Pilot grant applications received by the San Diego Center for AIDS Research (SD 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 research, and potential to generate subsequent grants and publications.


Reviewers assess 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 San Diego 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 San Diego 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 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 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 any area of basic science, clinical research, or public health research that are in alignment with HIV research priorities established by the Office of AIDS Research. Applications that do not concern one or more of these priorities will not be considered for SD CFAR funding. We encourage applicants to use services from our other Coreswhen appropriate for the application, though use of San Diego CFAR Cores is not required.


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

At a Glance