Funding Opportunities

Duke Roybal Center Request for Proposals

Development, Testing, and Implementation of Social or Behavioral Interventions in Aging (clinical trial required)

Funding Opportunity Overview:

The Duke Roybal Center (NIA P30AG064201) solicits proposals from faculty across disciplines to develop, refine, test, implement and adapt innovative social and behavioral interventions to improve healthy longevity. The purpose of our Center and the studies we fund is to advance the science and implementation of that science to improve the health and well-being of people as they are aging. Intervention studies can be at the individual-, provider- or institutional-level and must be grounded in behavioral or social science principles.

Duke Roybal Center:

Our Center builds capacity for the development, refinement and implementation of interventions grounded in behavioral or social science principles and directed toward equitably promoting independent living of older adults and adults at risk for disability. The research we support could be in any stage of the NIH Stage Model for Behavioral Intervention Development (0, I, II, III, IV). Our Pilot Core funds research intended to generate data that can lead to high-impact externally funded studies. The Center provides pilot awardees with direct, frequent, and intensive guidance and training across all phases and stages of the social and behavioral intervention development process from theory to implementation. To guide translation from one stage to the next, the Duke Roybal Center activities and support address ten critical domains (listed below) of social and behavioral intervention development and implementation.

  1. Team science
  2. Stakeholder/community provider inclusion
  3. Relevant theory
  4. Treatment fidelity
  5. Methods for training interventionists
  6. Optimizing treatment effects and streamlining treatment
  7. Potential for implementation
  8. Commitment to translation (i.e. through the stages of the NIH Stage Model)
  9. Findings from each stage used to feedback and feedforward (i.e. research is iterative and bidirectional)
  10. Diversity in recruitment and engagement in research

Faculty interested in applying for Roybal or external funding are invited to discuss their proposed research and its alignment with these domains.

Funding Opportunity Description:

We are seeking proposals for theory-driven intervention research at any point in the intervention development and implementation process that aims to promote functional independence of older adults or adults at increased risk for disability. The intervention should focus on addressing behavior or social systems that influence behavior and can be directed at the individual-, caregiver-, provider-, organizational-, or community-level. The study can be in any “stage” of development or implementation (stages I-V) and must meet the NIH definition of a clinical trial. Funding and staff support are available for one year. Subsequent engagement with the Center is highly encouraged for continued guidance on research progression and translation.

Studies of Interest:

We are interested in studies that relate to our Center’s theme on aging and functional independence.  We define function broadly using the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF). The primary intervention outcome is expected to be in the domain of physical function (e.g., self-care/activities of daily living, mobility, physical function, balance, falls, physical activity). It can be measured by a person’s capacity (what the person can do), perceived capacity, or performance (what is actually done) in executing a specific task or being involved in a life situation.

We are especially interested in studies that reflect our Center’s Commitment to Equity and Diversity:

The Duke Roybal Center aims to advance behavioral intervention development and implementation to optimize mobility and promote independent living for older adults. Integral to behavioral and social science research are intentional efforts to acknowledge the intersectionality of age with all dimensions of diversity, including but not limited to: sex, race, ethnicity, gender identity, and expression, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, health, socioeconomic status, and social class. As a Center, there is an equal commitment to actively engage underrepresented Center and Pilot investigators, study teams, community stakeholders, and study participants to understand these nuances and address health disparities among older adults and the services that support them.

The population of focus may be older adults (e.g., people age 65 years and older) or people who are experiencing conditions that accelerate or contribute to age-related changes in health across the lifespan (e.g. chronic disease).

Studies may be:

  • feasibility studies of novel interventions leading toward a subsequent clinical efficacy study;
  • adaptations of effective interventions for a new population or clinical problem
  • pilot efficacy trials
  • tests of implementation strategies for delivering an evidence-based intervention or expanding reach to underserved populations
  • application of methodologies for spread of effective interventions or models of care.

Health system, community, and population-based interventions are relevant for this funding opportunity. The proposed study must meet the definition of a clinical trial and be theory-driven. Studies that evaluation psychosocial resilience but do not also address an aspect of physical health/independence may not fall within the scope of our Center. At this time, proposals will only be considered where the principal investigator is Duke faculty.

Examples of previously funded pilot projects include:

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to improve physical function in HCT
  • Leveraging personal meaning for increasing physical mobility in older adults with osteoarthritis pain
  • Extending legacy benefits of obesity reduction in older adults
  • Developing a tailored exercise toolkit for older adults with heart failure
  • Self-System Therapy for older adults with lung cancer

Duration and Funding:

Funding is available for one year, June 1 – May 31. The budget request for pilot studies is $20,000 – $70,000 in direct costs for the year. In addition to, and separate from, the direct costs of the research, an experienced behavioral interventionist will be available to support each funded project. Mentoring is provided to support translation and applications for future funding.

Awarded investigators are expected to utilize Roybal Center expertise and participate in Center training activities during the award year. Training activities include quarterly intensive workshops and state of the science lectures,  monthly Novel Intervention Development and Incubator (NIDI) Working Group meetings, and grant writing workshops and mentorship. Project awardees will also participate in quarterly reviews to demonstrate progression towards relevant milestones, next stage translation and address any areas of intervention development requiring additional support.

Application Details


  • Informational Webinar: Please review recorded session here.
  • October 1, 2021 – November 15, 2021: Required Study Consult Meeting
  • October 22, 2021: Required Letter of Intent (LOI) Due (format below)
  • December 10, 2021: Full Applications Due
  • January 14, 2022: Funding Decisions
  • March 15, 2022: Human Subjects Documents Due to NIH
  • June 1, 2022: Earliest Start Date

Letter of Intent (LOI): The LOI is required by 10/22/2021.

Please address the following (2 page maximum) and send as a PDF to

  1. Proposed title of the project
  2. Name and affiliation of the principal investigator
  3. Brief description of the intervention
  4. Population of interest
  5. Behavioral or social science theory, framework, or model
  6. Primary clinical outcome
  7. Stage of research (NIH Stage Model)
  8. Plan for translation to the next stage
  9. Relevance to the Duke Roybal Center
  10. Names and affiliations of co-investigators
  11. Names and affiliations of stakeholders to facilitate translation

Please note that the LOI will help organize the selection of reviewers and allow time to provide any final guidance prior to submitting a proposal.

Full Application:

We hope to fund up to 3 proposals each year. The full proposal is due 12/10/2021.

Please send as a PDF package to

  1. Cover Page:
    1. Title of the project
    2. Name and affiliation of the principal and co-investigators
    3. Stated commitment to participate in Roybal Center training activities
    4. Total amount requested
  2. Research Strategy: (Maximum of 3 pages, Arial 11 point font, 0.5 inch margins)
    1. Study Aims
    2. Significance
    3. Innovation
    4. Approach (Study Design and Methods)
    5. Analysis Plan
  3. References
  4. NIH Biosketch for all investigators
  5. Letters of support from stakeholders
  6. Detailed Budget (please work with your grants administrator to meet NIH guidelines)
  7. Detailed Budget Justification

Please contact Mary Jordan, CRC ( with any questions.