CEIRR Pilot Research Program

The CEIRR Network Pilot Research Program aims to connect investigators not currently part of CEIRR with one of the existing CEIRR Centers. External investigators are invited to submit proposed research Concepts using the form below. Research Concepts should advance the mission of NIAID and broadly be focused on topics relevant to NIAID’s Universal Influenza Strategic Plan for pandemic preparedness.

Concept Proposals will be evaluated and ranked by the CEIRR Center Scientific Leadership Groups, and highly-ranked Concepts may be selected for funding from NIAID as option awards to a CEIRR Center. CEIRR may request additional Proposals if funding is available. Note that selection of a Concept for submission to NIAID is NOT a guarantee of funding. Any Concept funded through this Program will be awarded as contract options to a prime CEIRR Center with a subsequent subcontract to the submitting institution. Note that contract funding differs from a traditional grant or cooperative agreement in that NIAID conducts technical oversight of the overall research on the contract, and research outcomes are provided back to NIAID as deliverables on the contract. Subcontractors maintain research independence for the projects but are subject to oversight and management from the prime CEIRR Centers. For additional details, please see each Center’s scope listed on the “Centers” tab of this website.

New in 2024

For the 2024 application cycle, priority will be given Early Stage Investigators, as defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additionally, submissions are now limited to a single Concept per lead investigator. If multiple submissions are received from the same lead PI, only the first submission will be considered.

Criteria for Evaluation

Concept Proposals will be selected based on the following criteria: 1) alignment with the research goals of the CEIRR Center (see below); 2) addressing an unmet need of a CEIRR Center; and 3) innovation of the research proposed.

Research Objectives

Priorities for NIAID in influenza research are aimed at discovering new information and tools needed to decrease the mortality and morbidity associated with influenza, including more broadly protective and universal influenza vaccines, as well as to quickly respond and mitigate the emergence and impact of pandemic influenza. Research at the CEIRR Centers focuses on the study of influenza at the interspecies interface and strongly emphasizes the study of influenza in humans. Overall, CEIRR research projects include cohort studies and human and animal sampling to further understand influenza infection, transmission and vaccination; identify immunological factors that determine disease outcome in the response to influenza infection and vaccination; and studies to determine how influenza viruses evolve, adapt, and transmit between humans and at interspecies interfaces.

Broadly, research at the CEIRR Centers addresses the following areas:

  • Studies to dissect what differentiates influenza A and B viruses and host responses to infection; investigating what drives distinct evolutionary paths and what factors influence influenza epidemiology.
  • Research to study the evolution, pathogenesis, and transmission of influenza viruses in humans, as well as at distinct zoonotic interfaces.
  • Research to advance understanding of respiratory viral infection, transmission, evolution, and emergence, and to fill key gaps in the understanding of the human immune response to respiratory viral infection, and vaccination.
  • Studies to understand factors that determine susceptibility to, emergence of, and transmission of influenza and other infectious diseases.
  • Investigating how prior influenza virus exposures shape immune responses to new viral strains and development of models to forecast influenza virus evolution and epidemiology based on experimentally measured variations immune specificities across different populations.
  • Research that integrates global influenza virus research targeting human and animal populations.

Detailed information about individual CEIRR Center pages are available in the CEIRR Center Collaboration sections below.

Program Guidelines & FAQs


  • Experimental and computational approaches for prediction of potential pathogen emergence and risk, as well as assessment of novel, potentially pandemic viruses



  • Host and virus factors responsible for severity of disease, virus tropism, immunity and transmission
  • Rapid acquisition of virus variants circulating in humans and domestic animals from different geographical areas



  • Human-Animal Interface/Risk Assessment
  • Human studies focused on virology, immunology or pathogenesis of influenza virus infection
  • Viral evolution leading to antigenic change or host range expansion
  • Viral pathogenesis, including virus-host interactions



  • Studies that characterize seasonal and pandemic influenza A and B viruses, including research of viral pathogenesis and the impact of viral evolution on replication and antigenic structure
  • Investigation of acute human influenza infections, including studies to (a) develop and evaluate new assays (e.g. single/multiplex platforms and next generation sequencing); (b) explore biologic markers associated with disease severity; and (c) examine the relationships between age and sex in influenza infections
  • Research exploring influenza transmission within households, healthcare workers, and at the human-animal interface
  • Studies focused on structural immunology or the role of immune cell subsets in age and sex dependent immune responses to infection or vaccination



  • Studies that improve our understanding of how childhood viral exposures and vaccines impact lifelong immunity
  • Studies that identify vaccines platforms and therapeutics that could be used during an influenza pandemic
  • Development of novel assays to characterize immune responses using low sample volumes



  • Studies exploring the factors controlling transmission of influenza viruses, particularly in animal models
  • Studies exploring the natural history of influenza viruses in animal populations in under surveilled regions of the world
  • Fundamental biology studies exploring novel mechanisms of pathogenesis, including factors controlling reassortment, or improved methods to assess zoonotic risk of influenza viruses

The CEIRR Network has six Centers with active projects on six continents around the world. Visit the Center page links below to review Center priorities and determine whether your concept could align with the Center needs and mission. You may also contact individual CEIRR research project investigators directly to discuss potential collaborations.

