amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

General RFP:Mathilde Krim Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Research - Deadline: CLOSED 

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is pleased to announce the availability of support for Mathilde Krim Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Research.


Krim Fellowship applicants must have a research or clinical doctorate and no more than four years of postdoctoral training at the time of LOI submission, and are expected to secure an independent research position by no later than six months following the end of the two year fellowship period of performance (i.e., within 2.5 years following the start of fellowship funding).

The Krim Fellowship applicant must be mentored during the funding period by an experienced investigator who: (a) is affiliated with the same nonprofit institution; (b) is qualified to oversee the proposed research; (c) has successfully supervised postdoctoral fellows; and (d) is at the associate professor level or higher.


Available Support and Performance Period

Each fellowship is funded at a total of up to $125,000 (phase I): A direct cost maximum of $110,000 is allowed for personnel (salary and fringe benefits) and other research-related expenses. It is expected that a Krim fellow will devote the decided majority of his or her time to the approved fellowship project. Personnel costs supported by the fellowship grant must represent a minimum of 85% effort and be consistent with institution policy for other institution personnel of similar rank and title, regardless of source(s) of support. An additional $3,636 is provided to support the direct costs of participation in activities designated by amfAR. Institutional indirect costs may not exceed 10% of direct costs.

Contingent upon subsequent application and peer review, phase II funding for an additional 12 months may be approved to support basic biomedical HIV/AIDS research costs (up to $50,000 total cost) during the first year of a independent research position at any US or international nonprofit research institution.

The period of performance for Mathilde Krim Fellowships awarded under this RFP will be from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2013.



Background and Areas of Interest

amfAR plays a uniquely important role in AIDS research, identifying critical gaps in our knowledge of HIV and AIDS and supporting groundbreaking studies that often lack the preliminary data required by more traditional funders. The Foundation's research program focuses on efforts to prevent HIV infection among vulnerable populations and to improve treatment, with the ultimate goal of eradicating the virus in people living with HIV infection.

The goal of amfAR’s Mathilde Krim Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Research program is to provide funding for exceptional researchers who are new to the HIV/AIDS field. Krim Fellowship funding will support the successful applicant’s ongoing HIV research and facilitate the transition to a productive and independent long-term career in the HIV/AIDS biomedical research field. The Krim Fellowship provides support for two years of postdoctoral research, with the possibility of one additional year of research support during the first year of an independent research position.

Research fellowships offer an invaluable source of support for talented new investigators for whom funding opportunities are increasingly scarce. According to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the proportion of funding awarded to scientists aged 35 or less dropped from 23 percent in 1980 to less than four percent in 2001. The trend continues: A recent Nature Medicine article reported that the number of young scientists securing NIH grants fell by 14 percent between 2003 and 2006.  Meanwhile, the average age at which principal investigators receive their first independent research funding from NIH (R01) has risen to 42 years for Ph.D. degree holders and 44 years for M.D. and M.D./ Ph.D. degree holders.

Applicants must be conducting basic biomedical research on HIV/AIDS to be considered for funding in this program. 

Phase I of the Krim Fellowship is intended to support salary and research costs associated with the conduct of basic biomedical research on HIV/AIDS during the final two years of a postdoctoral or equivalent appointment at any US or international nonprofit research institution (such as a college or university).  Applicants are expected to start an independent research position within two years (and no later than two and a half years) following the start of phase I funding (i.e., no later than June 2014). During the phase I period, Krim Fellows will be required to participate in an NIH grant-writing workshop or similar training activity approved in advance by amfAR.

Contingent upon application, peer review and approval, an additional year of funding may be awarded (phase II) to support basic biomedical HIV/AIDS research costs during the first year of an independent research position at any US or international nonprofit research institution. Phase II funding must start no later than six months following the end of the phase I period.



Submission Requirements and Deadlines

Letter of intent (LOI) forms and instructions may be obtained by sending an email to 

Please include the following in the body of the e-mail:

  • fellowship applicant’s name and degree(s)
  • mentor’s name and degree(s)
  • institution
  • proposed project title

The LOI must then be prepared on amfAR-provided forms in conformance to the instructions and must include:

Face Sheet: completed and signed by the fellow and fellowship mentor.

