Call for New/Recompeting Cores and New Scientific Working Group Concept Proposals

Dear CFAR Community:

In preparation for our CFAR renewal due next summer, we are inviting Core and Scientific Working Group (SWG) Concept Proposals to determine the structure of the CFAR starting in Fall 2022. Existing cores will be recompeted, and we are inviting the broader CFAR community to submit their ideas for new CFAR Cores or SWGs. A link to a full call for these proposals is here.

The timeline for this process is below, with key deadlines starred:

Sept 9, 2020: Call for New/Recompeting Cores or Scientific Working Group Concept Proposals released
*September 29, 2020: Letter of intent (one-page) due about intent to recompete core or propose new core/SWG (will inform by October 5, 2020 if the proposed SWG/core is not eligible for internal or external CFAR reasons)
*November 16, 2020: Concept Proposal Applications Due
Nov-Dec 2020: Concept Proposals reviewed by CFAR leadership and advisory board(s)
Jan 2021 (first week): Final decisions made
Jan-April 2021: CFAR leadership will work with proposal leaders on the text for the renewal application from each core/SWG to be finalized for the application by April 2021

Of note, under the new organizational structure of the CFAR for 2022, we will have cross-cutting areas or domains that cut across all of the cores/SWGs. The three CFAR Cross-Cutting areas include training, disparities (including diversity, equity, and inclusion), and international work. This does not mean that a disparities or international core/SWG should not be proposed; this means that each core/SWG proposal should include text on how your core/SWG will address each of these three cross-cutting areas. As you can see in the detailed call, we will also ask you to list both senior and junior leadership when you recompete your core as approved by our IAB and in line with best practices.

For more information and definitions, please see the linked full announcement, including specific instructions for both Core/SWG concept proposals and the information extracted below.

Please feel free to contact me or Lauren Sterling ([email protected]) with any questions on this process. Please read the instructions carefully as we spent time in developing time and ask us questions anytime! We look forward to receiving your proposals.

Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH
UCSF-Gladstone CFAR Director

Lauren Sterling
UCSF-Gladstone CFAR Associate Director
Cell (call or text for urgent questions): 206-579-0834


A Core is a shared research facility that provides shared resources to the HIV research community to enhance, increase, improve or stimulate research activities beyond what is available through standard NIH research grants. Cores should have a clear focus, support a broad community of investigators in the HIV research community (across the general disciplines of basic/translational research, clinical research, and sociobehavioral research), and demonstrate added value. Activities vary, but can include access to specialized equipment, expert consultation on research methods or study designs, training activities, the provision of other types of services, among others. On average, Core budgets range from ~$90K-200K per year.

A Scientific Working Group (SWG) is 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. The goal of a SWG is to promote multi-disciplinary collaborations that result in successful applications for new HIV/AIDS research awards and subsequent scientific contributions. Examples of working group aims/activities include but are not limited to: providing scientific leadership, promoting collaborative and interdisciplinary research, facilitating procurement of funding for relevant projects, assistance with faculty recruitment, mentoring, training, sponsoring events such as conferences or workshops, curriculum development. Typically, SWG budgets range from ~$30K-50K per year and include salary for the SWG Directors as well as a small amount of funding for activities.


The UCSF-Gladstone Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) will be submitting our renewal proposal in July 2021, likely under a new name to be inclusive of all of our CFAR affiliates. The current structure of the Center includes two required cores (Administrative and Developmental Cores) and additional cores and Scientific Working Groups (SWGs) that reflect our Center's priorities and expertise. In brief, besides the Administrative and Developmental Cores, we have 5 additional cores: Health Disparities Core, Clinical and Population Science Core, Immunology Core, Specimen Banking Core, Pharmacology Core. We have only one active Scientific Working Group (Implementation Science Working Group) and are about to launch a new HIV and COVID-19 Scientific Working Group at the UCSF-Gladstone CFAR (the call for leadership for both of these SWGs was released August 31, 2020 in our Director’s note and the applications for leadership are due October 12, 2020 ). Appendix A of this document details the cores more in full and the current specific aims and cross-cutting priorities of the UCSF-Gladstone CFAR.

As a part of the strategic planning process, we are inviting Concept Proposals for New Cores and SWGs and mandating Concept proposals for Recompeting Cores to be reviewed by CFAR leadership, Internal Advisory Board members as indicated, and external reviewers as needed. Note that we are not seeking Concept Proposals for the Administrative and Developmental Cores, as those are mandated by the funding announcement. If the Center’s renewal application is successful, the new grant will begin in September 2022


The UCSF-Gladstone CFAR is one of 17 CFARs funded nationally by the National Institutes of Health. Our CFAR, through our Cores and SWGs, provides added value to HIV research efforts at our partner institutions (UCSF, the Gladstone Institutes, SFDPH, SFVAMC, and the Vitalant Research Institute, as well as our collaborating international institutions) by supporting activities that cannot easily be provided through standard research awards. CFARs should promote and encourage collaboration and coordination of research aligned with the NIH HIV/AIDS priority topics for AIDS-designated funds. CFAR Core aims and services should address the needs of affiliated HIV investigators and be inclusive of the full range of funded HIV research to the broadest extent possible. For more information about the National CFAR Program, including the mission of the program overall, please see the NIH CFAR Program website. For more background information on the UCSF-Gladstone CFAR, please see Appendix A: Current UCSF-Gladstone CFAR Mission, Specific Aims, and Core/SWG Configuration. All of these were originally developed for the 2016 renewal application and will be updated in 2021.

Supporting Documentation:

Applicants should review the following back-up documentation when formulating their concept proposals:

  1. Call for Recompeting and New Cores and SWGs, including specific concept proposal instructions for both Cores and SWGs + Appendix A: Current UCSF-Gladstone CFAR Cross-Cutting Priorities, Mission, Specific Aims, and Core/SWG Configuration
  2. Current CFAR Program Announcement:
  3. FY21-25 NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research: