Call for Applications: CHIPTS & CFAR Announce 2015-2016 HIV Behavioral Research Pilot Program (Due 12/14)


2016 Pilot Program – Two Calls for Applications: Social/Behavioral Research & Biomarkers


  1. Domestic & International Social & Behavioral HIV Research

The Center for HIV, Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services (CHIPTS) is accepting pilot grant applications for domestic and international social, behavioral and policy research studies relevant to HIV/AIDS from faculty investigators, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students at CHIPTS affiliated institutions (i.e., UCLA, Drew University, and Friends Research Institute). A total of $90,000 is available to fund Investigator awards up to $30,000 and postdoctoral and graduate student awards up to $15,000. It is anticipated that three to four proposals will be funded.


The goal of this request for pilot applications is to prepare CHIPTS researchers and their collaborative partners to develop innovative research consistent with the Center’s priorities within the newly issued NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities and Guidelines for Determining AIDS Funding ( 137.html). CHIPTS goals within these guidelines are to support social and behavioral research to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS and address HIV-associated comorbidities.


Examples of NIH high priority research topics aligned with CHIPTS’ mission:

  • HIV-associated comorbidities, including substance abuse, mental health, and co-infections and complications with social or behavioral components that undermine HIV treatment cascade
    • Developing, testing, and implementing strategies to improve treatment and prevention cascade outcomes, including HIV testing, treatment linkage, engagement, retention, and adherence to biomedical prevention and treatment modalities (i.e., ARV, PrEP, PEP).
      • Implementation research to ensure initiation of treatment as soon as diagnosis has been made, retention and engagement in these services, and achievement and maintenance of optimal prevention and treatment responses, particularly for next generation HIV
    • Research to reduce health disparities in the incidence of new HIV infections or in treatment outcomes of those living with HIV/AIDS.


Examples of NIH medium priority topics aligned with CHIPTS’ mission:

  • The project examines a fundamental scientific question (or questions) that has a clear or potential link to HIV/AIDS;
  • The project includes people who are living with HIV, are HIV exposed, and/or are at elevated risk for HIV infection as part of a broader sample or as a comparative cohort;
  • The project addresses health and social issues that are clearly linked with HIV (transmission/acquisition, pathogenesis, morbidity and mortality, stigma) and examines them in the context of HIV (i.e., in populations or settings with high HIV prevalence or incidence), such as other infectious pathogens and diseases, non-infectious pathogens and diseases, substance use/addiction, and mental health disorders;
    • The project meaningfully includes HIV/AIDS outcomes/endpoints; or
      • The results of the project will advance HIV treatment or prevention and/or provide tools/techniques and/or capacity beneficial to HIV research (including training and infrastructure development).


Pilot grant proposals that address high priority topics will be scored more favorably on significance (scientific merit, 50% of scoring weight – see below) compared to those addressing medium priority topics only. Proposals addressing low priority topics for the NIH will not be judged as competitive. Including endpoints relevant to HIV-treatment and/or prevention cascade outcomes will increase significance. Proposals incorporating several of CHIPTS ongoing priorities, applied to NIH priorities above, are also encouraged, including:

  • Innovative social media and mobile technology-based strategies to enhance the design, implementation and/or dissemination of interventions targeting treatment and prevention cascade
    • Disproportionately affected populations such as young African-American and Latino MSM and transgender women.
  • Combination prevention approaches that integrate biomedical and behavioral
  • Policy and services impacts related to the Affordable Care Act and HIV treatment cascade


2.     Domestic social & behavioral HIV research including biomarkers or other clinical interventions


CHIPTS is also collaborating with the UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)/AIDS Institute to support a targeted call. Up to $20,000 is available for a domestic social and behavioral HIV research project that includes biomarkers.

Proposals could include biomarkers such as ARV levels or substance use in hair, nails, taggants, exhalants, or urine.


Application deadline: Monday, December 14th 2016 by 11am


All applicants should follow the instructions below:


Eligible applicants are limited to CHIPTS affiliated research scientists who had or have a working relationship with a community-based organization that can assist in formative research, access to subjects, or data collection.

Community-based organizations are only eligible to apply if they have a working relationship with a research scientist from UCLA, Drew University, or Friends Research Institute (FRI). This eligibility criterion is necessary because of IRB requirements for the pilot studies.

Investigators are strongly encouraged to form meaningful partnerships with the community to carry out their projects. The applicant must be Principal Investigator at a CHIPTS institution (UCLA, Drew University, or FRI) and assume responsibility for IRB approval of any community partnership proposals.




