Penn Center for AIDS Research

Pilot RFA


Request for Applications: CFAR Pilot Grant Program  (FY2019)

Application Deadline:  Monday, December 17th, 2018

The Penn Center for AIDS Research (Penn CFAR) invites Pilot Grant applications offered through its Developmental Core.  Proposals in all areas of HIV/AIDS clinical, basic and behavioral research are welcomed. The CFAR is especially interested in proposals that bridge programmatic areas and, in particular projects that link clinical, basic and behavioral scientists, and investigators outside the HIV/AIDS field turning their focus to projects linked with CFAR HIV/AIDS investigators.

We especially encourage proposals that address areas of particular interest, including:

  • HIV Reservoirs
  • HIV Disparities (particularly eHealth/mHealth, novel technological or biobehavioral approaches) 
  • AIDS-associated malignancies (basic to clinical, must involve some HIV-linked aspect of study)
  • Inflammation, metabolic complications, and comorbidities of HIV infection

All proposals must address high or medium priority areas in the NIH Priorities for HIV/AIDS research. ( 

These areas are:

  • Reducing the incidence of HIV/AIDS
  • Next generation of HIV therapies (better safety and ease)
  • Research toward a cure
  • HIV-associated comorbidities, coinfections, and complications
  • Cross cutting:  Basic research, health disparities, and training of workforce

Clinical Studies.  The NIH has restrictions on the type of clinical studies that can be supported by CFAR Pilot Grants. If you are planning to propose a human intervention study, please contact Developmental Core Director Pablo Tebas at so we can help ensure that your study, if approved, can be supported by CFAR.

Two types of award are available:  General Pilot Research Award, and a Mentored Research Scholar Award, further described below.

Amount:  We offer awards up to $40,000 for each grant. Grants are for a one-year period and are not renewable.  It is expected that funds will be available in July 2019. 

Application Deadline:  Monday, December 17th, 2018


General Pilot Awards: Faculty members

Eligible applicants must have a faculty appointment equivalent to Assistant Professor or Staff Scientist or above in any track at a Penn CFAR institution. For junior faculty applicants, a one-page mentorship plan with a senior faculty member is strongly encouraged; for non-HIV/AIDS investigators of any level, a partnership plan with an established HIV/AIDS investigator is also encouraged.

Mentored Research Scholar awards: Young Investigators (Non-Faculty)

Young investigators at the Instructor/Research Associate level who are poised to begin an independent project within a mentored environment are eligible, and must include a letter of support from their scientific mentor.

In addition to the above letters, a one-page mentorship plan is required.  Guidelines for the Mentorship Plan are available through the CFAR Web Site:

Please note that Post-docs and Fellows are not eligible for CFAR Mentored Research Scholar Awards or General Pilot Awards.

Pilot Awards Eligibility

  • New investigators who never have held extramural R01-level support from the NIH
  • Investigators who have not previously been funded by the NIH for work in HIV/AIDS
  • Investigators who have worked in HIV/AIDS who wish to study an area that is a significant departure from their currently funded work
  • New interdisciplinary collaborations involving investigators from different disciplines who have not previously worked together
  • If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact Developmental Core Director Dr. Pablo Tebas (

International Applications:  

  • Applications with research activities in Botswana must be discussed with and approved by Dr. Robert Gross prior to preparation of the application.
  • Applications that include planned research activities at other international sites outside the U.S. should be discussed with Dr. Pablo Tebas prior to preparation of the application.

Application Deadline:  Monday, December 17th, 2018

The required cover page and instructions can be found here.

*Note that the application should include a brief section that describes how this pilot project will lead to future independent funding.

Successful awardees will be contacted at several points throughout the project period for progress reports, mentoring activities, human subjects study record completion, and to participate in feedback seminars. Pilot recipients will be followed for a 5+ year period following the close of the award for additional NIH reporting requirements.

For further information or questions please contact:

Pablo Tebas, M.D.

Director, CFAR Developmental Core


Luis J. Montaner, D.V.M., M.Sc., D.Phil.

Co-Director, CFAR Developmental Core


Kate Gordon

Executive Director, Penn CFAR

Pre-Submission Pilot Workshop: The Pre-Application Workshop is intended to help with the preparation of pilot grant applications.  This is especially valuable for (a) junior investigators to help them craft a stronger research proposal and (b) all investigators to gain more information about the research services and resources provided through Penn CFAR Shared Resource Cores. The Pre-Submission Pilot Workshop was held on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 – 4:00 to 6:30 pm in Room 252 BRB II/III.  For more information on the Pre-Submission Workshop, please click HERE.




© The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania | Site best viewed in a supported browser. | Site Design: PMACS Web Team.