CFAR International Research Award Program Application Guidance and Instructions
The Providence/Boston CFAR International Research Award Program offers initial, pilot, and community engaged research awards to international investigators who are faculty members at selected Universities (noted below) in Kenya, Philippines, and South Africa. Each of these Universities have a strong, existing academic affiliation with Brown and/or Boston Universities.
- Kenya – Moi University & Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital
- Philippines – University of the Philippines
- South Africa - University of Cape Town, South African Medical Research Council, the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), and Stellenbosch University
The Providence/Boston CFAR International Research Program funds three types of awards:
INITIAL AIDS RESEARCH PROJECTS
Eligible candidates are international basic or clinical investigators who do not have previous or current independent NIH research support, or equivalent foundation research support. The major goal is to provide support for international early-stage investigators to carry out mentored research that will provide the background for an NIH or other international agency (USAID, UNAIDS, WHO, etc.) application for HIV/AIDS funding.
Eligible candidates are international basic or clinical investigators who may have NIH or other international agency funding in other disciplines but are new to HIV/AIDS research. The major goal is to provide support to foster interdisciplinary AIDS-related research among our international researchers and their institutions.
COMMUNITY ENGAGED RESEARCH AWARDS
Eligible candidates are international basic or clinical investigators who have not yet received R01 type funding from the NIH or other international agencies (e.g. USAID, UNAIDS, WHO, etc) in the HIV/AIDS field, and who collaborate with a community-based organization. The goal of the Community Engaged Research Award is to provide pilot research funds to Co-Principal Investigator teams consisting of one academic investigator and one community-based investigator. These award funds will be shared between the academic institution and the community-based organization.
To be eligible for an International Research Award, applicants must possess a doctoral-level degree and have an academic appointment of Assistant Professor (or equivalent) or above at one of the specified Universities. In addition, each application must identify a Providence/Boston CFAR mentor who has an academic appointment at the level of Assistant Professor or above at either Brown or Boston University. CFAR mentors are expected to be involved in all phases of the project (LOI, application, implementation, dissemination, and ongoing evaluation). Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to apply or serve as CFAR mentors.
Each award of up to $25,000 will be granted for a one-year period.
- Letters of Intent are due by 5:00pm ET on November 1st
- Notification of selected LOI’s for full submission will be announced by Thursday, November 17th
- For those with accepted LOIs, applications are due by 5:00pm ET Monday, January 22, 2024
- Awards will be announced by March 2024
Investigators from the named international academic institutions who are interested in submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI) for consideration should contact the individuals listed below for their home institution. These individuals should be able to help with the identification of CFAR mentors and provide guidance in choosing a research topic that fits within the overall aims of the Providence/Boston CFAR. It will also be important to review the NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities when selecting a research area. Preference will be given to projects that address these priority areas.
Moi University & Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital
- In-Country Contact: Winston Nyandiko (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- US Contact: Rami Kantor (email@example.com) or Joseph Hogan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
University of the Philippines
- In-Country Contact: Laufred Hernandez (email@example.com)
- US Contact: Susan Cu-Uvin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Eileen Caffrey (Eileen_Caffrey@brown.edu)
University of Cape Town
- In-Country Contact: Chris Colvin (email@example.com)
- US Contacts: Mark Lurie (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Jennifer Pellowski (Jennifer_pellowski@brown.edu)
South African Medical Research Council
- In-Country Contact: Cathy Mathews (Cathy.Mathews@mrc.ac.za) or Bronwyn Myers (email@example.com)
- US Contacts: Mark Lurie (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karen Jacobson (email@example.com)
- In-Country Contact: Robin Warren (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- US Contacts: Karen Jacobson (email@example.com)
University of the Witwatersrand (WITS)
- In-Country Contact: Ian Sanne (Ian.Sanne@righttocare.org) or Jacqui Miot (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- US Contacts: Sydney Rosen (email@example.com) or Matthew Fox (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Applications for International Research Award funding must be submitted online using the International Research Award form.
Applications are due no later than 5:00 PM on the posted due date.
The application form includes the following sections and attachments (PDF attachments with 11 pt minimum font size and ½ inch minimum margins).
I. Investigator Information
II. Project Information:
- Type of Application: Select only one option.
- Initial AIDS Research Projects – applicants who have not yet received R01 type funding from the NIH or other international agencies (USAID, UNAIDS, WHO, etc.) in the HIV/AIDS field. Applicants must have a CFAR mentor who holds a faculty position at either Brown or Boston University and has an academic appointment at or above the level of Assistant Professor.
