Pilot Awards Program

The DC CFAR Pilot Awards Program aims to provide pilot funds on a competitive basis to HIV/AIDS investigators to assist them in the development of their NIH-funded research careers. 

Investigator Eligibility

Faculty investigators at eight participating DC CFAR institutions (American University, Children's National Health System, DC Health, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Whitman-Walker Health) who are full members of the DC CFAR are eligible to apply as Principal Investigators (PI) to the program. 

These funds are provided to support early stage and new HIV/AIDS investigators, with an emphasis on women and underrepresented minorities.  Principal Investigators must have a doctoral degree and be eligible to submit NIH grant applications through their home institution’s office of research. PIs must be at the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Full Professor or Research Scientist. New investigators are those who have not previously served as the PI on any R01 NIH award or equivalent, including R23, R29, R37, and DP2 (for more information, please visit the NIH guidance on investigator types). Clinical and post-doctoral fellows are not eligible to apply as PIs.

Research Scope

The Pilot Awards Program funds research projects that focus on HIV/AIDS and related opportunistic illnesses. The scope of funded projects includes basic, clinical, epidemiologic, social behavioral and prevention HIV/AIDS science. Applications should focus on the NIH high priority HIV/AIDS research areas, which broadly focus on: reducing HIV/AIDS incidence; the next generation of HIV therapies and implementation research on the HIV continuum of care; cure research; HIV-associated comorbidities, coinfections, and complications; and cross cutting areas in basic research and health disparities. Applications are also strongly encouraged that focus on the following DC CFAR priorities: a) Cure research; b) PrEP c) Continuum of care in DC; d) Opioids; e) Women; and f) Aging. Collaborations are strongly encouraged with other large NIH-funded HIV studies in DC including the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study/Women's Interagency HIV Study Combined Cohort Study (MACS/WIHS CCS) and the DC Cohort. Investigators interested in exploring such collaborations should contact Ms. Brandi Robinson, who will facilitate connectivity to these projects. Investigators will be required to consult with the leaders of the MACS/WIHS CCS and DC Cohort to assess what is feasible/available. If use of these cohorts is deemed feasible, approved concept sheets and letters of support from the cohorts must be submitted in the full pilot award application.Although it is not required that the project take place in Washington, DC, investigators should be prepared to demonstrate how their research project relates to, and could impact, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District of Columbia.

For examples of these projects, please review the abstracts of previously funded projects. 

Application Process

Each year there are between one and three award cycles. Each cycle may vary slightly in terms of eligibility and scope of solicited proposals. Review the request for applications (PDF) and all application materials before completing the Pre-Submission Form


Brandi Robinson
Senior Research Program Manager
[email protected]
Alia Murphy
Fiscal Manager