Grants Available to Support Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks

Deadline: March 29, 2017

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


Through this 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 to interdisciplinarity and knowledge in the service of society. We believe such experiences will lead to better preparation/training, whether for academic positions or other career trajectories.

Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Network (D-SIGN) 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 and well as doctoral students.

Proposals require a lead faculty sponsor who agrees 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. For reference, see previous awardees and project descriptions.


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 will be accepted from February 15 through March 29, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. and should be submitted to Amber Martinez ( in the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. Proposals should include:

  • Updated Curriculum Vitae (no more than 2 pages), for all lead proposers
  • 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); we anticipate most budgets and awards will fall in the $5,000-$15,000 range
  • A listing of all other concurrent proposals for funding to support the proposed activities (we will ask awardees to update us when any additional funding for the proposed activities is awarded/received)
  • 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-April 2017 and funds will be awarded as appropriate to the timing of the activities. Awardees will be expected to provide updates on their activities during the year, which may include meeting with the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.