Pilot applications should be 6 pages (single spaced, ½ inch margins, Arial 11 point font), which includes:


  • Specific aims (~½ page)
  • Research plan, including significance (~½ page), innovation (~½ page), approach (~3 pages).
    • A statement of the training opportunities provided to the applicants’ mentee(s) included on the project, or to the applicant for doctoral/post-doctoral applicants (<½ page).
  • A statement of previous success in conducting pilot research projects, literature reviews, secondary analyses, or collaborative research projects (<½ page).
  • A statement of anticipated goals and work plan (~ 1 page).


Applications that do not follow the above guidelines, including those which exceed the page limit, may be returned without review. References may be included on additional page(s).




The application will use NIH PHS398 forms available online



Applicants using the PHS 398 application must use the 08/12 version of the application instructions and forms.


You will need to complete the following forms:

Form Page 1: Face Page (only the Department Chair and PI signatures are required)

Form Page 2: Summary, Relevance, Project/Performance Sites, Senior/Key Personnel, Other Significant Contributors, and Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Form Page 4: Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period

Biographical Sketch Page(s): For PI and any other key personnel

Continuation Page: Use this for the text of the proposal and budget justification (2-pages max.)


Please follow NIH instructions for completing these pages, the application does not require OCGA sign off unless your Department or Institution requires it.




Investigator awards will be evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, innovation, and significance to HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County, weighted (50%), (25%) and (25%), respectively.


  1. Research Plan (use NIH continuation pages). Include Specific Aims, Significance and Background for your approach. Describe any Preliminary Studies and the Research Plan, including hypotheses, methodology, experimental subjects and controls, potential problems and the significance of the expected results. List pertinent Literature References with PMCID numbers listed per NIH policy. Your plan should be realistic enough to allow completion of the project within 12 months of funding, including UCLA IRB approvals. Include a section on the innovativeness and creativity of your proposed project. Additionally, justify, using appropriate background and literature citations, the relevance of these studies to understanding social, behavioral and/or policy issues related to HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County or the country where the work is proposed. The significance of the studies must be as specific as possible, and relate to one of the research areas of HIV outlined in the call.




Post-doctoral and Graduate student applications will be weighted on scientific merit (50%), significance to the HIV/AIDS problem (25%) and training potential (25%).


  1. Research Plan (use NIH continuation pages). Include Specific Aims, Significance and Background for your Describe any Preliminary Studies and the Research Plan, including hypotheses, methodology, experimental subjects and controls, potential problems and the significance of the expected results. List pertinent Literature References with PMCID numbers per NIH policy. Your plan should be realistic enough to allow completion of the project within the time requested. Justify, using appropriate background and literature citations, the relevance of these studies to  understanding social, behavioral and/or policy issues related to HIV/AIDS. The significance of the studies must be as specific as possible, and relate to one of the research areas of HIV outlined in the call.


  1. Training potential (use NIH continuation pages). Describe the training relevance of the proposed research, including how it will prepare the applicant for their next career Do not exceed one double-spaced page. This section will be accorded 25% of the weight in calculating the priority score. This section is specific to post-doctoral and graduate student applicants only, it must be included and this one page can be in addition to the six pages described in section A. above.




Human Subjects Protection & Children, Gender and Minority Inclusion (1-2 pages). Briefly describe the plan for the protection of human subjects. Briefly, describe the composition of the proposed study population in terms of gender and racial/ethnic group, and whether children are included, together with a rationale for its choice. In addition, please address age, gender and racial/ethnic issues in developing a research design and sample size appropriate for the scientific objectives of the study. This section does not count in 6-page proposal limit.




Applicants must have a full-time faculty or postdoctoral appointment at a CHIPTS institution

(UCLA, Drew University, or Friends Research), or be enrolled in a graduate program at a CHIPTS institution. Investigators are encouraged to partner with Community Based Organizations where appropriate.




All proposals must obtain human subjects review and approval in order to receive funding. UCLA applicants must follow the usual requirements for obtaining human subjects review and approval.  Non-UCLA applicants must obtain review and approval from the institutional review board (IRB) at their own institution (reviewing IRB must have a Federal-wide Assurance from the DHHS). In addition to their own IRB approval, non- UCLA applicants (including non-UCLA researchers) must submit their approved protocol to the UCLA IRB for an expedited review. Non-UCLA applicants will submit their approved forms along with a completed packet of UCLA forms to the UCLA IRB. This will require non-UCLA applicants to identify a UCLA faculty sponsor for purposes of IRB submission only. This UCLA sponsor should not be involved in the research project in order to receive expedited review by the IRB.


