Developmental Grants

Developmental Grants Program

The primary goal of the Developmental Grants Program (DGP) will be the initiation of innovative studies by junior faculty and trainees at UCSD or affiliated institutions with the following objectives:

  1. Recruitment to neuroAIDS research of new investigators or established investigators without prior experience in the field;
  2. Generation and pilot testing of new research initiatives;
  3. Fostering collaboration among investigators from throughout Southern California.

The program provides to qualified investigators and trainees any appropriate combination of the following forms of support:

  1. Small, 1 year grants to support pilot studies;
  2. Access to HNRP core resources such as data, specimens, participants, equipment, administrative support, or expert consultation and technical assistance.

The application and evaluation processes for grants is semiannual, rapid, and relatively simple. For faculty, assistance will be directed to projects that can generate pilot data that support peer-reviewed proposals to outside agencies. For postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, or other trainees, the objective may be completion of projects that fulfill requirements for advanced degrees and/or result in peer-reviewed publications.

Southern California and specifically San Diego hosts a remarkable concentration of talented investigators in the biomedical and neurobehavioral sciences relevant to neuroAIDS. Fostering collaboration among these investigators by providing funding for pilot studies and support for trainees is an important secondary objective of the core.

Questions about the Developmental Grants Program

  1. When can investigators apply to the awards?
  2. How much support is provided and what categories of research are considered?
  3. What are some examples of recently funded projects?
  4. Who judges the merits of the proposals and how are applications reviewed?
  5. Where can I find the application materials?

  1. When can investigators apply to the awards?

    1st Application Cycle - FALL
    Letter of intent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.: April 15, 2023
    Present to the Research Review Committee: by May 31, 2023
    Deadline for Applications: June 15, 2023

    *Developmental grant concepts may only be submitted twice (one original submission; one resubmission).

  2. How much support is provided and what categories of research are considered?

    Awards can be made for up to $20,000. The number and size of the awards in each category may be influenced by the quality of the submissions in each award cycle, but only applications of sufficient quality to meet our scientific standards will be funded. The two categories of developmental grants that will be supported are described below.

    (a) Investigators New to NeuroAIDS Research

    This component is designed to support junior investigators in neuroAIDS research, or other investigators with relevant backgrounds, in pursuing new initiatives in HIV-related, neurobehavioral research. Both the guidelines to the review committee and the application instructions will state that the limited CSPAR developmental funds will be targeted to junior investigators. However, we will consider applications from more senior investigators who wish to apply their established skills and methods to neurobehavioral aspects of HIV infections, but who have no prior experience in neuroAIDS research. Support may include access to HNRC resources such as patients, samples, or expertise, or the costs of personnel, consultation with outside experts, assays, drugs, reagents, or equipment needed to complete pilot studies.

    (b) Pilot Studies

    Because even established investigators have difficulty obtaining grants without pilot data, this category will permit faculty at any level to fund pilot studies to demonstrate the feasibility of a new line of research and generate data to support applications for peer-reviewed funding.


  3. Examples of recently funded projects:

      Principal Investigator Title
    1. Hetta Gouse, PhD The impact of HIV and aging in the workplace: a study of professional drivers
    2.  Martin Hoenigl, MD Soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor and (1-3)-b-D-Glucan as cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers for neurocognitive functioning in HIV Infected adults
    3.  Michelli de Oliveira, PhD Association Between PTSD, Glucocorticoid Biology and HIV Persistence Among HIV-infected African American Women on Suppressive ART
    4. Erin Morgan, PhD Intraindividual Variability in Older HIV-seropositive Adults
    5. Maiko Sakamoto, PhD Development of a novel, touchpad-based screening battery for HAND
    6. Sarah Gianella-Weibel, MD HIV Population Dyanmics in CNS and neurocognitive disorder in virologically suppressed subjects
    7. Michelli Faria de Oliveira, PhD Associations between mitochondrial DNA, inflammation and neuronal damage
    9. Raeanne Moore, PhD The feasbility and validity of ecological momentary assessment of daily functioning in older adults with HIV
    10. Alex Bryant, MD Student Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma biomarkers of HIV-related neuropathology
    11. Jessica Montoya, Grad Student Neuroprotective effect of physical activity on cognition in HIV: cardiovascular mechanisms


  4. Who judges the merits of the proposals and how are applications reviewed?

    Invited applications will be reviewed for scientific merit and attention to HNRC priorities by domestic or international scientists with subject-area expertise recruited by the HNRC. Applicants are asked to nominate potential independent reviewers, with an eye to avoid naming those with a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest with the applicant (e.g., co-authors, co-investigators).

    Applications are awarded up to 15 points for scientific merit, relevance to HNRC goals, and relevance to Developmental Core goals. Primary emphasis is placed on significance of the research question and proposed study design and methods. A copy of the review criteria is available here
  5. Where can I find the application materials?

    You can download the forms here in MSWord format or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. receive the application materials.


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