Collaborative Developmental Award

Sponsored by the NIAID Centers for HIV Structural Biology U54 Program


The HARC (HIV Accessory and Regulatory Complex) Center has funds to support up to three Collaborative Developmental Awards per year. The goal for these collaborative grants is to advance the HARC Center’s central mission to improve our understanding of HIV-host protein complexes and expand therapeutic targets and treatment modalities for HIV/AIDS. 

Awardees of this program must be collaborators outside of the HARC center and either early stage investigators or new-to-HIV research investigators with expertise, technology, or research interests relevant to the Center’s research foci. We are committed to increasing ethnic and gender diversity in the Center and encourage qualified applications from females and other underrepresented groups.

Award Information:

Funding for this program is a maximum of $150,000 in direct costs with a funding period of one year. A detailed budget and justification are required in the application. Awardees will be required to participate in the HARC Center’s annual SAB Meeting, monthly All-Hands Scientific Meetings, and other HARC events where they will be strongly encouraged to present their research. Budget must include travel costs to the annual NIH program meeting and to visit the HARC Center as needed.

Eligibility Criteria:

Awards are open to any interested Early Stage or “New to HIV Research” investigators at faculty-level or equivalent at qualified institutions in the United States or foreign institutes. Projects must involve collaboration with one or more HARC Center Investigator and may encompass research to obtain preliminary data for an R01 application, perform feasibility studies, support new and emerging science in HIV research, and facilitate new collaborations among faculty or institutions in diverse areas of science in support of high priority HIV research.

Research Objectives and Scope:

The HARC Center is one of five interdisciplinary research centers funded by the NIH AIDS-Related Structural Biology Program. The Center focuses on improving our understanding of the interactions between HIV accessory and regulatory proteins and host cellular systems, with the ultimate goal to expand on therapeutic targets and treatment modalities for HIV/AIDS. 

The HARC Center utilizes an integrated “Systems-to-Structure” platform that includes (1) Discovery, through functional proteomics and genetics technologies developed in the HARC Center, (2) Validation, through breakthrough CRISPR methods in primary T cells and targeted biochemical and functional assays; and (3) Structure Determination, using innovative structural techniques to address large, flexible, heterogeneous, and membrane-associated complexes that are studied. See the HARC Center website at http://harc.ucsf.edu for more information.

Proposed projects for Collaborative Development Awards (CDAs) should address topics relevant to HARC Projects research efforts, and may include specific technologies that complement or advance HARC Cores approaches.

Required Application Components: 

  1. Abstract 300 words maximum
  2. Specific Aims (1 page maximum) [Arial, font size 11], which will additionally include a justification for why the proposed work addresses a major challenge and complements HARC Center objectives
  3. Research Strategy (6 page maximum) single-spaced [Arial, font size 11] including: Significance/Innovation; Approach & Preliminary Data; and Milestones
  4. Applicants must include an additional eligibility statement (1 page maximum) that details their status as either an early career HIV investigator or investigator new to the HIV research field. Also included should be the names of collaborating HARC investigators, as well as their roles and how the resources and expertise of the Center will be utilized. 
    • Applicants cannot currently be HARC investigators, but will be required to coordinate with the HARC Center investigator(s) when preparing this statement, as the goal is to create a sufficient connection to the Center to ensure success of the project from the outset.
  5. References cited
  6. NIH format biosketches for key personnel
  7. NIH Research & Related budget and justification (up to $150,000 direct costs)
    • Budget must follow NIH guidelines   
  8. Institutional F&A negotiated rate agreement
  9. Projects involving human or animal subjects are allowed with appropriate approvals (i.e., IRB, IACUC).

Please download and complete the Application Form and submit as one PDF to [email protected] with the subject line “HARC CDA Application” by 9:00 AM PT on March 4, 2024. Please direct any questions to [email protected].

Review Criteria:

Completed applications that meet eligibility requirements will be evaluated by a review committee that will rank and score applications based on the following review criteria: (1) significance and innovation of the research, (2) productivity, training, experience and record of accomplishment of the investigator(s), (3) soundness of the research strategy, including measures to ensure reproducibility and reliability of results and appropriate consideration of biological variables such as gender of subjects, if relevant, (4) scientific environment and how it will contribute to success of the proposed work and (5) complementarity and and integration into the existing research within HARC, and potential to be developed into an R21 or R01 grant. In addition, all collaborative grants will be evaluated for ethical and safety considerations and required to comply with federal regulations and NIH policies. For research that involves human subjects, the committee will evaluate the justification and proposed protections from research risk relating to human subject participation according to the NIH Guidelines for Reviewers: Protections for Human Subjects Review Criterion. The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment using the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section (VAS), determine if plans are appropriate relative to the scientific work proposed, and monitor and ensure compliance of all projects involving human or animal subjects upon award.

Progress Reporting: 

Progress/final reports will be due to the HARC Center one month prior to the Center’s NIH progress reporting date and at the end of the project period. The funding period is one year, but a no-cost extension can be granted if justified in the progress report. Renewals for one year are possible and require scientific justification. Final reports will be required to include research progress, including metrics such as resulting submitted and/or accepted publications and follow-on grant applications, as well as future plans. Awardees should describe if outcomes described in the application have been accomplished or justify why outcomes could not be achieved or have been modified. Progress reports will be provided to the HARC Center Director and the NIH program office.

Program Contact: 

HARC Admin team: [email protected]