Small Pilot Awards



The Duke Center for HIV Structural Biology (DCHSB) invites proposals for a new HIV research funding opportunity, the Small Pilot Awards. These pilot awards are intended to broadly support HIV-related structural studies aligned with the goals of the Center and provide funding to generate preliminary data used to apply for larger awards.


Call for Applications coming in October 2024

Award Information

  • Proposals must include a detailed budget up to $25,000 (in total costs) based on scope of work proposed. Depending on the number of meritorious applicants and their budgets, the Review Committee will determine how many total proposals will be funded. Funds are primarily for research-related expenses but may support salary as well.
  • The project plan should be accomplished within one year from date of award. Proposals should include a clear timeline and plan for completion.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Early-career HIV investigators who have an MD, PhD, or equivalent degree. Postdoctoral fellows are eligible to apply.
  • Researchers from under-represented racial and ethnic groups are encouraged to apply.
  • Early-career investigators are encouraged to select research mentors who are NIH-funded investigators with proven expertise in the area of research interest and in the career development of independent investigators.

Project Details

  • The main goal of the Small Pilot Awards is to support funding for research that will generate preliminary data to be used to apply for larger grants. We primarily evaluate applications for strength in overall strategy, significance, methodology, and analysis. Projects focused on basic discovery research, clinical development or translational potential will be considered. Applicants should outline a plan for how the preliminary data obtained through the small pilot award will be used to seek larger grants.
  • Prior to start of any research, certification training for use of human subjects and/or animal certifications will be required.

Application Process

Applications should contain all of the items listed below:

  • Cover Sheet
  • Personal Statement
  • Project Abstract
  • Key Personnel
  • Biographical sketches for candidate and mentor
  • Budget (not to exceed $25,000 in total costs)
  • Budget Justification
  • Facilities/Resources
  • Specific Aims
  • Research Strategy
  • References

Research Plan is limited to 3 pages (excluding references).

Application Form

Application form will be downloadable (an editable .doc file). Once completed, save as one PDF file to be uploaded to the submission link

Submission Form

Coming in October


 Review Process

  • Peer review by a panel convened by the Center’s investigators.
  • The selected peer review committee members will evaluate key criteria for each applicant: a) quality of the research project; b) anticipated quality of career guidance and mentoring by the sponsoring department and research mentor; c) applicant’s understanding and appreciation of the relationship of the proposed research to a high-priority question in HIV biology; d) applicant’s long-term scientific goals.
  • Intent is to complete reviews and start funding by December 1, 2023.


The DCHSB and the review panel will endeavor to maintain the confidentiality of all applicant intellectual property.

Project Contact

For questions regarding these proposal guidelines, eligibility requirements, review criteria, or for other information related to this award, please contact:

Aaron Cook, PhD
Scientific Program Leader

Maria Blasi, PhD
Lead Developmental Core

Jason McLellan, PhD
Co-Lead Developmental Core

Ivelin Georgiev, PhD
Co-Lead Developmental Core