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Pilot grant applications are evaluated on a number of criteria, including investigator eligibility, scientific merit, relevance, and potential for generating subsequent funding and publications.

Pilot grant applications received by the UC San Diego Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) are evaluated by local, national, and international experts. Reviewers are selected based on expertise and lack of conflict of interest. These reviewers rate each application on a number of criteria, including the applicant's eligibility, the application's scientific merit, relevance to HIV/AIDS research, and potential to generate subsequent grants and publications.


Reviewers assess each the eligibility of each applicant and assign a rating, with preference given to junior-level investigators who have no other NIH or equivalent funding. Please review our eligibility requirements before you apply.


  1. Postdoctoral fellows may not apply for Pilot grants, and these grants may not be used to provide salaries for postdoctoral fellows. Postdoctoral fellows may not serve as the CFAR collaborator on Pilot grant applications.
  2. Pilot grants cannot support clinical trials or studies involving new drugs, treatments, or devices, or off-label use of a licensed drug.
  3. Pilot grants cannot fund travel to scientific meetings. The only exception is that unfunded junior investigators may include travel to a scientific meeting to present the results of the CFAR International Pilot grant.
  4. Applicants may submit only one Pilot grant application per cycle.

Scientific merit

Pilot grant reviewers are renowned experts in all areas of HIV/AIDS research. They evaluate each application on its creativity, feasibility in an international setting, and potential contribution to the current body of scientific knowledge.


Pilot grant applications must address an aspect of HIV/AIDS research relevant to the investigator's home country or propose a new concept that has yet to be studied in depth. Studies will be considered in virtually any area of basic science, clinical research, or public health research. We encourage applicants to use services from our other Cores when appropriate for the application, though use of CFAR Cores is not required.


The UC San Diego CFAR is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Our continued funding requires proof of our overall contribution to HIV/AIDS research. Consequently, each grant application is evaluated on its potential to generate subsequent peer-reviewed funding and publications.