Apply for Funds to Develop Innovative, High-Impact HIV Vaccine Approaches

Funding News Edition: May 17, 2023
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Can you develop high-risk, high-impact research to prevent acquisition of or infection by HIV? If so, consider applying for research funds through a reissued notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) Innovation for HIV Vaccine Discovery (R01, Clinical Trial Not Allowed).

The main objective of this NOFO is to support early discovery of novel exploratory vaccine strategies to prevent HIV infection, while continuing to support worthy basic vaccine discovery research that has not yet been fully exploited. If you are a new, early-stage, or at-risk principal investigator, we welcome your application. Try to build an interdisciplinary approach among virologists, immunologists, molecular and systems biologists, microbiologists, clinical scientists, and relevant specialists.

Specific Areas of Research Interest

Proposed projects should have the potential to significantly impact the design of immunogens or immunization strategies for HIV vaccines. Research projects and studies may include the following topics:

  • Novel vaccine approaches to elicit durable cellular responses and/or humoral protective immunity against HIV, SIV, and/or SHIV.
  • Explore mechanisms of vaccine induced and/or imprinted innate immune responses that can be recalled in response to subsequent vaccination or infection.
  • Novel strategies to direct protective immunity to relevant anatomical sites (e.g., vaginal, rectal mucosa, secondary lymphoid tissues).
  • Studies of novel antigen processing, presentation or priming mechanisms that engender broadly reactive (e.g., neutralizing) antibodies, or effector cellular responses (e.g., T cells and NK cells).
  • Development of new animal models, assays, adjuvants, or vaccine formulations/platforms but only if specifically linked to a novel vaccine intervention strategy for prevention of acquisition or clearance of virus-infected cells; evaluation of proposed hypotheses with appropriate animal models is highly encouraged.
  • Use of clinical specimens to answer key questions about systemic or mucosal immune responses to HIV infection in humans that could lead to vaccine improvements. Applicants may wish to contact the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.
  • Previously unexplored HIV-/SIV-encoded targets as immunogens.
  • Functional –omics, and AI/machine learning approaches to achieve the NOFO’s objectives.

Include Go/No-Go Criteria in Your Applications

This NOFO requires applicants to include a detailed project performance “timeline” and Go/No-Go criteria with clear metrics by the end of the second award year.

NIH program staff will evaluate the progress of research towards stated Go/No-Go criteria at the end of year 2 and awardees who meet the criteria will continue for years 3 and 4 at the approved budget level.

Nonresponsive Applications

Applicants should not propose the following studies as NIAID will consider the applications to be nonresponsive and not review them.

  • Applications including product development or clinical trials.
  • Descriptive basic research or structural studies without plausible or direct application to HIV vaccines.
  • Incremental improvements of approaches, including iterative studies that propose next step(s) in vaccine development approaches currently under development or in clinical studies.
  • Using antiretroviral therapeutic agents as part of a vaccination strategy.
  • Incorporating behavioral research components within a vaccination strategy.
  • Development of therapeutic HIV vaccines.
  • Applications without a Go/No-Go Decision/Criteria section.

Award Information and Deadline

The annual budget request is limited to $350,000 in annual direct costs but applicants may request up to an additional $150,000 in annual direct costs in any year if they propose and justify nonhuman primate or humanized mice model research topics.

The projected award project period is up to 4 years, but applicants should apply for a 4-year project period and are required to identify Go/No-Go decision criteria for the year 2 progress report to determine continued funding for years 3 and 4.

The first deadline for AIDS-related applications is August 2, 2023, by 5 p.m. local time of the applicant organization. Subsequent AIDS-related application deadlines are on August 2, 2024, and August 1, 2025.

Contact Information

Direct any inquiries to Dr. Jon Warren, NIAID’s scientific/research contact, at or 301-592-7926.

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Email us at for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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