- Pilot Projects testing new or innovative ideas – applicants who have received R01 type funding from the NIH or other international agencies (USAID, UNAIDS, WHO, etc.), but not in the HIV/AIDS field (new to HIV research). Applicants must have a CFAR mentor who holds a faculty position at either Brown or Boston University and has an academic appointment at or above the level of Assistant Professor.
- Community Engaged Research Awards – applicants who have not yet received R01 type funding from NIH in the HIV/AIDS field, and who collaborate with a community-based organization. The goal of the Community Engaged Research Awards is to provide pilot research funds to Co-Principal Investigator teams consisting of one academic investigator and one community-based investigator. These award funds will be shared between the academic institution and the community-based organization. Applicants must also have a CFAR mentor who holds a faculty position at either Brown or Boston University and has an academic appointment at or above the level of Assistant Professor.
- Name of Mentor
- All international applicants must have a Providence/Boston CFAR mentor for their International Research Award. CFAR mentors must hold faculty positions at either Brown or Boston University and have an academic appointment at or above the level of Assistant Professor. The CFAR mentor must be someone who has the time and expertise to provide mentorship in both the application phase as well as post-award. Mentors should be able to provide expertise and guidance in the development of the application and ensure that all required documents are provided for the review committee. If awarded, the mentors is responsible for working with each awardee in the completion of the required supplemental documentation. All international awards that involve human subject research must receive both international and domestic IRB approval. CFAR mentors will be responsible for facilitating the domestic IRB approval through their home institution. All international proposals are required to go through an extensive international and clinical clearance process by the NIH. Final protocols and consent forms must be reviewed by the CFAR mentor to ensure that the protocol and consent form are consistent and ensure that the required forms are completed in a timely manner. The CFAR mentor will also be asked periodically review research activities and progress reports with the funded investigators and to provide comments on progress, barriers toward achieving study goals (including research objectives, grant applications, abstracts, manuscripts, and new collaborations), timeline deviations (as relevant), and future plans and directions.
- CFAR Core Services Requested
- If applicable, provide a brief description of the type of support that will be requested from relevant CFAR Cores.
Abstract Describing the Research (30 Lines)
Project Performance Sites
Other Significant Contributors
Projects are awarded in the amount of $25,000 for a maximum of 12 months. Funds may be used for the salary and fringe benefits of faculty and research personnel and for research-related supplies. No funds may be expended for mentor salary, equipment (including computers), or indirects (F&A). Funds for international travel associated with projects abroad may be requested with additional justification. In addition, travel to present findings may be requested. Approval will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
- PHS398 Form
- The budget PHS398 form must be uploaded as a PDF document.
- Budget Justification
- The budget justification document must explain the purpose of each expense in the budget and describe the role of each person (paid and unpaid) who is listed under Personnel.
IV. Future Outside Funding Statement
This statement should include an explanation of how this developmental grant will enhance the chances for future funding. For established investigators applying for pilot awards, please provide an additional statement addressing how the developmental application will not duplicate any current NIH funded research. Developmental Awards are granted with the expectation that they will lead to future NIH proposals.
V. Alignment with the NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities
Explain how this project addresses the NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities. The NIH has developed a series of guidelines for determining whether a research project has a high-, medium-, or low- priority for receiving AIDS designated funding. Since subsequent NIH awards are contingent on these priorities, it is important that developmental applications describe which of the priority areas the application addresses. (Please review the NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities).
VI. Research plan (Upload PDF documents into the application template)
- Specific Aims (1 page)
- Research Strategy (maximum 4 pages)
- Significance (background) (1/2 - 1 page)
- Innovation (1/2 page)
- Approach (experimental design and methods) (2 pages), which should include an appropriate analytical program for the proposal, as well as, a data management plan, if appropriate.
- References (excluded from page limits)
- Study Timeline: Upload a PDF document showing major project activities and expected timeline for completion.
- Protection of Human Subjects - Describe the procedures to protect human subjects in the conduct of the proposed research (e.g. informed consent, confidentiality, data management, etc.).
VII. Community Engagement Plan
The practice of providing feedback to study participants is fundamental to the ethical principal of respect for them and the acknowledgement of the valuable contributions they provide to research.
- Community Engaged Research Projects - there is a requirement that grant recipients engage in bidirectional communication with participants and community members, with a focus on planning/development, initiation execution and dissemination of this research. Please refer to the ATSDR Core Principles of Community Engagement in forming your engagement plan
- Initial AIDS Research, Pilot, and Collaborative Projects involving human subjects - provide a brief description (100 words or less) of how you will engage with the community regarding this research (e.g., working with the C-CERC, dissemination of results to non-scientific audiences, etc.)
