Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) Grants: 2016 RFP


Deadline: April 29, 2016

Spring 2016 Request for Proposals

[Please take note, the 2018 RFP is located here.]


Over the last fifteen years, Duke has committed itself to furthering interdisciplinarity and knowledge in the service of society. Now, with a new strategic planning process charting the university’s direction for the next decade, we have an opportunity to build upon our successes. With maturing interdisciplinary organizations and communities on campus, Duke is well-positioned to expand the interdisciplinary experiences available to graduate students.

Through this new internal funding mechanism, graduate students are encouraged to explore beyond disciplinary lines, both in research and coursework. The goal of this grant competition is to enable graduate students to build or extend their networks and to integrate collaborative, cross-school experiences into their programs, thereby increasing the number of individuals whose graduate training reflects the university’s signature commitments. We believe such experiences will lead to better preparation/training, whether for academic positions or other career trajectories.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Network Grants are available to graduate student groups to propose an interdisciplinary project, training, or experience lasting up to a year. Preference will be given to proposals that include participation across schools and that include professional students as well as doctoral students.

Proposals would require a lead faculty sponsor who would agree to mentor the group; an organizational sponsor (preferably a department, school, or institute/initiative) willing to handle funds and provide logistical support; endorsement from an additional faculty member from a different discipline or school; a plan of work; and anticipated outcomes. Where appropriate, these activities should count toward curricular requirements.

Proposed projects or activities could include a year-long research team (e.g., on the Bass Connections model that incorporates undergraduates and engages with external partners such as community organizations); groups to explore a compelling theme or problem that cuts across disciplinary lines (e.g., a reading group, group independent study, dissertation writing group); a joint effort to construct an interdisciplinary course for undergraduates, etc.


All current graduate students (post-undergraduate, including master’s, professional, and PhD students) in any program at Duke University may propose interdisciplinary groups and activities.


Proposals should be submitted to Hallie Knuffman (hallie.knuffman@duke.edu) in the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies by Friday, April 29 at 5:00pm and should include:

  • a brief narrative that articulates the plan of work, the proposed group, the goals of the network, and how it fits with the students’ overall academic, research, and professional plans (no more than 3 pages);
  • a budget plan (up to $20,000), timeline for use of the funds, and identification of the sponsoring unit (to manage the funds);
  • letters or e-mails from the faculty sponsor and an additional faculty member from a different discipline or school in support of the proposed network.

Review and Selection

Proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee convened by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, to include representation from faculty, deans, institute directors, and graduate students, representing all divisions of knowledge. Decisions will be announced by mid-May 2016 and funds will be awarded as appropriate to the timing of the activities.