Submissions are due March 14th. After submission, concepts will be evaluated by CEIRR investigators and subsequently prioritized for NIAID funding consideration. See below for budget limitations.

Note that funding is highly dependent on availability of funds at NIAID, and concept selection by a CEIRR center is NOT a guarantee of potential funding.

The deadline for submission is Thursday, March 14th, 2024 at 11:59pm EST. 

Investigators not currently part of the CEIRR Network may submit concepts via this portal. Investigators already part of CEIRR should work internally with their CEIRR Center PI and Coordinator for potential concept development.  

Concepts are open to both U.S and non-U.S. based Investigators. Concepts can include collaborations with industry partners. Priority will be given Early Stage Investigators, as defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

All Concept Proposals must track to a research priority listed above and fit under the currently funded CEIRR contracts. Note that concepts proposing clinical trials will NOT be supported through this mechanism.

Concepts should be developed using the CEIRR Pilot Program Research Concept form and should be limited to a total 7 pages. Submitters may choose to submit a separate NIH Biosketch document in place of the biosketch section of the submission form. For more details, please refer to the instructions in the submission form. Submissions are limited to a single Concept per lead investigator. If multiple submissions are received from the same lead PI, only the first submission will be considered.

Please whitelist emails from "*@ceirr-network.org" in your email settings to ensure delivery of application receipts and decision emails.

Concepts must be submitted with budgets listed as TOTAL COSTS. Concept budgets cannot exceed $600,000 in total costs over two years. Final indirect rates will be negotiated before an award is made.

Concepts that exceed the budget cap may be considered on a limited, case-by-case basis.  To submit a concept that exceeds the budget cap you must first contact one of the Centers listed below directly to discuss budget potential and programmatic fit based on the priorities listed in the Current Research Priorities sectionConcepts that exceed the budget cap that are submitted without prior consultation/approval will be rejected without consideration. 

CRIPT: Ryan Camping (ryan.camping@mssm.edu

JH-CEIRR: Dr. Katherine Fenstermacher (kfenste1@jhu.edu)

CIDER: Jacquelyn Hughes (cider-admin@uga.edu)

Penn-CEIRR: Dr. Elizabeth Troisi (Elizabeth.Troisi@Pennmedicine.upenn.edu)

Emory CEIRR: Erin-Joi Collins (emcneal@emory.edu)

SJCEIRR: Dr. Pamela McKenzie (Pamela.McKenzie@STJUDE.ORG), Dr. Richard Webby (richard.webby@stjude.org), and Dr. Stacey Schultz-Cherry (stacey.schultz-cherry@stjude.org)

The following costs are unallowable unless otherwise provided: 

  • Conferences and Meetings
  • Food for Meals, Light Refreshments, and Beverages
  • Promotional Items [includes, but is not limited to: clothing and commemorative items such as pens,  mugs/cups, folders/folios, lanyards, and conference bags that are sometimes provided to visitors, employees, grantees, or conference attendees.]
  • Acquisition, by purchase or lease, of any interest in real property;
  • Special rearrangement or alteration of facilities;
  • Purchase or lease of any item of general purpose office furniture or office equipment regardless of dollar value. (General purpose equipment is defined as any items of personal property which are usable for purposes other than research, such as office equipment and furnishings, pocket calculators, etc.);
  • Travel to attend general scientific meetings;
  • Foreign travel;
  • Consultant costs;
  • Subcontracts;
  • Patient care costs;
  • Accountable Government Property (defined as non-expendable personal property with an acquisition cost of $1,000 or more) and "sensitive items" (defined as items of personal property (supplies and equipment that are highly desirable and easily converted to personal use), regardless of acquisition value.
  • Printing Costs (as defined in the Government Printing and Binding Regulations).

Concept Proposals received will be forwarded to the individual CEIRR Centers for consideration. Concepts will be evaluated by the CEIRR Center Scientific Leadership Groups for submission to NIAID for funding consideration. If selected for submission to NIAID, submitters will be contacted directly by a CEIRR Center Investigator. Review comments or other feedback on concept submissions will not be provided.

How to Submit Your Concept


Download the Research Concept Form


Fill out the Form

If you have questions, email us at support@ceirr-network.org


Submit Your Research Concept Form