HU CFAR Request for Proposals (Developmental Awards)

When is the next HU CFAR Funding Opportunity?

The Harvard University Center for AIDS Research is pleased to announce two separate Requests for Proposals in HIV/AIDS research. Awards beginning on or after August 1, 2022!

How do I apply for HU CFAR funding?

Download the full application(s) and apply today but no later than April 27, 2022 (Internal deadline).

What type of award can I apply for?

The Developmental Award provides both salary and research support for promising early-career investigators who are transitioning to independent funding.


Eligibility for Developmental Awards:  The Developmental Award is intended to support junior investigators who are on a career path leading to an independent research project.  This is recognized as an extended transition, and applications will be considered from candidates beginning at the time of their transition from a training grant or similar support to mentored independent research (K level) funding to the point at which they have received NIH R01 or similar level funding.

Applicants may be at the post-doctoral fellow, research fellow, instructor, research associate, research scientist, or assistant professor level and hold an appointment/position at any Harvard University School or affiliated institution.  Investigators at the rank of associate professor or above (including senior research scientists and principal research scientists at Harvard Chan School) will be judged too senior for consideration.

Junior faculty who have never had R01 or similar level NIH funding and who are seeking support for the development of preliminary data for an NIH R01, R21, or R34-type application, in accordance with NIH policy are eligible.  Junior investigators who are earlier in their career as they transition to independent mentored research programs (e.g., NIH K-level awards) are also eligible.

If you are a current recipient of a T32 award, you may use HU CFAR pilot funding to support research project costs, but you cannot use CFAR funds to pay for training and stipends that are already paid for by the T32.

If you are a current recipient of an NIH K award, you are required to submit with your CFAR application a letter from the relevant program officer stating that you are eligible to receive CFAR funding.

K awardees can receive compensation on CFAR pilot studies for effort not directly committed to the K award, as long as the specific aims differ from those on the K award. Please see the NIH guide notice below for more details:  K award policies vary by specific mechanism and may have specific level of effort and salary restrictions:
Applications from senior investigators will not be considered for funding for the Developmental Award RFP.  Senior investigators are defined as already having received NIH R01 funding as the principal investigator or funding at a similar level.  This does not include R21, R34, or RO3 funding or subcontract funding through the R01 mechanism.

Projects Involving Clinical Research or Clinical Trials: CFAR funds cannot be used for clinical research studies that include randomization to one or more low risk interventions to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes. Clinical studies that do not fall under the definition of a clinical trial will still be allowed. A clinical trial is defined as a research study in which one or more human subjects are prospectively assigned to one or more interventions (which may include placebo or other control) to evaluate the effects of those interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes. For further guidance, visit the following link:

How much can I apply for?

Developmental Award Funding – Direct Costs: Request up to $60,000 in salary and/or non-salary costs for one year.  In addition, you may also request your institutional fringe rate on salary, calculated on top of the $60,000 direct cost total. Special emphasis RFPs may have different funding limitations as specified in the RFP instructions.

Developmental Award Funding – Indirect (Overhead) Costs: The HU CFAR will award indirect costs at the rate of 25 percent for the domestic portion of the budget.  The HU CFAR will award indirect costs at the rate of 8 percent for the international portion of the budget, if any.  Please note that proposals are frequently recommended to be supported with Harvard University institutional support, in which case indirect costs will not be awarded.

Does my human subjects research study meet the NIH definition of a clinical trial?

Access the NIH decision tree

What are the review criteria?

  • Overall scientific merit, level of innovation, and relevance of the proposal to AIDS research. 
  • Specific and narrowly focused application with realistic goals.
  • Potential for generating independent funding.
  • Potential for drawing investigators from other fields into AIDS research.
  • Collaborative proposals that extend the scope of current CFAR activities across multiple participating Harvard laboratories/institutions are highly encouraged. Collaborative proposals will be evaluated on the scientific merits of each individual component of the project, as well as the overall integration of the projects.