September 2018 Trans-Divisional Council-Approved Concepts

Concepts represent early planning stages for program announcements, requests for applications, or solicitations for Council's input. If NIAID publishes an initiative from one of these concepts, we link to it below. To find initiatives, go to Opportunities & Announcements.

NB: Council approval does not guarantee that a concept will become an initiative.

Table of Contents

U.S.-South Africa Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research-Phase 2

Request for Applications—proposed FY 2020 initiative

Contact: Holly Curtis


Reduce Incidence of HIV (Prevention)

  • Understanding HIV transmission dynamics among different populations and age groups, and the geographic distribution of HIV prevalence and incidence
  • Informing development of new biomedical prevention strategies through understanding host/virus interactions associated with HIV acquisition, establishment of infection, and disease progression
  • Prevention of mother-to-child HIV-transmission in era of South Africa “Option B” policy
  • Voluntary medical male circumcision programs and impact in different populations
  • Effects of maternal HIV infection and antiretroviral treatment on HIV-exposed uninfected children
  • HIV prevention particularly in men and young/adolescent women
  • Combination prevention strategies
  • Role of food insecurity and nutrition in prevention, care, and treatment of HIV/AIDS
  • Novel strategies to enhance uptake of HIV testing and sustained linkage to care by men ages 25 to 40 years to assist South Africa in achieving the three 90s in the UNAIDS 90-90-90 strategy
  • Strategies to achieve high uptake and adherence to daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis in young women in South Africa
  • Risk factors, causes, and sequelae of genital inflammation and its role in HIV acquisition in women
  • The potential role of broadly neutralizing antibodies in HIV prevention and treatment
  • The potential role of long-acting injectable technologies in HIV prevention and treatment
  • What interventions can reduce HIV risk for key populations
  • New HIV testing technologies, such as self-testing, and innovative testing strategies, such as index testing
  • Examination of pathophysiology and direction of effects between mental disorders and HIV acquisition as well as broader HIV outcomes
  • Motivations and reasons for age-disparate sexual partnering (> 10 years age difference) and its role in HIV acquisition
  • Studies related to use and/or disposal of condoms taken or received from government clinics and hospitals
  • Strategies that can reduce the impact of stigma, gender bias, prejudice, and homophobia on HIV prevention, care, and treatment
  • Strategies that can strengthen demand for HIV services among different populations

Develop Next-Generation HIV Therapies (Treatment and Care Continuum)

  • Best approaches to optimizing durability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens beyond the first-line regimen. For example; how can adherence and retention best be supported to prevent regimen failure? Can resuming second-line regimens be successful with adherence support when there is loss of virologic control, rather than switching to third-line regimens?
  • Research on testing, linkage, and adherence to HIV treatment, and retention in care, including use of mobile technologies
  • Approaches to monitoring ART treatment
  • Strategies to improve annual viral load testing rates for patients on ART so that South Africa can improve this shortcoming in the current ART scale-up activities. Strategies that lead to patients’ demanding to know their annual viral loads and/or that lead to health care providers increasing their annual viral load testing rates would be considered responsive.
  • Optimal programmatic combinations of HIV treatment and contraception
  • Differentiated care, including adherence clubs and alternate drug delivery
  • Strategies to standardize use of unique patient identifiers for all patient records, tests, and healthcare engagement

Research Toward HIV Cure

  • Research toward "functional cure" for pediatric HIV

Address HIV-Associated Co-Morbidities, Co-Infections, and Complications

  • Interplay or impact of tuberculosis (TB) with HIV infection and its management
  • Chronic inflammation in treated HIV disease
  • Approaches to integrate chronic disease and mental health care into AIDS care services
  • Approaches to enhance and support integration of HIV and TB care
  • Discovery, development, and/or testing of diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarkers, host-directed therapies, and vaccines (both preventive and therapeutic) for people living with HIV/AIDS


  • Epidemiology of cancer in persons with HIV (PWH) in the era of antiretroviral therapy
  • Studies that identify biological differences between AIDS-defining and non-AIDS-defining cancers
  • Understanding interactions of HIV with human papillomavirus, human herpes viruses (EBV and HHV-8), hepatitis B and C viruses, herpes simplex virus, and other oncogenic viral co-infections that lead to increased cancer risks
  • Studies on pathogenesis and pathobiology of virally-associated cancers in PWH
  • Strategies for optimizing diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer in PWH
  • Studies on complications and outcomes of treating cancers in HIV-infected versus HIV-uninfected populations
  • Studies that enhance our understanding of the role stigma plays in accessing cancer screening and care as well as its impact on survivorship

Behavior and HIV Risk

  • Integrative approaches to treating and preventing mental health and substance abuse co-morbidities in HIV, especially in youth and women exposed to violence or abuse
  • Studies to test novel approaches to integrate screening for mental symptoms or disorders into HIV prevention or care, with referral and linkages to appropriate levels of mental healthcare in South Africa
  • Studies on biomarkers to assess the status of mental disorders, HIV, and other co-morbidities
  • Cost-effectiveness studies to assess economic benefits of integrating HIV and mental health system approaches
  • Mechanisms (e.g., neurotoxic, epigenetic) underlying genetic, physiological, environmental, social, cultural, and economic factors and interactions that affect brain function or development and result in neurobehavioral outcomes (e.g., expression of cognitive impairment, coping, adaptation, response to intervention)
  • Evaluation of the interaction among neuropsychiatric co-morbidities in HIV- and age-related cognitive, physical, and functional decline and how this is affected by socio-environmental factors
  • Neurobehavioral sequelae of perinatal and in utero exposure to HIV, other infections, and antiretroviral and related treatments
  • Studies on the relationship between stress and HIV (e.g., investigating stress-induced immune changes and implications for HIV; impact of stress and HIV on cognitive impairment; psychosocial dynamics impacted by HIV and stress; and implications of stress on HIV reservoirs)
  • Longitudinal outcomes of the co-occurrence of HIV, alcohol and/or drug use, and other mental health co-morbidities (e.g., depression), and associated genetic, epigenetic, neurobiological, and environmental mechanisms
  • The role of alcohol and drug use in gender-based violence and rape


