Research Grant - Operational research in Paediatric and adolescent HIV

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    International AIDS Society
    Social sciences
    Recognised Researcher (R2) (PhD holders or equivalent who are not yet fully independent)

Are you a young investigator in paediatric and adolescent HIV? Do you want to address crucial operational research gaps? This could be your chance to be a principal investigator on a sizeable grant for the first time. This year CIPHER also welcome applications in French.


The purpose of the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Grant Programme is 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. Designed for early-stage investigators, a key aim of the programme is to build research capacity within resource-limited settings by fostering the next generation of investigators.

In 2017, using an established methodology for setting priorities in health research, CIPHER partnered with WHO to conduct a global study on what evidence is most needed to reach an AIDS free generation by 2030. Through this process, stakeholders worldwide – researchers, implementers, community and young people living with HIV – were engaged and together identified the top research priorities in testing, treatment and service delivery. The result was the development of the Global Research Agendas for Paediatric and Adolescent HIV, which provide guidance and aim to focus research efforts. New and better data are required to accelerate the introduction of innovations, overcome existing implementation challenges, and inform the development of normative guidance that will set the standard of care for children around the world. Particular efforts must be focused on generating targeted evidence that improves HIV programme implementation through a better understanding of what works for children and adolescents.

To improve our understanding of what works for children, 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 agendas.

CIPHER Grant Programme – 2019-2020 Round

CIPHER is proud to launch a new round of research grants for mentored early-stage investigators to advance operational research in paediatric and adolescent HIV and fill critical knowledge gaps identified in the Global Research Agenda for Paediatric and adolescent HIVThis year, CIPHER is pleased to also accept applications in French, particularly to encourage more applications from young investigators in West and Central Africa. The aim is to support the HIV response in the region, which bears one of the heaviest HIV burdens but is often neglected in global initiatives.

Awards will be funded for up to two years and for up to US$ 150’000 (including direct research costs and applicable indirect costs). Second-year funding is contingent upon demonstration of satisfactory progress during year one. The CIPHER Grant Programme encourages collaborations between different study sites and institutions; at least 80% of the direct grant expenses have to be spent in LMICs.


Any individual with the skills, formal education and access to resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is welcome to submit an application for the CIPHER Grant Programme. The principal investigator (PI) is encouraged to work with a mentor and his/her institutional colleagues and partners to develop the research plan.

The PI must be an early-stage investigator 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 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 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 PI must choose a mentor with relevant expertise in paediatric and adolescent HIV research (mentor’s contact details and a letter of commitment will be requested from all applicants).

The budget should reflect that at least 80% of the direct grant expenses will be spent in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) according to the World Bank classification.


Applications can be submitted in English or in French.

Applicants will be asked to submit a Letter of Intent that briefly outlines their proposed projects, including background, specific aims, preliminary data (if any) and research methodology. The Call for Letter of Intent is now available on the CIPHER website.

Letters of Intent must be submitted no later than 31 October 2019, 18:00 CET through CIPHER’s online submission system. Applications not submitted through the online system will not be accepted. Only applications in English or French will be considered.

Please note that a letter of support from the applicant’s institution is required, as well as a copy of the applicant’s terminal research degree/diploma. Applicants will be requested to upload these documents during the submission process.


Eligible Letters of Intent will be reviewed by the CIPHER Scientific Committee. Applications will be prioritized on their ability to demonstrate maximum impact on the optimization of paediatric and adolescent HIV diagnosis, treatment and service delivery in resource-limited settings, as well as on collective capacity building in the grantee’s home country and/or research performance sites. Short-listed candidates will be notified in mid-December 2019 and will be invited to submit a Full Proposal. Candidates will have approximately 7 weeks to prepare and submit the Full Proposal. Details and instructions for the preparation of the Full Proposal will be provided upon notification.

Any questions may be directed to cipher@iasociety.org.

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