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The mission of the Development Core is to operationalize the Scientific Agenda of the UAB CFAR through strategic investment, targeted recruitment, and to ensure the development of early investigators in HIV research. This is accomplished through the provision of direct financial support, partnerships with Departmental leaders on campus, and through directed mentorship and linkage to UAB CFAR services and collaborative investigators for emerging scientists. The Developmental Core acts as a mentoring and research integration support system serving UAB investigators engaged in HIV/AIDS research, with a particular emphasis on supporting early stage and underrepresented minority investigators. Implementation of the UAB CFAR vision has been and remains key to the dynamic and vibrant research environment that has made it one of the most prolific contributors to HIV research for almost 30 years.

The Developmental Core steers the UAB CFAR in promoting basic, translational, clinical, and community-engaged research. Core aims include mentoring early career UAB CFAR faculty members to compete and cope with the rigors of academic research. The core provides targeted mentoring to junior faculty via faculty development programs and linkage to mentors specific to their research area and career ambitions. The core also provides linkage to collaborators with the UAB HIV Network affiliations and assistance with grant writing and review. Mentorship training is enhanced via collaborations with the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science and UAB’s Graduate School. The core administers the highly successful CFAR Developmental Grant Program. As our investment in young investigators impacts future HIV research efforts at UAB, the program is aligned with the NIH’s HIV/AIDS Research initiatives and with an emphasis placed on the career development of young investigators and underrepresented minority investigators. The core fosters a collaborative research environment through the interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) and our scientific working group (SWG). Working on a common topic, via the IRG or SWG mechanism, is an effective strategy to promote the generation of new scientific ideas and the development of new areas of collaborative or independent research. CFAR IRGs, as well as a newly formed Ending HIV in Alabama SWG, serve to identify collaborative opportunities for senior and junior investigators and to facilitate mentoring and academic development of young investigators. 


 CFAR Pilot Application Guide Clinical Research Guidance for Pilots Clinical Research checklist for pilots Biosketch template
Specific Aims workshop NIH Application Guide SF424 Budget Template CCTS PDQ
Spark Grants Join SWG or IRG Research Roundtable CCTS NPP



CFAR Developmental Pilot Program One year of pilot funding is available for applications aligned to the four pillars of the CFAR scientific mission of prevention, drug discovery, pathogenesis and understanding the natural history of HIV infection. Join our listserv for announcements Concepts due in March; Full Proposals due in April;
Funding Starts June 1
 CFAR Specific Aims Workshop  Half-day workshop to help investigators develop refine the specific aims page of an upcoming NIH grant submissionspecific aims workshop by connecting with experienced facilitators.  Specific Aims Webpage  Workshops held in March (May Submissions) and October (Jan. Submission)  NA
Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research Two years of funding available for early-stage investigators to explore new and innovative ideas HIV research. Must have no prior HIV pubs or grants. Hosted every 2 years (Oct - January) Latest round Open 11/09/15
Closed Jan 2016
See CNIHR website
HIV and Aging One year pilot awards focused on aging in HIV that incorporate CFAR and Pepper Center (OAIC) resources. Hosted annually November-January Sign up for the CFAR Listserv Currently closed, pending funding renewal  Download the 2016-2017 RFA
CCTS Translational Research Pilot Projects This program funds new interdisciplinary clinical and translational research projects to grow mature research programs in these areas. UAB CCTS Website Hosted Annually  Visit the CCTS  Website
Pain and Supportive Care in HIV Research Awards (Prep) The mission of PREP is to fund the UAB community in innovative research; contributing to the evidence base of palliative and supportive care and enhancing the prospect for external funding opportunities. UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care CLOSED  Announced via the Listserv
Complications of Diabetes CFAR and the Diabetes Research Center (DRC) partner to co-sponsor pilot studies focused on complications of diabetes within the context of HIV. DRC Website  Hosted Annually Announced via the Listserv
 AIDS Malignancies Pilot Awards  To develop new research in AIDS-defining or non-AIDS defining cancers.     As funding allows Announced via the Listserv 

SPARK/Researcher Support Grants

SPARK logo

The purpose of this funding is to enhance career development of HIV/AIDS researchers at UAB and to encourage collaboration with other HIV/AIDS investigators.

