All applications are initially reviewed by three Scientific Review Committee members as part of a triage and are marked as competitive vs. non-competitive.
Each competitive application is then further reviewed by two Scientific Review Committee members based on the criteria listed below.
The highest scoring applications will then be discussed at length by all Scientific Review Committee members at a review meeting. The awardees and runners up are then selected by consensus of the committee.
All the applications that make it through to this stage are deemed highly competitive and will receive feedback outlining their research proposal strengths and areas for development.
Criterion 1: Evaluation of the Applicant
- Potential for a career in HIV-related research
- Academic record
- Prior research experience and/or publications
Criterion 2: Evaluation of the Mentor Support and Mentoring Plan
A mentor is someone who makes a commitment to your research career. They should be responsible for guiding not only your research proposal but also your application for funding and help you with your professional development and advancement.
As mentorship can come from different people for different aspects of your research career, we do allow co-mentorship although ask that one of your mentors be located within your institution.
- Letter of support from mentor(s) which includes: mentor's track record of productivity, funding, and success with prior trainees; detailed description of the mentoring plan, including resources allocated to the proposed research project, provision of protected time, and available laboratory facilities (if relevant)
- The mentor(s) is an independent investigator
- The mentor(s) has the experience to direct the proposed research training, as evidenced by the letter of support
- The mentoring training plan and mentor-mentee relationship is sufficient to facilitate the applicant's progress towards their research career goals
- Letter of support from the department chair or division chief to document the institution is willing, and has the ability, to commit the resources necessary for the applicant to complete the proposed research, including sufficient protected time.
It’s important that your mentor reviews your research proposal and associated documentation before submission to ensure it is at the highest standard and submitted error free.
For more guidance on what good mentorship looks like, the NIH has some helpful resources here: https://www.training.nih.gov/mentoring_guidelines
Criterion 3: Evaluation of the Proposal
- Innovation and Significance:The research proposal is new and original and addresses an important question/issue related to HIV. The proposed study will have an effect on concepts, methods, and/or technologies related to HIV research.
- Approach: The conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses are adequately developed, well-integrated, well-reasoned, feasible (as determined by preliminary data or the expertise available), and appropriate to the aims of the project. The applicant acknowledges potential problem areas and considers alternative tactics.
- Feasibility: The project, as described in the submitted proposal and budget, can be accomplished within the timeframe of the award.