Pilot Awards

Funding Opportunity Description

The Third Coast CFAR (an NIH P30) is now under review for a renewal for 5 more years starting April 2020. Planning is starting now in anticipation of renewal funds being available for new Pilot Awards in spring 2020.

Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) pilot awards are intended for key preliminary studies in HIV-related basic, clinical, or behavioral research that will lead to new NIH grant submissions. A proposal must be for a new project that is distinct from any currently funded project. The proposed research project must align with NIH HIV high/medium research priorities (NOT-OD-15-137) with preference given to topics in high priority categories. The Developmental Core has funded 30 high-impact pilot projects between 2015 and 2019.

The Third Coast CFAR is particularly interested in supporting more new research focused on co-morbidities that may occur with higher incidence in people living with HIV, particularly if proposed by cross-disciplinary research teams. Review criteria value projects that are trans-disciplinary and that will be competitive for NIH funding using pilot results.

Funds Available

  • Up to $50,000 in direct costs are allowed and smaller budgets may be awarded. Indirect costs will be determined at the time of award.
  • Funding is contingent on the Third Coast CFAR receiving NIH funding for 4/1/20. We anticipate knowing if funding will be available by January 2020.

Duration of Support

The project period is one year starting as early as 4/1/20. Investigators are required to have all regulatory approvals (IRB, IACUC, etc) in place for the project start date.


The Principal Investigator (PI) (or co-PIs) on the application must be a new investigator (never PI on an R01-equivalent NIH grant) or new to HIV (never PI on R01-equivalent NIH grant for HIV). The corresponding PI must also be a Third Coast CFAR faculty member. Full Third Coast CFAR faculty membership is available to any faculty or staff person at Northwestern University (NU), University of Chicago (UC), and Lurie Children’s Hospital (LCH), who is allowed to apply for NIH grants as a principal investigator at their institution.

All investigators must be a member of the Third Coast CFAR, either as a full (if at NU or UC) or affiliate (if at another institution) member (register here). New investigators are required, and new to HIV investigators are strongly encouraged, to include an established HIV researcher as a mentor on the application. Investigators previously funded in this program may apply for a pilot award to continue with a second year of funding for an existing pilot. Permission from one of the Developmental Core directors is required. Contact John Schneider at University of Chicago or Richard D’Aquila at Northwestern University to discuss your ideas and need for pilot funding and request written permission to apply (email is sufficient).


  • Letter of intent survey due: January 21, 2020
  • Pre-submission meetings: late January 2020
  • Application due date: February 17, 2020
  • Awards announcement expected: late March 2020
  • Project start date:  Varies depending on regulatory and administrative components required.

Download the full Pilot Award RFA

Additional Information and Questions

It is the mission of the Developmental Core to provide strong support for new investigators and established investigators new to HIV research. Please contact us with questions or requests for assistance at any point in the application process.

Developmental Core

John Schneider, MD, MPH, The University of Chicago
Developmental Core Director

Jenny Trinitapoli, PhD, The University of Chicago
Developmental Core Associate Director

Richard D’Aquila, MD, Northwestern University
CFAR Director

To request information about Developmental Core awards and services, contact Justin Schmandt.