Eligible costs include: 
  • Meeting registration fees
  • Travel costs associated with scientific meetings
  • Training / Educational activities 
  • IRB-associated costs
  • Publication fees

UAB CFAR Trainees include pre- or post-doctoral fellows and or junior faculty (Assistant Professor or below in rank) with a commitment to a career in HIV/AIDS research. Criteria for funding include:
  • For scientific meetings which have presentations by attendees, funds will only be awarded if an investigator is making a presentation (oral or poster) and intending to foster existing or new collaborations. 
  • All costs must be directly related to HIV/AIDS research. “HIV-related research” is defined broadly and includes basic science, clinical, behavioral epidemiological, translational and health services research. "
  • All requests must be fully justified prior to award (see application). 
  • Description of outcomes from the activity and/or how the award contributed to the development of the recipient as an HIV/AIDS investigator must be provided

Applicants are eligible for one award per year of up to $2500 per award. CFAR will make 5 awards in the Fall term and 5 awards in the Spring term each year.  Those deemed not eligible may apply again in the following term. Awards must be used within 1 year.  Signup for the CFAR listserv to receive announcements regarding this and other CFAR-related information. 

Apply Here--this funding opportunity is now closed until 2019


Optimal mentoring of young students and faculty is a common goal of a number of UAB organizations. CFAR actively collaborates with the UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) and the Department of Medicine to leverage the existing mentoring resources and programming to benefit to our investigators. Visit the UAB CCTS Training Academy website for funding, grant resources, and archives, mentoring, and career development resources. Contact Mirjam-Colette Kempf or Mary Thielen for more information.

The CFAR Mentoring Program assists young investigators who are working in the area of HIV/AIDS/HCV at UAB. The services include matching mentors with mentees and conflict resolution services, as needed. Mentees may be matched with a research mentor as well as a career mentor. The roles of career mentors will differ in that the research mentor is expected to have expertise within their research area while the career mentor may not be matched based upon similar clinical or research interest but would rather serve as someone who provides guidance in career development (e.g., obtaining the first faculty position, contract negotiation, finding career/life balance, etc.).

All CFAR Developmental awardees must have a CFAR-affiliated mentor to facilitate career development. A mentor should be identified as part of the pilot application process. To ensure that you and mentor/ collaborator have a clear understanding of your respective roles, responsibilities, and research goals, we ask that you develop a brief written agreement (one page) with your mentor that describes the following:
a.     Expectations for the mentoring/collaborative experience. Expectations regarding the time and frequency of meetings, which may include time spent on site at the CFAR home institution.
b.     The timetable for the project, which may include time spent on site with the mentor as a visiting scientist at the mentor’s institution to foster collaboration and mentoring.
c.     Expectations about collaboration on this project (i.e., authorship of presentations and publications).
This agreement must be signed by both parties and should be submitted to Mary Thielen (

Faculty Development

The following services are available from the core to enhance trainee development:

  • Scientific Guidance/Mentoring for Faculty Development is offered through specialized mentoring for all developmental grant awardees.
    •  Contact Mirjam-Colette Kempf or Mary Thielen to request help identifying an HIV mentor. 
    • Develop a Mentoring Contract. See the Mentoring Tab for instructions
  • Investigational Research Groups (IRGs) support interdisciplinary collaborations to explore new research initiatives across diverse disciplines.
    • IRGs are created at the discretion of the CFAR Executive Committee as emerging areas of research are identified.  Visit the CFAR IRG webpage for information on active groups. Pilot funding is offered to these groups through a competitive process.
  • Grant Preparation Services help advance the highest quality grant applications by members and increase the prospect for new funding awards.
    • Services include financial planning, grantsmanship assistance and establishing links between the PI and appropriate experts at UAB for Letters of Collaboration (especially Core Directors and facilities available to CFAR members).


Paul Goepfert, MD

Co-Director, Mentoring and Faculty Development
Mirjam-Colette Kempf, PhD

Core Program Coordinator
Mary Thielen

University of Alabama at Birmingham
BBRB 5th floor
908 20th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294

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