Build or Extend Graduate Student Networks with D-SIGN Grants


Deadline: February 25, 2019


The goal of this internal 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.

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 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 Ph.D. students) in any program at Duke University may propose interdisciplinary groups and activities.


Proposals will be accepted from January 14 through February 25, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.

Proposal Requirements

The Provost‘s Office uses MyResearchProposal online application software to submit applications.

You will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • A brief narrative that articulates the plan of work, the proposed group, the goals of the network, and how it fits with your overall academic, research, and professional plans (no more than 3 pages)
  • A budget plan (up to $20,000), and 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. Note: Funds cannot be used for Ph.D. student support.
  • 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.


  • Applicant instructions for applying via the MyResearchProposal software is available – Please review this document.
  • Enter Access Code ‘PROVOST’ then select the Provost – Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks, D-SIGN Application Spring 2019 opportunity and follow the instructions.
  • Letters of recommendation can be sent as PDFs to Letters should be saved using the following format: Applicant Last Name_D-SIGN_Letter writer last name (e.g., a letter for Joey Young, written by Dr. A. Smith would be named: Young_D-SIGN_Smith).
  • For any questions concerning MyResearchProposal passwords or system issues, please contact Lesia O’Hara or Anita Grissom at


RFP released 01/14/2019
RFP deadline for submission 02/25/2019
Project winner(s) notified 03/29/2019
Funds made available* 04/01/2019

*Funds must be expended between 4.1.19 and 6.30.20.


For any questions regarding your proposal, please contact: Carolyn Mackman,

Review and Selection

Proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee convened by the Executive Vice Provost and 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 in March 2019. Awardees will be expected to provide updates on their activities during the year, which may include meeting with the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.