Frequently Asked Questions

What is the consortium aiming to do?

We aim to help strengthen the support that mathematical modelling can give to decision-making in HIV programme implementation and research. We do this by co-ordinating work that is designed to be responsive to questions currently asked by key implementers, funders and normative agencies.

Who funds the consortium?

The consortium is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a grant to Imperial College London.

Who is “in” the consortium?

Anyone using mathematical models to answer questions that are of interest to the consortium and that brings a new perspective may be asked to participate in a workshop or meeting, can apply for funding from the consortium or work with the consortium without new funding. Our website will list projects that the consortium is currently engaged with and interested parties are asked to email the secretariat if they would like to be involved.

How can I join?

To receive email updates about the consortium, including announcements about work packages the consortium is undertaking,requests for funding applications issued, and reports on completed meetings and work packages, please email Britta Jewell (b [dot] jewell [at] imperial [dot] ac [dot] uk) . Please also let us know what you are working on and what your interests are by completing our short online survey.

Does the consortium fund research?

The consortium can issue ‘Requests for Funding Applications’ (RFAs). The content of these RFAs is usually designed by the consortium to be tightly focussed on particular issues and the amount of funding available is usually small – between $10,000 and $80,000. These can be awarded as grants or consultancy arrangement with individuals or institutions.

Do you have to be funded by the consortium to be ‘in’ the consortium?

Any group that is working on the topic of interest, and that can bring a valuable perspective, is welcome to collaborate on the work packages co-ordinated by the consortium. Our website will list projects that the consortium is currently engaged with, and interested parties are asked to email the secretariat.

Why is the funding available small and why are the deadlines for submission of funding applicants short?

We aim to rapidly direct small focussed collaborative projects in response to current issues. This means that we want to frequently issues RFAs, initiate new research and rapidly bring results back to the consortium. To facilitate this process, the consortium provides a very rapid process of review, contract set-up and execution. For substantial projects we intend to allow 6-10 weeks between announcing funding opportunities and the deadline for proposal submission (longer for larger and more complex projects). We can also issue RFA for very small amounts with very short deadlines (2-3 weeks), which may be most readily set-up as consultancy projects arranged through direct contracts with individual researchers. We recognise that this much shorter than the time allowed by large funders, such as NIH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and this is because the consortium is aiming to work in the niche that these funders cannot always fill.

What is the ‘Secretariat’?

The Secretariat is formed of 5 researchers and 2 support staff based at Imperial College London. The Secretariat are responsible for liaising with the Steering Committee, implementing work packages recommended by the Steering Committee, co-ordinating and undertaking work that contributes to the aims of the overall project. The Secretariat does not make decisions about topics to work on, what RFAs to issue, or who gets funded.

How are applications reviewed?

All applications are reviewed by at least 3 external expert reviewers, 1 member of the secretariat and the chair of the steering committee. This means that the opinions of external peer reviewers are weighted more than the reviews from inside the consortium. Reviewers are asked to score the proposals against pre-defined criteria (that are listed on the RFA announcement). Based on the aggregated scores of the reviews, proposals are rank-ordered and recommendations for funding are proposed to the steering committee. Edited reports of reviewers comments are made available to applicants.