CIPHER was pleased to launch a new round of grants, worth US$ 750,000, at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. Once again the programme saw a huge response, underlining the need for funding opportunities for early stage researchers in paediatric HIV. After a rigorous review process, five projects were selected. The selected projects span the CIPHER priority research topics: three of the projects address clinical research gaps and two address operational research gaps. An official CIPHER award ceremony was held on 20 July 2015 at the 8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2015) in Vancouver, Canada.
We are delighted to welcome the five researchers to the CIPHER Grant Programme and look forward to following their progress over the coming years:
- Suvaporn Anugulruengkitt from Thailand, with the Chulalongkorn University
Adverse events of 6-week zidovudine / lamivudine / nevirapine antiretroviral prophylaxis regimen for prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission among high risk neonates in Thailand.
- Heather Bailey from United Kingdom, with the University College London
HIV-positive youth in Ukraine: characteristics, outcomes and models of service provision.
- Jackson Kijumba B. Mukonzo from Uganda, with the Makerere University, College of Health Sciences
Optimization of pediatric antiretroviral therapy during co-treatment of HIV-associated cancers.
- Irene Nyambura Njuguna from Kenya, with the University of Washington Global Assistance Program
Financial incentives to increase pediatric HIV testing.
- Birkneh Tadesse from Ethiopia, with the Hawassa University
Improving treatment of HIV infected Ethiopian children through better detection of treatment failure.
Grantees award ceremony at IAS 2015
From left to right: Heather Bailey, Suvaporn Anugulruengkitt, Jackson Mukonzo, Irene Njuguna, Birkneh Tadesse and Linda-Gail Bekker. © IAS/Marcus Rose
Response and selection
By the 31 October 2014 deadline, 101 LOIs had been submitted for proposals for research to take place in 28 countries. Of these, 80 were eligible. The targeted research priorities were well distributed across the LOIs, with 34 applications addressing clinical priorities and 46 addressing operational priorities.
The initial screening and scoring of the LOIs were carried out by the CIPHER Research Grant Working Group and additional invited experts. Each LOI was evaluated based on the proposal’s potential contribution to addressing the identified research question, its overall quality, the novelty and innovation of the approach, as well as the applicant’s experience. Twenty-four applicants were invited to submit a full proposal. Each full proposal was reviewed by three independent experts in the subject area of the project. Final selection was primarily based on the reviewers’ scores and overall public health impact of the proposed research, with gender, topic and country distribution as secondary considerations.