  • Research on TB pathogenesis and biomarkers
  • Latent TB infection, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Scale-up of TB prevention and treatment strategies
  • Novel approaches and better understanding of current modalities
  • TB prevention, including TB preventative therapy, infection control in medical facilities, and reducing transmission in public spaces
  • TB treatment, including short course TB therapies
  • Pediatric TB treatment and formulation strategies
  • Discovery and development of point-of-care diagnostics and diagnostic strategies
  • TB epidemiology, including novel surveillance methods, such as mobile technologies and mathematical modeling
  • Maternal and pediatric TB
  • Strategies to improve TB-related health-seeking behavior, including adherence to directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS) programs and healthcare utilization for early TB diagnosis
  • Studies on the pathogenesis and interactions of TB with parasitic diseases prevalent in high-burden settings
  • Identifying sources of transmission in high-incidence settings
  • Developing active case finding strategies
  • Evaluating novel technologies for treatment adherence
  • Risk factors for extrapulmonary TB; strategies for improved diagnosis of extrapulmonary TB
  • Influence of infection with non-tuberculous mycobacteria on TB outcomes (treatment, diagnosis, and prevention)
  • Utility of differential diagnosis of TB (including speciation) at the point of care (differentiate early from diseases with similar presentation, i.e., pneumonia, non-tuberculous mycobacteria infections)
  • Optimal strategies to find and treat multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB

Sexually Transmitted Infections (Independent of HIV Infection)

  • Research on pathogenesis of organisms that cause sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Understanding of natural history, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Understanding and scale-up of prevention and treatment strategies
  • Novel approaches and better understanding of current modalities
  • Development of improved prevention and treatment strategies for STIs
  • Discovery and development of vaccines and new therapeutics
  • Discovery and development of point-of-care diagnostics and diagnostic strategies
  • Epidemiology of STIs including novel surveillance methods, such as mobile technologies and mathematical modeling
  • Understanding of maternal and neonatal outcomes caused by STIs
  • Understanding of antibiotic resistance development in STIs and strategies to decrease the emergence of resistance


  • Bovine TB
  • Zoonotic parasitic infections of humans

Malaria and Other Parasitic Diseases

  • Molecular epidemiology of malaria and other parasitic diseases of humans
  • Molecular entomology of vectors that transmit malaria and other parasitic diseases
  • Research on malaria pathogenesis, especially molecular aspects and identification of quantitative biomarkers of individual burden of disease and progression of disease
  • Immunology and translational vaccinology for malaria and other parasitic diseases, especially with novel vaccine platforms
  • Molecular biology and biochemistry of malaria and other parasitic diseases of humans
  • Preclinical and translational aspects of drug development for malaria and other parasitic diseases of humans
  • Improved diagnostics for malaria and other parasitic diseases of humans, especially point-of-care diagnostics, high throughput diagnostics, diagnostics for drug or insecticide resistance, and diagnostics suitable for use in low-incidence settings

Arboviruses and Emerging/Re-Emerging Viral Pathogens

  • Epidemiology/natural history studies to understand the burden and disease evolution of arboviruses/emerging and re-emerging viral diseases
  • Studies on animal reservoirs (e.g., nonhuman primates) and arthropod vectors (e.g., mosquitoes) to understand viral circulation and mechanism of emergence and transmission of new viral infections
  • Research on pathogenesis of arboviruses/emerging and re-emerging viral diseases, and identification of biomarkers of disease and progression of disease
  • Studies of immune responses to natural infection
  • Discovery and development of vaccines and therapeutics
  • Development and improvement of diagnostics for arboviruses/emerging and re-emerging viral diseases, especially point-of-care diagnostics, high throughput diagnostics, and multiplex diagnostics
  • Mathematical modeling to predict epidemic spread of newly emerged viral diseases

Vector Biology and Control

  • Molecular entomology of vectors that transmit malaria and other infectious diseases of humans
  • Epidemiologic studies of arthropod vector-targeted interventions for infectious diseases of humans

Description: This initiative will renew the U.S.-South Africa Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research for another five-year term and provide support for U.S. and South African scientists to collaborate through scientific teams with members in both countries. It will enhance ongoing collaborations and support early-career investigators and innovative ideas. Coordinated support from NIH and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) will continue to expand research capacity in South Africa, including fostering future research endeavors with scientists from neighboring countries in the southern Africa region.

U.S. and South African collaborating investigators will submit a joint application to NIH. NIH will manage peer review and funding decisions following standard procedures. U.S. and SAMRC will consider shared research priorities when developing the scope of the funding opportunity. SAMRC will provide complementary funding, channeled through NIH mechanisms.

U.S.-Brazil Collaborative Biomedical Research

For the published request for applications, see the December 4, 2018 Guide announcement, U.S.-Brazil Collaborative Biomedical Research Program (R01 Clinical Trial Optional).

Content last reviewed on December 10, 2018