Please note that IRB approval (and State Department Clearance for international grants) must be obtained within 90 days of notice of award. If such approval is not obtained CHIPTS reserves the right to reconsider and withdraw its offer of pilot support.


These awards are intended to:


  1. Provide funds for new HIV investigators, their postdoctoral fellows, or graduate students newly recruited to the CHIPTS affiliated


  1. Provide funds for established faculty investigators and their postdoctoral fellows who are: a) moving into entirely new areas of HIV-related research or b) doing innovative high-risk, high-benefit


  1. Provide support for UCLA, Drew University, or Friends projects that involve collaboration with Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) only in partnership with a Principal Investigator from a CHIPTS institution. Faculty or fellows at CHIPTS institutions must be the Principal Investigator, not the


  1. Promote high-quality projects that involve collaborations among multidisciplinary investigator teams and or CBOs.


BUDGET (use NIH budget form page 4 and include a budget justification of costs)


Budget requests for HIV research pilot seed grants should not exceed the funding levels indicated for that applicant category. The grant awards will range from $5,000 – $30,000, depending on the type of proposal (e.g. investigator, post- doc, or student).


Funding levels:

Investigator Awards                                                       to $30,000

Postdoctoral Awards                                                      to $15,000

Graduate Student Awards                                           to $15,000


All funds awarded for 2016 projects must be encumbered by January 31, 2017. No monies can be carried forward. (Projects may complete the work after January 31, 2017, but monies must already be encumbered). Funding is subject to final award approval from the National Institute of Mental Health.


Research personnel costs, supplies and small equipment costs are allowable in seed grants to the extent that they can be justified as being directly related to the proposed research project. Personnel can include support for postdoctoral or predoctoral fellows. Travel may only include those expenses for travel that is necessary to conduct the study. Overhead costs are not permitted on pilot grants. Any possible overlap with other sources of support must be made clear and be justified in the application.


Expenditures must not exceed the total award. Any overdrafts are the sole responsibility of the individual seed grant principal investigator or applicant. Re-budgeting of funds greater than 25% of the total budget between major categories (e.g., personnel to equipment) requires prior written approval.




Applications are reviewed confidentially by the appropriate CHIPTS review committees and by ad hoc reviewers.


Investigator applicants are ranked on scientific merit/weight including elements of the significance and approach (50%), innovation/creativity (25%) and relevance/importance to furthering the understanding and therapies for AIDS (25%).


Post-doctoral and Student applicants will be evaluated based upon scientific merit (significance and approach – 50%), innovation/creativity (25%) and training potential (25%).


Following committee review and priority ranking of all approved applications, funding recommendations will be made to the CHIPTS Executive Committee based upon available NIMH funds. The applicants will be notified by letter of the outcome of the review process.





  1. A progress report will be due on the final working day of September
    1. Upon completion of each grant, the Principal Investigator must submit a brief scientific summary, a final financial report, and a project abstract of work completed. New publications and extramural grant support relevant to the seed grant should also be listed with the
  2. Funded investigators may be required to give an oral presentation of their work at a CHIPTS


  1. All publications resulting in whole or in part from support by CHIPTS should acknowledge CHIPTS as the funding source. Social/Behavioral and Policy research publications should acknowledge support from NIMH Grant # P30MH58107. In addition, CHIPTS is to be provided with five reprints (or preprints if the publication is still in press) of each


  1. A final report is due on May 31 of the year following the award (May 31, 2017).


  1. Funded investigators may be requested to serve as reviewers for future pilot program




Maryann Koussa

Associate Director, Development Core

Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, & Treatment Services (CHIPTS) 10920 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 350

Los Angeles, CA 90024 (Campus Mail Code, 705146)



Application packages are due Monday, December 14th, 2015 at 11am


The application package consists of the following:

  • Six printed copies of the application, including the original with all relevant appendices (including institutional approvals for human subjects if completed), as well as any essential reprints or
  • An electronic copy of the application send to Maryann Koussa (

The following signatures are required on all submitted applications:


Principal Investigator

Faculty Advisor (Graduate Student Applicants only)


Department Chairperson of the Applicant

UCLA IRB sponsor (applicants outside of UCLA only)


For UCLA applicants, the “Request for Proposal Approval and Submission” (Goldenrod) need not accompany the application.


When pertinent, please provide supporting documentation that applications for appropriate institutional review have or will be submitted for studies involving human and/or animal subjects and that all other applicable regulations have been followed.


Applicants should also provide pertinent information describing the representative distribution of women and minorities in the proposal.