CIPHER Grant Programme


Applications for the CIPHER Grant Programme – 2017/2018 round are now closed. Applicants will be notified in mid-December 2017 on the outcome of their applications.

With the generous support of an unrestricted grant from the ViiV Healthcare Paediatric Innovation Seed Fund, the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Grant Programme was established in 2012 to provide a total of US$1 million for research projects that address priority research gaps in paediatric HIV. The CIPHER grant offers early-stage investigators up to $75,000 each for up to two years of research.

The 2013 round was very successful, with a high level of response and many high-quality proposals submitted, demonstrating the great need to support early-stage investigators in paediatric HIV. Seven grantees were awarded at the 7th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2013) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Read more about the 2013 grantees, including the selection process.

In 2014, two additional grantees were selected based on the pool of short-listed applicants for the 2013 round. The 2014 grantees were awarded at the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) in Melbourne, Australia. Read more about the 2014 grantees.

The 2015 round was again very successful and, based on renewed support from ViiV Healthcare and additional funding from Janssen, five grantees were awarded at the 8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2015) in Vancouver, Canada. Read more about the 2015 grantees, including the selection process.

The 2016 round, which totalled 1.2 million dollars, was the largest in the initiative’s history. Made possible with a new £1 million grant commitment from ViiV Healthcare, CIPHER founding sponsors, and additional funding from Janssen, seven grantees were awarded at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa. Read more about the 2016 grantees, including the selection process.

CIPHER grantees attend the biennial IAS and international AIDS conferences, where they participate in the award ceremonies and professional development workshops and present their research. Registration, travel, accommodation and living allowance are covered through the research grant programme.

Learn more: Grant Programme 2013-2015 Impact Report


Promoting targeted research in paediatric HIV

The purpose of the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Grant Programme is to fund research projects that contribute to the optimization of diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care of infants, children and adolescents affected by HIV in resource-limited settings.

The intention is to attract early-stage investigators – from inside and outside the field of HIV research – to address critical research questions, while providing a unique opportunity for professional development.

To identify the most urgent research questions in paediatric HIV research, a needs assessment, including a rigorous review of scientific literature and key informant interviews with technical experts, was conducted. In 2015 an in-committee review was conducted to revise and update these research gaps. The identified research priorities provide the scope of the CIPHER Grant Programme.


Eligibility criteria

  • The principal investigator (PI) must be an early-stage investigator, i.e., an individual who obtained her/his terminal research degree (e.g., PhD, MD followed by research training, or MBBS) less than 10 years before the application deadline.
  • The PI must serve for the first time as primary PI. Primary PIs who previously received a non-training research grant exceeding US$ 30,000 are not eligible.
  • The PI must fulfil one of the following criteria prior to the submission deadline for the LOI:
    • He/she is a clinical/research trainee (e.g., fellow, senior resident) at an academic institute or an institute whose primary mission is research.
    • He/she has a faculty or comparable position (e.g., assistant professor, lecturer) at an academic institute or an institute whose primary mission is research.
    • He/she has an established position at an organization with adequate research infrastructure to undertake the proposed research activities.
  • The research project should demonstrate the potential to contribute to the optimization of HIV diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care of infants, children and adolescents affected by HIV in resource-limited settings by responding to identified research gaps (see list below).
  • Applications are encouraged from any country, but preference (approximately 80%) will be given to applicants from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) according to the World Bank classification.
  • The PI must choose a mentor with relevant expertise in paediatric HIV research (a mentorship plan and letter of commitment from the mentor will be requested from each shortlisted applicant invited to submit a full proposal).
  • The budget should reflect that at least 80% of the direct grant expenses will be spent in LMICs.

Supporting documents

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information about the CIPHER grant programme.

 

List of eligible research priorities

The research funded by the CIPHER Grant Programme must address the targeted research priorities outlined by the Research for an AIDS free generation: A global research agenda for paediatric HIV and Research for an AIDS free generation: A global research agenda for adolescents living with HIV. Eligible research projects include original research that falls within defined priority clinical and operational research questions. Meta-analyses and systematic reviews will be considered if they make a unique contribution to the outlined questions.

PAEDIATRIC HIV

Clinical Testing

  • Optimal placement and timing of novel diagnostic tools for point-of-care use;
  • Interventions to ensure timely linkage between HIV diagnosis, treatment and care;
  • Interventions or strategies to improve access to and uptake of HIV testing services for infants and children, particularly community-based approaches;
  • Factors that enable or hinder linkage to care and timely initiation of ART;
  • Effective, feasible and acceptable testing strategies (including routine testing at birth) at entry points other than antenatal care for identifying undiagnosed HIV-positive infants and children in different epidemic settings.

Treatment

  • Safety, efficacy, acceptability, pharmacokinetics and optimal dosing of existing and new antiretroviral drugs and formulations, particularly with novel drug delivery systems;
  • Strategies or interventions to improve adherence, and factors that impact their success;
  • Optimal prevention and clinical management of co-infections, particularly tuberculosis;
  • Impact of HIV infection and ART on short- and long-term outcomes, in particular non-communicable disease;
  • Short- and long-term virologic and immunologic outcomes of starting very early treatment in infants living with HIV (impact on functional cure).

Service Delivery

  • Strategies or interventions to improve access to, uptake of and retention in care, and factors that impact their success;
  • Service delivery models to improve individual and programmatic outcomes along the HIV cascade, including integration of comprehensive HIV treatment and care into the maternal and child health platform;
  • Psychosocial and family support strategies or interventions to improve individual and programmatic outcomes;
  • Strategies or interventions to improve and support parents, caregivers and healthcare providers to facilitate HIV disclosure to children, as well as factors that impact their success;
  • Strategies or interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination experienced by children and their caregivers.

ADOLESCENT HIV

Testing

  • Strategies and interventions to improve access to and uptake of HIV testing services, and factors that impact their success;
  • Strategies and interventions to improve linkage of newly diagnosed adolescents to HIV treatment, and factors that impact their success;
  • Safe and acceptable strategies or interventions to improve access to and uptake of HIV testing services for adolescents from key populations;
  • Consent policies and practices to facilitate access to and uptake of HIV testing services in adolescents;
  • Safety, acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of self-testing.

Treatment

  • Effective monitoring approaches and strategies to improve adherence among adolescents and factors that impact their success;
  • Safety, efficacy and acceptability of novel drug delivery systems;
  • Prevention and clinical management of co-infections, particularly tuberculosis;
  • Optimal sequencing of ART in adolescents;
  • Impact of HIV infection and ART on short- and long-term outcomes of adolescents, in particular non-communicable diseases.

Service Delivery

  • Interventions to improve retention in care and factors that affect their success;
  • Strategies or interventions to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes in adolescents living with HIV;
  • Strategies or interventions to support pregnant adolescents living with HIV and improve both maternal and child health outcomes;
  • Service delivery models to improve outcomes along the HIV cascade, including peer interventions and differentiated service delivery models;
  • Psychosocial support strategies or interventions to improve individual and programmatic outcomes.