NIH – AIDS-Science Track Award for Research Transition (R03 Clinical Trial Optional)

September 21, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) seeks to facilitate the entry of investigators to the area of drug use and/or use disorder research and HIV/AIDS, including newly independent investigators (independent of a mentor but without R01 funding) and early career investigators seeking to add research on the intersection of drug use and/or use disorder and HIV/AIDS to their research programs (applicants may have an existing R01 grant but not one combining the two areas).  HIV/AIDS research is a major focus at NIDA, but it is often difficult for new investigators to obtain independent funding to generate preliminary data.  It can also be difficult for early career investigators doing drug misuse and use disorder and HIV/AIDS research to identify a source of funding allowing them to expand their work to study the intersection of these areas of research.

This AIDS–Science Track Award for Research Transition (A-START) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (R03) will support:

  • Pilot or feasibility studies
  • Analysis of existing data
  • Small, self-contained research projects
  • Development of research methodology
  • Development of new research technology

It is expected that investigators who are funded under A-START will use their data to develop R01, or other appropriate grant applications on the intersection of drug misuse and/or use disorders and HIV/AIDS.

Research Objectives

This FOA seeks to promote the entry of new investigators into research on drug use and /or use disorders and HIV who will conduct studies on: the prevention of HIV acquisition and transmission; HIV treatment including toward a cure research; co-morbidities, co-infections, and complications of HIV; observational or descriptive studies, including behavioral and social science research, to advance prevention, treatment, and implementation of evidence-based interventions, especially to address an integrated Continuum of Care.

NIDA research on HIV/AIDS is broad-based and includes both domestic and international studies and ranges from basic research, including studies using animal models, in vitro, and ex vivo systems, to clinical research, health services research, and implementation science. A-START applications are welcome across the breadth of NIDA research.

Drug-using populations tend to be marginalized, stigmatized and difficult-to-reach, thus achieving HIV elimination by 2030 will not be possible without understanding the issues facing these populations and developing and implementing effective interventions to meet their needs.  The drug-using populations that NIDA studies include both injection and non-injection drug users, youth, racial/ethnic/sexual & gender minorities, and criminal justice populations.

Applications need to be responsive to NIH’s highest priority areas of HIV/AIDS research:

Information about NIDA’s HIV/AIDS priority research areas is available at: Applications to A-START should address high priority HIV/AIDS research at the intersection of drug misuse and/or use disorders and HIV research.

Investigators are encouraged, when appropriate, to utilize the Clinical Trials Network (CTN) ( infrastructure as a platform for their studies.

Secondary analysis applications are encouraged to make use of the archive of existing data sets at the National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program and to make use of data available from NIDA-supported NIH activities such as IeDEA, MACS and WIHS, as well as other federally funded datasets that may be relevant to HIV and drug misuse and/or use disorders.

Special Considerations

National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse Recommended Guidelines for the Administration of Drugs to Human Subjects:  The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) recognizes the importance of research involving the administration of drugs with abuse potential, and dependence or addiction liability, to human subjects.   Potential applicants are encouraged to obtain and review these recommendations of Council before submitting an application that will administer compounds to human subjects.  The guidelines are available on NIDA’s Web site at

Points to Consider Regarding Tobacco Industry Funding of NIDA Applicants: The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (NACDA) encourages NIDA and its grantees to consider the points it has set forth regarding existing or prospective sponsored research agreements with tobacco companies or their related entities and the impact of acceptance of tobacco industry funding on NIDA’s credibility and reputation within the scientific community.  Please see for details.

Data Harmonization for Substance Abuse and Addiction via the PhenX Toolkit:  NIDA strongly encourages investigators involved in human-subjects studies to employ a common set of tools and resources that will promote the collection of comparable data across studies and to do so by incorporating the measures from the Core and Specialty collections, which are available in the Substance Abuse and Addiction Collection of the PhenX Toolkit (  Please see NOT-DA-12-008 ( for further details.

NIDA strongly encourages investigators to share data with other investigators.  In addition to a strong data sharing plan, one resource to facilitate data sharing is National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program were data are currently available from NIDA-supported NIH activities such as IeDEA, MACS and WIHS, as well as other federally funded datasets that may be relevant to HIV and drug use and/or use disorders.  Investigators are encouraged to contact the NAHDAP and use this data sharing platform as part of their data sharing plan.

Deadlines:  standard dates and standard AIDS dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities