Grant Opportunities

CIPHER Research Grant Programme to support the Development of Early-Stage Investigators

CIPHER Research Grant Programme to support the Development of Early-Stage Investigators

Deadline: 31 October 2019

The International AIDS Society (IAS) has announced the 2019/2020 Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Research Grant Programme to fund research projects with the potential to address critical research questions that remain unanswered in the global response in order to inform policy change and ensure better outcomes in infants, children and adolescents living with and affected by HIV in resource-limited settings.

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The research funded by the CIPHER Grant Programme should focus on operational research in paediatric and adolescent HIV and address the targeted research priorities identified in the Global Research Agenda for Paediatric HIV and/or in the Global Research Agenda for Adolescent living with HIV.

The CIPHER Grant Programme is made possible with the generous support of Founding Sponsor ViiV Healthcare and Janssen. Its content is guided by experts in paediatric and adolescent HIV convened by the IAS.

Funding Information

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Awards will be funded for up to two years and for up to US$ 75,000 each per year (including direct research costs and applicable indirect costs).

Research Priorities

PAEDIATRIC HIV (infants and children 0-10 years old, including the perinatal and in-utero period, studies on mother-baby pairs and HIV-exposed uninfected children):

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  • Optimal placement and timing of novel diagnostic tools for point-of-care use;
  • Interventions to ensure timely linkage between HIV diagnosis, treatment and care;
  • Interventions or strategies to improve access to and uptake of HIV testing services for infants and children, particularly community-based approaches;
  • Factors that enable or hinder linkage to care and timely initiation of ART;
  • Effective, feasible and acceptable testing strategies (including routine testing at birth) at entry points other than antenatal care for identifying undiagnosed HIV-positive infants and children in different epidemic settings.


  • Safety, efficacy, acceptability, pharmacokinetics and optimal dosing of existing and new antiretroviral drugs and formulations, particularly with novel drug delivery systems;
  • Strategies or interventions to improve adherence, and factors that impact their success;
  • Optimal prevention and clinical management of co-infections, particularly tuberculosis;
  • Impact of HIV infection and ART on short- and long-term outcomes, in particular noncommunicable disease;
  • Short- and long-term virologic and immunologic outcomes of starting very early treatment in infants living with HIV (impact on functional cure).

Service Delivery

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  • Strategies or interventions to improve access to, uptake of and retention in care, and factors that impact their success;
  • Service delivery models to improve individual and programmatic outcomes along the HIV cascade, including integration of comprehensive HIV treatment and care into the maternal and child health platform;
  • Psychosocial and family support strategies or interventions to improve individual and programmatic outcomes;
  • Strategies or interventions to improve and support parents, caregivers and healthcare providers to facilitate HIV disclosure to children, as well as factors that impact their success;
  • Strategies or interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination experienced by children and their caregivers.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Any individual with the skills, formal education and access to resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is welcome to submit an application to the CIPHER Grant Programme. The applicant must be the principal investigator (PI) of the proposed project. The PI should work with a mentor, his/her institutional colleagues and partners to develop the research plan.
  • Eligibility criteria and mandatory supporting documents:
    • The PI must be an early-stage investigator, i.e., an individual who obtained her/his terminal research degree (e.g., PhD, MD, MBBS or equivalent) less than 10 years before the application deadline.
    • The PI must serve for the first time as primary PI. Primary PIs who have previously received a non-training research grant exceeding US$ 30,000 are not eligible.
    • The PI must fulfil one of the following criteria prior to the submission deadline for the Letter of Intent:
      • He/she is a clinical/research trainee (e.g., fellow, senior resident) at an academic institute or an institute whose primary mission is research.
      • He/she has a faculty or comparable position (e.g., assistant professor, lecturer) at an academic institute or an institute whose primary mission is research.
      • He/she has an established position at an organization with adequate research infrastructure to undertake the proposed research activities.
    • The research project should demonstrate the potential to contribute to the optimization of HIV diagnosis, treatment and care for infants and children affected by HIV in resource limited settings by responding to identified research priorities.
    • Applications are encouraged from any country, however please note that approximately 80% of available funds in any given year will be awarded to applicants from (meaning holding a passport from) low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) according to the World Bank classification.
    • The PI must choose a mentor with relevant expertise in paediatric HIV research (mentor’s contact details and a letter of commitment will be requested from all applicants; a mentorship plan will be requested only from shortlisted applicants who are invited to submit a Full Proposal).
    • The budget should reflect that at least 80% of the direct grant expenses will be spent in LMICs.
    • A letter of support from the applicant’s institution is required, as well as a copy of the applicant’s terminal research degree diploma.

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