Abstract: no more than 200 words describing the proposed research plan.

Relevance Description: 200 words or less addressing the significance of the proposal to priorities in HIV/AIDS research.

Career Goals Statement: one page addressing the anticipated impact of the fellowship on research plans and career goals and path.

Biographical Sketches of the fellow and mentor.

Research Plan (submitted as a separate document): three single-spaced pages (one-inch margins, Times New Roman 12 point font) including background and rationale, preliminary studies, specific aims, experimental design, procedures, and data analysis to be used.

Please see the LOI INSTRUCTIONS for detailed directions.

Important Notice
Electronic (e-mailed) LOIs that are received late, are incomplete, or exceed page limitations (please see instructions for details) will not be accepted for review. Fax submissions are not accepted. Deadline extensions are not available.

Submission of an LOI is not a guarantee of eligibility to submit a full application. The pre-application process is highly competitive. Only a limited number of investigators submitting an LOI will be invited to submit a full application.



Other Important Dates

Applications solicited
August 16, 2011 (tentative)

Applications due
September 14, 2011 (tentative)

Funding decisions announced
December 2011 (tentative)

Future requests for proposals:
Click here to sign up for e-mailed Grant Opportunity announcements. 



Policies and Conditions

To Whom Grants Are Made
Grants and fellowships are awarded to nonprofit institutions worldwide; they are not awarded to individual investigators. Accordingly, an application, if solicited, must bear the signature of an official authorized to sign for the institution and, if requested, the applicant institution must submit documentation of its nonprofit status. Applications are neither requested nor accepted from for-profit entities. amfAR policy does not require institution endorsement for Letters of Intent.

By accepting an amfAR grant or fellowship, the recipient institution will accept full responsibility for the conduct of the investigation and for the acts of the investigator(s). Both are under the direction of the institution and are subject to its medical and scientific policies. Similarly, project personnel compensated in full or in part with funds awarded by the Foundation are employees of the recipient institution; they are not amfAR employees.

Applicant investigators and fellows need not be US citizens, and there are no restrictions as to age, color, creed, gender, medical condition, handicap, national origin, parental status, political affiliation, race, religion, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Members of the Foundation’s board of trustees are not eligible as investigators in Foundation-supported research. They may, however, sponsor fellowship applicants. Members of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) are eligible. Members of the board of trustees and SAC must comply with the Foundation’s policies regarding the avoidance of conflicts of interest.

Allowed Use of Funds
A phase I Mathilde Krim Fellowship is applied to direct costs of the fellow’s supplies and salary. Salary supported by the fellowship must represent at least 85% effort and be consistent with institution policy for other personnel of similar position and rank; requests for salary support in excess of the current stipend levels set by the U.S. National Institutes of Health for the Kirchstein National Research Service Awards will be carefully evaluated and are subject to peer review and administrative approval. Up to $3,636 is included in fellowship budgets to support the cost of participation in activities designated by amfAR. Support for indirect institutional costs is limited to a maximum of 10% of total direct costs.

Phase II Krim Fellowship grants provide support for project-specific research costs and the phase-II investigator’s salary and/or benefits.

Funds are not awarded for the following:

  • Major construction or the remodeling of facilities (minor alterations are allowed with adequate justification);
  • The direct cost of support services normally available at a sponsoring institution (e.g., telephone, office furniture, and supplies) except when directly allocable and essential to carrying out the proposed research;
  • The purchase, lease, rental, or servicing of office equipment;
  • Funding for dissertation research;
  • Indirect costs in excess of 10% for phase I Krim fellowships or 15% for phase II Krim Fellowship grants.

