Geneva, Switzerland – The International AIDS Society (IAS), in partnership with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the NIH-supported Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR), today announced the launch of a new round of the joint research grant programme, Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research (CNIHR).

The CNIHR programme supports projects intended to advance the scientific understanding of HIV by exploring new approaches to pressing scientific questions on such issues as the long-term survival of individuals with HIV infection, strategies to control viral reservoirs and research leading toward a cure for HIV/AIDS, and new approaches for the prevention of HIV transmission including treatment as prevention. “The NIH is delighted to continue this important international partnership, which is designed to promote innovative research and new ideas from early-stage investigators whose primary focus has previously been in fields of scientific inquiry other than HIV/AIDS,” Dr Jack Whitescarver, NIH Associate Director for AIDS Research and Director of the Office of AIDS Research, said. “The science of AIDS is making important strides, and we need to continue to generate innovative ideas and build multi-disciplinary collaborations. We must recruit and train tomorrow’s leading HIV researchers from across many areas of science, whose work will benefit not only HIV, but other fields of research as well.”

Given the limited resources available to pursue the rollout of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to all who need it, as well as the fact that in resource-limited settings, new infections continue to outstrip numbers of people on treatment by two to one, there is a strong need for continued investments to find new strategies to tackle the HIV epidemic. “In the current economic climate of treatment funding shortages and with a scale of unmet need that can only increase, the IAS is highly concerned by the long-term sustainability of antiretroviral therapy rollout,” Elly Katabira, IAS President, said. “Along with our partners, the IAS is committed to investing in finding better and more cost-effective options to curb the epidemic. One of the ways we can pursue this is through the CNIHR research grant programme.”

The first round of grants was announced in 2010. The joint programme awarded a total of US$3.4 million to fund the research projects of outstanding early-stage researchers. Each awardee is funded for up to two years with up to $150,000 (direct costs) per year plus applicable indirect costs .

“The truly international nature of this programme – it is open to candidates globally – enables it to select the best research projects from all over the world,” Prof Michael Saag , Director of CFAR at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, commented. “ The first 10 awardees come from a wide range of scientific disciplines and locations, including Australia, India, Mexico, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.”

The first step of the competitive application process is now open on the CNIHR website ( www.cnihr.org) and will close on 17 October 2011. Applicants will be asked to complete a two-step process to assess the quality of their research projects. Awardees will be selected by mid-April 2012 and will be able to start their research projects in June 2012. The research projects will be supported in collaboration with a CFAR institution with expertise in each candidate’s area of proposed research.

“Through this programme, promising young researchers have access to CFAR’s solid expertise and infrastructure, which is extremely important for the success of their projects,” Prof King Holmes, Director of the CFAR at the University of Washington, said. Awardees will also have the chance to take part in a networking and training programme at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), which will be held in Washington D.C. on 22-27 July 2012, where the results of the selection process will be announced.


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