VIII. Biographical Sketch
Please upload biographical sketches for all key personnel/mentor(s) for the project. (NIH Biographical Sketch Form and Instructions)
IX. Letters of support
All letters should be addressed to:
Review Committee, Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research, 164 Summit Avenue, Providence, RI 02906
- Department Chief or Chair (required for all applications): must include a statement on the availability of institutional resources for the proposed study; assurance of protected time for Principal Investigator; and a statement of institutional commitment to the development of the PI's career.
- Primary CFAR Mentor (required for all applications): Upload a letter of support from the primary CFAR mentor. The letter must state that the mentor has reviewed the application, has the time and expertise to provide mentorship during the entire project period, will facilitate the domestic IRB approval through their home institution, and will periodically review research activities and CFAR progress reports.
- Community Engaged Research Project: Upload letters of support from each collaborating investigator and/or community-based organization.
CFAR cannot fund clinical trials (research studies that involve human participants, participants are prospectively assigned to an intervention, the study is designed to evaluate the effect of the intervention on the participants, and the effect being evaluated is a health-related biomedical or behavioral outcome). To determine if your study would be considered a clinical trial by these NIH standards, please utilize the NIH decision tool. Any proposal submitted that is considered a clinical trial will be withdrawn prior to review.
Under the direction of the CFAR Developmental Core, each application will be evaluated by a team of reviewers with expertise related to the science addressed in the application. The CFAR Developmental Core will notify applicants of proposal disposition and written critiques of the proposed research will be provided to all applicants.
The CFAR International Research Award scoring system uses a 9-point scale. A score of 1 indicates an exceptionally strong application with essentially no weaknesses. A score of 9 indicates an application with serious and substantive weaknesses with very few strengths.
Scores are provided in each of the following categories:
- Significance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? Will successful completion of the project provide the basis for future NIH funding? Does the proposal address the NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities?
- Investigator(s): Are the PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If early stage investigators or new investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? Has the PI previously received funding for a related project? If the project is collaborative, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise? How will the award further the applicant’s career development?
- Innovation: Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?
- Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analysis well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility, and will particularly risky aspects be managed? If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for protection of human subjects from research risks included?
- Projects are awarded in the amount of $25,000 for 12 months. Funds may be used for the salary and fringe benefits of faculty and research personnel and for research-related supplies. No funds may be expended for mentor salary, equipment (including computers), domestic travel, or indirects (F&A). Funds for international travel associated with projects abroad may be requested with additional justification. In addition, travel to present findings may be requested. Approval will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
- For projects with an international component the investigator will be required to complete an NIH International Studies Checklist. International clearance by the NIH is required prior to initiation of the award.
- Clinical studies meeting the following criteria require additional NIH review prior to initiation of the award:
- 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 (children, pregnant women, prisoners, individuals who are unable to provide informed consent, etc.)
- Studies with populations with additional considerations for confidentiality and safety (transgender, sex workers, refugees, etc.)
- Studies involving behavioral interventions (above minimal risk)
- All projects involving human subjects, or samples or data obtained from human subjects, are required to provide appropriate IRB approval documentation before initiation of the award.
- All projects involving the use of vertebrate animal subjects are required to provide IACUC approval documentation before initiation of the award.
- Any Serious Adverse Event (SAE) reported to your IRB office should also be communicated to the CFAR administrative office (CFAR@lifespan.org) within 48 hours.
- All projects will be required to submit progress reports to the CFAR administrative office every six months. The CFAR office will forward a reminder email prior to the due date. A report template will be provided at that time.
- Awardees may request a six-month no cost extension by completing the NCE request section located on the 12-month progress report. If approved by the CFAR Developmental Core Directors, projects will be continued for an additional six-month period with no supplemental funds. It is expected that awardees complete their projects in a timely manner.
- In the event other funds are received for your CFAR funded study and/or your level of effort needs to be reduced significantly, you are required to notify the CFAR administrative office (email@example.com). Your funding status will be reviewed.
- Awards are non-transferable to institutions not part of the Providence/Boston CFAR network.
Outcome Expectations and Acknowledgment of support from the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (NIH P30AI042853):
CFAR International Research Awards are granted with the expectation that the funded research will potentially lead to abstracts, presentations, publications, and subsequent NIH funding. In addition, awardees may be invited to present their CFAR funded research at CFAR sponsored events e.g. annual Research Forum.
Awardees are required to acknowledge of the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (NIH P30AI042853) in all presentations, publications and funding derived from Providence/Boston CFAR funding. All dissemination activities and subsequent grant applications must be reported in the 6-month progress reports and/or the CFAR administrative office (CFAR@Lifespan.org).