlighted in bold or italic font so the reviewers can easily see where and how the proposal has changed. Do NOT use track changes.

(Please note under the RAP funding portal your award could be co-funded by two or more agencies, each requiring separate accounts and documentation).

​Program Contact

Should you have any questions regarding submission or reporting procedures, please contact Brenda Sanchez, CFAR Core Development Manager, at Brenda.sanchez@ucsf.edu

Pilot Awardees