July 18, 2023
Emerging digital health technologies in HIV research is a growing and dynamic field that has the potential to bring HIV prevention and treatment efforts to scale. Innovations in technology can assist in reaching high-incidence populations, such as racial or ethnic minority communities, sexual and gender minority groups, adolescents and young adults, and individuals from rural settings who face challenges in accessing conventional prevention and treatment services. The aim of this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) is to support the development of new technologies for the prevention or treatment of HIV, or the application of existing technologies to behavioral and social science HIV prevention or treatment research.
Applicants are encouraged to focus their technological innovations on populations that are most at risk for HIV, those living with HIV who are not currently accessing HIV care or fully benefiting from antiretroviral treatment, or other populations that experience HIV health disparities (e.g., racial or ethnic minority communities, sexual and gender minority groups, adolescents and young adults, older adults, pregnant and post-partum women, and people with mental health disorders). To reach these populations, applicants may consider utilizing a variety of venues and settings (e.g., mental health clinics, pharmacies, communities, schools, emergency rooms, criminal justice settings, and social media). Additionally, applicants may consider harnessing technological innovations to enhance objective assessment of Central Nervous System (CNS) complications for people living with HIV using the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework; expansion of HIV diagnostic/testing technology for vulnerable populations; development of tools or platforms to screen for mental health disorders in people living with HIV (PLWH) and address mental health associated with HIV, and other areas identified below.
Emerging digital health technologies can provide opportunities to support HIV research and care, such as: (1) collecting data in an adaptive way and allowing for more frequent, accurate, and inclusive assessments outside the clinical research environment; (2) fostering the delivery of interactive and personalized/tailored content; (3) scaling interventions to cover broad geographic areas; and (4) providing tools to empower populations to engage in healthy preventive behaviors. For broader impact and to fully achieve their potential, these technologies must be optimized through feedback from intended end-users and through the development of scalable platforms and processes to enable broad dissemination and incorporation into clinical practice. Furthermore, leveraging existing software platforms and applications for the treatment and/or prevention of HIV is cost-effective and contributes to resource sharing efforts.
Specific Areas of Interest
Areas of interest for use of digital health technology in HIV prevention and care include:
Other research topics encouraged by this NOSI include but are not limited to the development and testing of:
Applicants are encouraged to address the below considerations, as they relate to implementation of technological innovations through behavioral and social science research approaches. It may be helpful to consult Division of AIDS Research (DAR) priorities as reflected in current NIMH DAR Notices of Special Interest (see AIDS-related FOAs).
Based upon the priorities and considerations highlighted above, this NOSI encourages SBIR phase I applications for (a) proof-of-concept testing and development of technologies and novel approaches to move technologies from non-commercial laboratories into the commercial marketplace, and (b) adaptation and application of existing technological innovations for products that are relevant to behavioral and social science research for HIV prevention and treatment.
For guidance on high priority scientific areas in this domain, applicants are encouraged to review the NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research, and NIH Research Priorities by NIH Office of AIDS Research. Small businesses that are primarily interested in research and development (and not commercialization) should consider other grant mechanisms at NIH, rather than the SBIR program. Applicants are encouraged to contact NIMH Division of AIDS research Program officers for consultations prior to submission for NOSI-related questions.
Total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fee) normally may not exceed $295,924 for Phase I awards and $1,972,828 for Phase II awards. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved waivers to allow businesses to exceed the overall budget caps on their award for particular topic areas the current list of approved topics can be found at https://seed.nih.gov/sites/default/files/HHS_Topics_for_Budget_Waivers.pdf. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIH program officials prior to submitting any application.
For applications responding to topics in this Notice of Special Interest, budgets up to $450,000 total funding support for Phase I awards, and $750,000 total funding support per year, up to three years for Phase II awards, and $1,000,000 total funding support per year, up to three years for Phase IIB awards may be requested.
Application and Submission Information
This notice applies to due dates on or after September 5, 2023 and subsequent receipt dates through January 6, 2027.
Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissues of these announcements through the expiration date of this notice.
All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:
Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.
Vasudev R. Rao, MBBS, MS.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Christopher Barnhart, PhD
Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office (SGMRO)
Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)