The UNC CFAR Traditional Developmental Award RFP guidance for proposals should be used unless otherwise noted in this NOSI

CFAR Notice of Special Interest (NOSI):

Request for Proposals for Collaborative Clinical-Social Science Secondary Data Analyses (SDA) Awards

The University of North Carolina Center For AIDS Research (CFAR) is soliciting proposals for small grants for up to one year (ending by 5/1/24) to support emerging (new and early stage) HIV investigators or experienced investigators new to HIV research interested in evaluating innovative clinical, social and behavioral questions among people with HIV using existing data from specific large UNC CFAR-supported cohort studies (MWCCS [formally MACS/WIHS], UCHCC, CNICS, NA-ACCORD). Please note that we cannot fund clinical trials as defined by NIH.


CFAR Developmental Core Traditional Request for Proposals


The purpose of this award is to increase scientific contributions by supporting small grants to address research questions related to clinical, social, and behavioral aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Recipients of this award will be well-positioned to incorporate pilot data from their proposed research question into a larger R21 or R01 NIH grant proposal, on which they must serve as PI (not Co-I). In addition to the generation of pilot data to enhance a future NIH grant application, grantees are expected to develop the research question of interest, an analytic plan that specifies variables from the targeted dataset and produce a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal from study data.

Priority will be given to applications that address social determinants of health or generate preliminary data that could inform an Implementation Science (IS) study (e.g., identifies barriers to HIV care or prevention services delivery) but all social and behavioral topic areas will be considered, including methodologic studies that would advance innovative research methods. For example, a recent NIH SDA NOSI indicates an opportunity to conduct research using existing datasets to examine the interaction of mental health and mental health comorbidities, stigma, and other social behavioral determinants of health on HIV-related outcomes. Similar to a recent NIH IS NOSI on the IS topic, there is interest in receiving implementation research grant applications targeting the unique needs in jurisdictions, both in cities and rural areas, that have been disproportionally affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US, and globally. There is consensus among HIV/AIDS leaders in government, service, research, and the HIV/AIDS community that the goals set by domestic and global HIV/AIDS policy-makers to reduce incident HIV-infections are achievable for HIV testing, Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) initiation, treatment initiation, and viral suppression. However, to maintain these rates and to replicate these successes domestically and globally, the correct combination of efficacious behavioral, social, and biomedical interventions for HIV prevention and treatment must be taken to scale in places where critical components and supports are not optimal. Moreover, in some communities, there are oppositional forces and barriers that make achievement of HIV prevention and treatment goals even more challenging.

Like the NIH IS NOSI, we are interested in:

  • Studies to optimize the implementation of targeted interventions designed to reduce documented racial/ethnic, gender, and age-related disparities in HIV prevention and treatment outcomes.
  • Studies designed to enhance understanding of the epidemiologic contexts for targeted interventions (e.g., accurate rates of testing, linkage, initiation, and viral suppression that indicates gaps and targets for intervention).
  • Studies designed to enhance HIV prevention providers’ (systems, providers, operational tools) capacity to target evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to the persons at highest risk for HIV in their communities.

Below is a description of the four UNC CFAR-supported cohort studies:

Database Name and website

Contact name & email for letter of intent (LOI) submission

Database descriptive info

MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study (MWCCS)

Catalina Ramirez,

·       Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) and Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS)

·       >12,000 PWH and people without HIV enrolled at 13 MACS/WIHS clinical research sites (CRS)

·       Clinical, social and behavioral data

·       Physical examinations, biorepository

UNC CFAR HIV Clinical Cohort (UCHCC)

Deana Agil,

·       Clinical Cohort

·       >5,000 PWH enrolled

·       UNC-based site

·       Clinical, social and behavioral data

·       Biorepository

CFAR Network of Integrated Clinical Systems (CNICS)

Sonia Napravnik

·       Clinical Cohort Collaboration

·       >36,000 PWH enrolled

·       10 CFAR sites across US

·       Clinical, social and behavioral data

·       Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs), biorepository

North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD)

Sonia Napravnik

·       International Cohort Collaboration of Classic and Clinical Cohorts

·       >190,000 PWH and people without HIV enrolled

·       >200 sites in the US and Canada

·       Clinical, social and behavioral data

Permission to use these databases are required and can take approximately 4-8 weeks after submission of a concept proposal. Familiarity with any of the databases is a plus. If unfamiliar with the databases, a meeting with the CFAR Biostatistics Core ( and the listed contact person for the target database soon after LOI approval and prior to developing the concept proposal for database permission is required. Applicant will continue to work closely with the database contact throughout the application process and research implementation. 

All applications must include a separate section of at least one paragraph explaining how the proposed work is aligned with NIH priorities and will lead to future NIH funding. If your proposal is intended to generate pilot data to apply for a grant that is in response to a specific NIH NOSI/PA/RFA, you should specifically address how CFAR funding will contribute to a strong proposal in response to that NOSI/PA/RFA.


All instructions in the CFAR Developmental Core Traditional RFP must be followed.


  • Contact the CFAR Developmental Core during application preparation for a telephone or email conversation to verify eligibility and briefly describe research idea
  • 1-page Letter of Intent (LOI) including brief background, specific aims, database experience (if any), summary of analysis plan, expected project outcomes, and proposed timeline. Keep in mind as you are planning that it may take at least several weeks to get a letter of permission to use the targeted database and up to several months to access the data itself.
  • LOI Due Date: ongoing
  • Concept proposal for database permission Due Date: ongoing
  • Full Application Due Date: in alignment with Traditional Developmental Award (Wednesday, March 1, 2023)
  • Earliest Notification of Award: May 1, 2023
    • Period of Award: Funding expires on May 1, 2024
  • ESIs interested in applying for an SDA grant but who need time and salary support to familiarize themselves with the database in order to write a research question, specific aims, and grant proposal may apply for the rolling Developmental Microgrant for up to $5,000 to reserve time to do so. That application must be accompanied by a written commitment to apply for the SDA in the next funding cycle. Contact the CFAR Developmental Core for information if you are interested in this option.

CFAR Developmental Core