Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund

How can we maximize the effectiveness of interventions, policies, and strategies to deliver the best HIV care?

To answer this question, the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) is launching a first-of-its-kind Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund to support clinical and community researchers in gaining new insights to improve the practical delivery of HIV care. The emerging field of implementation science explores questions around improving public health, by promoting the adoption of effective interventions, policies, and strategies in a variety of real-world settings.

The rational allocation of limited resources is a critical question for public health professionals who are working to optimize primary prevention across the global Fast-Track Cities network and support the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets for HIV testing and treatment. The first round of study grants will be supported by a combined $750,000 investment by ViiV Healthcare and Gilead Sciences, which will be managed by IAPAC in coordination with an international Expert Advisory Committee. IAPAC is requesting Letters of Intent (LOI) be submitted by July 20, 2020, via email to


The rational allocation of scarce human and financial resources to support the attainment of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and optimizing primary prevention in Fast-Track Cities requires a new set of scientific questions, the answers to which should guide clinical, public health, and financial decision-making in cities and municipalities in the Fast-Track Cities network. Chief among these questions is how to identify optimally effective interventions, policies, and strategies in diverse real-world settings to facilitate optimized HIV care and prevention continua. The scientific field in which these types of questions are best asked and answered is implementation science, which aims to investigate barriers to the effective implementation of evidence-based interventions for public health impact and to test new approaches to implementing these interventions.

IAPAC defines “implementation science” based on a systematic review commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO):

“Implementation science is a multidisciplinary specialty that seeks generalizable knowledge about the behavior of stakeholders, organizations, communities, and individuals to understand the scale of, reasons for, and strategies to close the gap between evidence and routine practice for health in real-world contexts.”

Through grant support from ViiV Healthcare and Gilead Sciences, IAPAC has created and will manage a Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund that will award up to 10 research grants in 2020 to clinician and community researchers in Fast-Track Cities. Successful applicants will carry out implementation science studies of a one year duration in their respective cities with mentorship from global experts in implementation science.

Study outcomes will be disseminated to Fast-Track Cities in which the studies are conducted, in-country stakeholders, the full Fast-Track Cities network, and through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.


This LOI request serves to invite interested clinician and community researchers to evaluate urban HIV interventions, policies, and programs using an implementation science framework to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of HIV care and/or prevention continua, without which Fast-Track Cities cannot attain and exceed the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets on a trajectory towards getting to zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS-related deaths. Proposed studies should identify and address implementation gaps in existing, evidence based interventions/policies/programs across the HIV care and/or prevention continua. Implementation gaps for consideration include:

  • Finding and testing people who are living with HIV and unaware of their status
  • Linkage to HIV prevention, care, and support services
  • Prompt initiation of and adherence to antiretroviral therapy
  • Retention and long-term engagement in HIV care, including maintaining viral suppression
  • Switching to second- and third-line antiretroviral regimens
  • Improving health-related quality of life and quality of care
  • Sustaining HIV services during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Disparities in access to/utilization of HIV prevention and care services
  • Optimized care for unique populations (children, adolescents, and aging people living with HIV)
  • Intersecting stigmas, interventions, and the relationship with health care utilization
  • Accelerated uptake of policies/diagnostics/medicines
  • Optimizing multi-sectoral implementation strategies for HIV prevention
  • Strategies to overcome gaps to rapid start and adherence to antiretroviral therapy
  • Demand creation among key and hard to reach populations
  • Integrated approaches to address co-morbidities including communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • Accelerated update of policies/diagnostics/medicines or small scale testing of innovative health solutions

Research projects may incorporate a systematic review or gap/asset analysis to inform implementation priorities, however projects that are purely systematic reviews or gap/asset analysis will not be funded.

Implementation of proposed studies should be approximately one year in duration. Additional time may be allowed for proposal development and/or ethics committee or institutional review board (IRB) approval, as needed, and contingent upon approval from the Expert Advisory Committee.

Research grant funds of up to $50,000 will be awarded, with a capped indirect rate of 10% to maximize the amount of research grant funding devoted to the implementation studies’ objectives. Study budgets should reflect the actual requirements to conduct the proposed studies. Up to 10 proposals will be awarded. At least 90% of awarded funds must be spent in the country where the research is taking place.


Primary grant applicants must be clinician or community researchers based in a current Fast-Track City (for a complete list of Fast-Track Cities, please visit: However, primary applicants may additionally partner with non-profit or for-profit organizations, community- and faith-based organizations, government and non-governmental organizations, and other institutions that can successfully execute the scope of work under the terms of the agreed research grant proposal. No more than three sub-recipients may be listed on the application. Applicants with multiple affiliations must have at least one affiliation with a community based organization and/or clinical facility. Applicants who have both clinical and community affiliations must specify which applicant category they are submitting under.


The LOI should be on official letterhead, 3-5 pages in length, written in English, single-spaced, with a minimum font size of 11, Times New Roman font. The LOI must include the following sections:

  • Introduction and Background
  • Objective and Relevance
  • Implementation Framework and Methodology
  • Data Evaluation and Analysis Plan
  • Intended Outcomes
  • Proposed Timelines

Please additionally submit the LOI Attachment which include the following:

  • Applicant Information
  • Conflict of Interest Form
  • Illustrative Budget
  • Key Personnel Statement

An LOI development webinar will take place on June 15, 2020, to address questions and provide additional clarification prior to LOI submission. To sign-up, email


  • Supplemental Information [download]
  • Letter of Intent – Scoring Rubric [download]
  • Additional Resources and Guidance [download]