Foundation grants and fellowships are not meant to cover the total cost of a proposed research project.  A grantee institution is expected to provide the necessary physical facilities and administrative services, as well as other supporting services normally available at a sponsoring institution.  Expenses generally considered to be indirect costs may be budgeted as direct costs only when required for the operation of remote sites deemed necessary and leased or rented exclusively for conduct of the funded research.  Such requests will be carefully assessed for appropriateness and are subject to peer review and administrative approval.  Because indirect costs are a function of direct costs, the budget for indirect costs may not be modified, and the Foundation in no case will reimburse any indirect costs beyond the stated 10% for fellowships or 15% for phase II Krim Fellowship grants.

When an application for project support is submitted to amfAR and also to other grant-making agencies, accepted support from the Foundation and from another agency cannot be in duplication.

Recipient institutions agree not to promote or engage in violence, terrorism, or the destruction of any state, and to take prudent measures to insure that they do not provide support through sub-grants or other financing to any entity that engages in those activities.

All amfAR grants are paid in arrears and awarded contingent upon the availability of funds and without assurance of continued or subsequent funding.

Restrictions on the Use of Funds Awarded to Foreign Organizations
Unless written authority is obtained in advance from amfAR, funds from grants awarded to organizations outside of the United States may not be used to support (a) services performed in the US, or (b) travel to or from the US. Authorization to use funds for such purposes may be obtained by providing either of the following sets of documentation: (1) a copy of US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form W-8EXP bearing a valid International Taxpayer Identification Number or Employer Identification Number and either (a) an IRS determination letter or (b) written opinion of US counsel that the organization is described in IRS Code section 501(c)(3); (2) alternatively, an applicant organization in a country that benefits from an exemption under a tax treaty with the US should provide (a) a completed copy of IRS form W-8BEN and (b) an affidavit stating the treaty provision under which benefits are claimed and asserting facts pertinent to the treaty provision (e.g., facts to establish that the organization would qualify under IRS code section 501(c)(3)).

Although these documents are not required for LOIs, applicants should anticipate and prepare for their submission as part of the application or award process.

Source of Funds
Funds available to the Foundation are obtained principally from private donations.

Review and Approval Process
amfAR intends to encourage and support HIV/AIDS research of the highest quality. Therefore, every properly prepared and submitted LOI or application received in response to an amfAR solicitation is peer-reviewed by members of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Each is subject to an overall conformance review by the Foundation staff, in consultation as necessary with the members of the program advisory council. Those found to be inconsistent with the guidelines and instructions are eliminated at that time, and the investigator and the applicant institution’s grants official are notified. The SAC, a volunteer body of scientists who are experts in various fields of HIV/AIDS research, evaluates the scientific merit of the proposal; the relevance of the research to the control of the epidemic or to the benefit of patients with AIDS or HIV/AIDS-related conditions; the qualifications, experience, and productivity of the investigator/sponsor; the facilities available; and the likelihood of success. The SAC’s determinations are considered by the amfAR board of trustees, which holds the sole authority to approve project funding. Mathilde Krim Fellowship phase II funding proposals are subject to separate peer review and approval.

Applications are solicited from investigators and fellows whose letters of intent have been recommended by the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee. Unsolicited applications are not accepted for consideration.

Submission of an LOI does not guarantee invitation to submit a complete application.  The LOI process is very competitive and only a limited number of proposals are approved for additional review.

Written critiques are not available for LOIs.

Throughout the review and award process, the Foundation respects the privacy of the applicant and endeavors to protect from disclosure any confidential or proprietary information contained in a submitted proposal. However, amfAR has in place no mechanisms to maintain or guarantee confidentiality and, as a not-for-profit corporation, lacks the financial resources to (1) institute such mechanisms or (2) accept liability for the disclosure of information. At the same time the Foundation does not consider information on an application’s project description form (lay-language summary) to be confidential. That information may be made public as a description of the project being funded by amfAR. Submission of an application or LOI is deemed acceptance of these provisions.

Human and Animal Subjects / Biohazards
Applicants are required to submit documentation of institutional approvals for research involving human or animal subjects, or the use or production of biohazards. Research activity may not begin, nor may expenditures be made, until such approvals are received and forwarded to amfAR. Although these approvals are not required at the LOI stage, investigators should prepare to submit them with full applications. For research involving human subjects, no grant payments will be issued until participant enrolment has commenced.