amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Request for Proposals: Innovation Grants

Exploring the mechanisms for HIV persistence and the potential for HIV eradication

Log in Request Deadline: October 9, 2015, 5:00 PM ET
LOI Submission Deadline: October 14, 2015, 3:00 PM ET

Available Support
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is pleased to announce the availability of Innovation Grants for biomedical research projects relevant to exploring the mechanisms for HIV persistence and the potential for HIV eradication.

Total Cost Maximum: $200,000
Performance Period: February 1, 2016 – January 31, 2018

Background and Areas of Interest
This RFP solicits proposals relevant to exploring the mechanisms for HIV persistence and the potential for HIV eradication. Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has significantly impacted the health of individuals infected with HIV-1. However, if therapy is interrupted, there is a rapid resumption of viral replication. Understanding the mechanisms by which the virus is able to persist in the face of therapy is necessary in order to identify strategies that may interrupt viral persistence and ultimately lead to viral eradication. amfAR wishes to support basic, pre-clinical, clinical, and especially translational research exploring the mechanisms whereby HIV infection persists; the chronic nature of viral reservoirs and latency; and barriers to the eradication of HIV, with the potential goal of ultimately curing HIV infection.

Specific areas of interest fall within the following four categories:

  • Determine the location of persistent reservoirs of HIV in tissues, cell subsets or within cells
  • Determine the cellular and viral mechanisms and kinetics that establish and/or maintain HIV persistence
  • Develop, compare, or  validate assays to measure persistent infection
  • Develop and test strategies to safely eliminate or control viral reservoirs (in the absence of ART)

Collaborations within or between institutions are encouraged.

Basic research
Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals using appropriate in vitro or ex-vivo techniques. Attempts to validate existing in vitro or ex vivo models, and to develop new models, including animal systems, are also encouraged.

Pre-clinical research
Applicants proposing studies involving nonhuman primates or other appropriate animal models are especially encouraged to apply.

Clinical research
amfAR is particularly interested in supporting clinical projects whose budget fits within the parameters of this RFP. Proposals for which amfAR funding will represent a small fraction of pooled resources (i.e., to "top up" total funding of a clinical research project) will not be considered. Alternatively, applicants who wish to use amfAR funding to conduct a discrete clinical research project, for example as a subset of an ongoing clinical trial, should clearly describe how amfAR funding can support the subset trial for which funding is sought.

Translational research
Applicants are especially encouraged to design research studies in which the findings from basic science can be quickly and efficiently applied to medical practice.  Such applications are likely to include multi-disciplinary collaboration and a description of the ways in which basic science findings generated with this funding will be tested (using this funding) in an appropriate non-human primate model or in patients.

Special notes

  • There is no direct cost maximum, however, indirect costs may not be greater than 20% of direct costs less subawards. The total cost maximum is $200,000
  • This RFP solicits projects to be completed in the 24 month period starting February 1, 2016
  • It is not required that principal investigators hold a faculty-level position
  • The application process has two steps: Letter of Intent (LOI) and full application. Submission of an LOI is not a guarantee of eligibility to submit a full application. The pre-application process is highly competitive; only a limited number of investigators submitting an LOI will be invited to submit a full application.
  • Applicants may submit inquiries to amfAR ( regarding the development of research plans to ensure that such plans fit within the intended scope of this RFP. No phone calls will be accepted. Responses to all inquiries received will be posted here as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The FAQ will be updated periodically, so please check for the current version before e-mailing an inquiry.


Institutions:  Applications are accepted from nonprofit research institutions worldwide; applications are not accepted from individuals or for-profit entities. However, although the Principal Investigator must be from the applicant institution, research teams may include members from, and budgets may include subcontracts or subawards to for-profit entities.

Principal investigators:

  • Must hold a doctoral level degree
  • Must be affiliated with the applicant institution
  • If the proposal is a collaboration including subcomponent projects, the principal investigator will be expected to lead one of the component projects, coordinate the development, implementation and analysis of the projects as a whole, and be responsible for overall financial management, and the preparation and submission of required reports.

Submission Requirements and Deadlines

Submission of Letters of Intent (LOI) is a two-step, online process.

  • You must request log-in credentials no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on October 9, 2015. CLICK HERE to download the request form. Complete the form and email it to Username, password and the Innovation grants link to the portal will be sent to the email address provided on the form.
  • LOIs must be submitted via the portal no later than 3:00 p.m., October 14, 2015.

Please be sure to request credentials and forms with adequate time to prepare a letter of intent. Deadline extensions will not be provided.

Please note that amfAR’s offices will be closed in observance of Columbus Day on October 12, 2015.

Other Important Dates

Applications invited:
November 13, 2015 (tentative)

Application submissions due:
December 15, 2015 (tentative)

Funding decisions announced:
Mid-February, 2016 (tentative)

Future requests for proposals:
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