Pilot Grants

Clinical Trainee Pilot Research Grants

The NIH-funded Duke Center for Combinatorial Gene Regulation (CCGR), a Center of Excellence in Genomic Science, the ambitious Center goal to make combinatorial studies of the function of regulatory elements and noncoding variants routine. The Center will award up to three grants, each with a total budget of up to $15,000 (direct costs only) and a project duration of one year. Funds will support research activities for the trainees. The proposed research should be able to be accomplished within one year, and serve as a pilot project for external grant submission; however there will be an opportunity to renew for an additional year when scientifically justified.

The Duke CCGR Trainee Pilot RFP provides full detail about the submission process and requirements. Additional information follows below as well.  If you have programmatic questions, please contact Shannon Clarke at shannon.clarke@duke.edu.

Potential projects that align with this RFP include projects that aim to:

  • Find or characterize new patient cohorts that fit criteria (see below)
  • Prioritize noncoding variants based on clinical fit
  • Develop decision tree for patients with different criteria and/or modes of inheritance
  • Support functional follow-up studies
  • Support diagnostic sequencing pipeline development

The intent of this RFP is to support pilot studies that integrate the aims of the CCGR. The Center will deploy newly developed technologies and analyses to identify novel gene regulatory mechanisms contributing to a spectrum of phenotypes including common, rare, and ultra-rare diseases. We will prioritize cohorts based on: 1) the strongest evidence for noncoding genetic causes of disease; 2) the potential impact on patients and patient care; 3) availability of patient genome sequences and phenotypes; 4) availability of patient samples or recall options for validation studies; 5) disease expertise on our investigative team; and 6) diseases that likely involve combinatorial regulatory effects.

A key outcome of the pilot projects is a group of rising investigators who will have direct participation with a multi-disciplinary team approach exploring combinatorial gene regulatory mechanisms. Genomics is inherently highly multidisciplinary, and expanding national genomics capacity will demand expanding multidisciplinary education and training. These pilot projects will offer exposure to interdisciplinary genomics research for trainees and promote the adoption of newly developed CCGR technologies and methods. Future RFPs will be available to support further integration of cohort(s) identified during this phase in the CCGR studies.

We are particularly interested in proposals that build new collaborations and/or new teams that might lead to extended productive and externally funded collaborations. It is recommended that individuals interested in applying reach out to Shannon Clarke (shannon.clarke@duke.edu) 30 days prior to due date.

Key Dates
Intent to Submit deadline: May 31, 2021 [submitted via MyResearchProposal]
Application Submission deadline: June 25, 2021 [submitted via MyResearchProposal]
Earliest Award Start Date: August 1, 2021

Eligibility Requirements
Duke Clinical Trainees — medical residents or fellows, postdoctoral fellows or associates, medical instructors)

Proposals should describe:

  • A research question centered on function of regulatory elements and noncoding variants
  • The study cohort of interest detailing: 1) evidence for noncoding genetic causes; 2) the potential impact on patients and patient care; 3) availability of patient genome sequences and phenotypes; 4) availability of patient samples or recall options for validation studies; 5) diseases/phenotype expertise; and 6) diseases/phenotypes that likely involve combinatorial regulatory effects.
  • Data required to answer the research question
  • A plan for follow-on funding applications
  • Proposed training team to consist of at least one CCGR investigator and a clinical Faculty mentor

Funding Award Amount

Application Procedure
Proposals are submitted via Duke’s MyResearchProposal online submission system.

  • To apply visit http://bit.ly/myresearchproposal, click on “Create New User” (or log in if you already have an account). Proposals must be submitted under the Trainee’s name.
  • A step-by-step user’s guide for applying via the MyResearchProposal software is available – Please review this document.
  • Enter Access Code ‘trainee’ then select the “Trainee Pilots – Duke Center for Combinatorial Gene Regulation” opportunity and follow the instructions.
  • For questions concerning MyResearchProposal passwords or system issues, please contact Anita Grissom or Lesia O’Hara at myresearchproposal@duke.edu.