NIH-based training grants are becoming increasingly competitive, and thus it is critical that students appointed to them make a long-term commitment to carrying out research in the relevant subject area. All training grants have requirements which must be fulfilled to justify the financial support of the student (tuition, fees, and stipend).
For the HIV/AIDS training grant, these include the following:
Cognate: Trainees must complete their cognate in an area related to HIV, AIDS, or infectious disease. Two highly recommended courses are EPI255 & EPI 256 (Epidemiology of HIV). The specific courses and theme should be developed by the student along with their advisor and the training grant director; all cognates must be approved as part of the final program by the Director of Graduate Studies. Some examples of cognates completed by past funded students include Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Global HIV Research, and Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Coursework: There are no specific courses required for this training grant other than the cognate as described above, but trainees should complete coursework that supports their biostatistical research in HIV or infectious disease-related applications, which may include courses in clinical trials, HIV epidemiology, infectious disease transmission, or microbiology/virology.
Summer Project: After their first year in the PhD program, trainees must complete a summer project that has clear ties to HIV or infectious disease. Projects may be methodological in nature, but then at least one application to an appropriate HIV or infectious disease dataset should be included. All summer project proposals should be discussed with and must be approved by the Training Grant Director. The Training Grant Director may be able to help students identify appropriate summer projects.
Seminars/Working Groups: Trainees must attend the HIV Working Group meeting, which typically convenes twice per month during the academic year. In addition, students are strongly recommended to attend any departmental colloquiums relevant for the area of HIV research.
Dissertation: Trainees should have dissertation topics which are either directly related to biostatistical methodology in HIV research, or which include applications to HIV/AIDS datasets. Proposals for incorporating HIV-related applications in student dissertation work should be included as part of the oral qualifying exam. Even if students are no longer funded on this grant during the period of their dissertation research, it is expected that support over the first 2-3 years in the PhD program will be acknowledged by focusing on an HIV-related application in biostatistics.
Progress Report: Trainees will be asked to provide an annual progress report including details on how their training relates to HIV and/or infectious disease, to be included in annual NIH progress reports for the training grant.