Duke Institute for Brain Sciences Calls for Incubator Award Proposals


Deadline: March 31, 2017 for new awards, May 1, 2017 for renewal awards

DIBS Research Incubator Awards provide seed funding to support interdisciplinary and collaborative brain science research within Duke for projects of exceptional innovation and broad significance to the field. The projects must engage at least two faculty representing multiple fields or levels of analysis and bring together investigators whose individual programs of research are not already connected from across the University. Proposed projects that include investigators from multiple schools within the University (e.g., School of Medicine, Arts and Sciences, Pratt School of Engineering, etc.) are encouraged. By supporting interdisciplinary research teams, DIBS hopes to encourage innovative approaches to problems that transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines, integrating the brain sciences with the social sciences, physical sciences, gene sciences, humanities, law, business, public policy, mathematics, computer science and engineering.

Amount of Support

The Institute plans to fund each approved working group (new or renewal) at a maximum level of $100,000 for one fiscal year. In addition to larger-scale projects, the Institute will explicitly review requests for smaller awards (less than $25,000). Research Incubator Award support is intended to provide a basis for project development and pilot research ultimately leading to external funding for the ongoing collaborative work.

Deadlines for 2017-2018 Awards

The deadline for submitting a letter of intent for the 2017-2018 awards is January 31, 2017. The letter of intent is limited to one page, is non-binding, and should provide an overview of the questions you intend to address, an indication of the significance of what you will learn and an overview of your interdisciplinary research working group and why those co-investigators are necessary and what expertise they provide to the project. The letter of intent is to help DIBS organize review committees. Please email a PDF version of the letter to Dr. Allen Song. Inquiries about the suitability of a project for the DIBS incubator awards may also be sent directly to Dr. Song.

The proposal deadline for new awards for 2017-2018 will be March 31, 2017.

The proposal deadline for renewal awards for 2017-2018 will be May 1, 2017.

Awards will be announced mid-June 2017.

Selection Process for New Awards

Proposals are reviewed by an ad hoc review committee consisting of faculty with a broad range of expertise in fundamental and translational brain sciences. The reviewing committee will identify proposals that best meet the objectives of the DIBS Research Incubator Awards: interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that will make long-term, significant and original contributions in the brain sciences. The review committee considers:

  • The significance and potential impact of the research program
  • The degree of innovation
  • The scope of the interdisciplinary collaboration and relevance for the goals of the research program
  • The feasibility of the research project
  • The likelihood of development into a project that would attract external support.

Selection Process for Renewing Awards

Renewals are reviewed by an Incubator Award renewal committee comprised of Duke faculty with a broad range of expertise in the brain sciences. Continued funding depends on progress made on the overall goals of the collaborative project, the merits of the research plan, the specific goals for the next period of support and the likelihood that the project is advancing toward external support. Advances that could not have been achieved with purely individual efforts must be clearly articulated, and the effective functioning of the collaborative project team must be made clear. The renewal deadline for 2017 is the end of the day (11:59 p.m.) May 1, 2017.