Intellectual Community Planning Grants Offer Support for Faculty Collaborations


 Deadline: October 18, 2019


The Provost’s Office is once again offering support to Duke faculty who are interested in convening a group of colleagues to begin or test a new collaboration around a shared intellectual interest.

Project funds ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will be awarded for use during the 2020 calendar year. Recipients can use funds to cover the cost of food, meeting venue, external speakers or other meeting costs, and/or exploratory research (as by an RA) into potential collaborators at Duke, UNC, NC State, NCCU, RTI, etc.

Recipients from grant cycles in previous years represent a broad range of groups and new projects.


  • Any Duke regular rank faculty member, from any discipline, is eligible to propose and form a new collaborative group.
  • Each group should have at least five participating faculty members.
  • Prospective collaborations may be framed around disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or multidisciplinary themes. The search function at is a useful tool to find other faculty who share a particular intellectual interest.
  • Proposals should identify a faculty lead organizer (PI).
  • Collaborative groups that include faculty from the Schools of Medicine and Nursing are welcome to apply, so long as that contingent does not comprise a majority of committed faculty.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Potential to build collaborations in exciting intellectual areas for relevant department(s), school(s) and/or cross-cutting institute(s), whether around fundamental/applied research, innovative teaching, and/or civic engagement.
  • Demonstration of an organizing group of faculty who have self-aggregated around a shared intellectual interest, and who want to pursue that common interest in a variety of venues, e.g., small monthly dinner meetings, larger quarterly meetings, workshops. Meetings should be designed to facilitate potential collaboration.
  • Extent to which proposals articulate a clear anticipated outcome and also provide a plan to sustain interactions, prepare joint grant applications, and/or create a product such as a class, shared research project, extra- or co-curricular offering, etc.

The review process of submitted proposals will be overseen by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Executive Vice Provost. All proposals, and discussions thereof, will be kept strictly confidential. The intent is that the collective set of award recipients will reflect the richness of intellectual approaches and modes of inquiry that make Duke a vibrant university.

Proposal Requirements

The Provost‘s Office uses Formstack to submit applications.

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • a brief (maximum two-page) narrative that articulates (1) the area of shared intellectual interest, (2) the question or problem the group proposes to explore, (3) the proposed faculty group’s unique position and qualifications for engaging in the interest area and/or addressing the question or problem, (4) activities the group plans to conduct during the exploratory period, and (5) anticipated outcome (e.g., sustained interactions, joint grant application, new educational offering, Bass Connections project team proposal, research project);
  • a proposed budget;
  • information on other funding already obtained or requested (if applicants receive news about other funding proposals after the deadline, they should provide updated information to Carolyn Mackman,;
  • a listing of the organizing core faculty group with 2-page CVs for each.

To apply, visit


RFP released 09/04/2019
RFP deadline for submission 10/18/2019
Grant recipients notified 11/22/2019
Funds made available* (or sooner upon request) 01/06/2020

* Funds to be expended by 12/31/2020


For any questions regarding your proposal, please contact: Carolyn Mackman – Manager, Strategic Projects – at


Who can apply?
Any group of Duke faculty members with a regular rank faculty lead organizer (PI).

Our project idea is not very interdisciplinary. Is this ok?

Yes, we are interested in collaborations of all types, including those framed around disciplinary themes.

Is this our only chance at submitting a project proposal?

No, we plan to have RFP requests again in 2020.

Is there an optimal number of faculty for a proposal?

We are expecting to see at least five faculty interested in developing a collaborative group around the shared intellectual interest.

What kinds of items and expenses would ICPG funds be able to cover?

Funds can be used to cover the cost of food, meeting venue, external speakers or other meeting costs, and/or exploratory research (as by an RA) into potential collaborators at Duke, UNC, NC State, NCCU, RTI, etc.

What kinds of deliverables do you expect the ICPG groups to produce?

Examples of successful outcomes for an ICPG group include: sustained and/or expanding interactions in the group, a joint grant application, a new educational offering, a Bass Connections project team proposal, a research project, a major collaborative research grant, etc.

How are the ICPGs different from other proposals, like Bass Connections, and Collaboratories?

ICPGs are aimed at faculty groups in the initial stages of exploration of a topic, to begin or test a new collaboration around a shared intellectual interest. Thus, ICPGs provide a smaller level of initial funding. Bass Connections project teams require participation of students at multiple learner levels and a focus on applied problems; the application process also encourages engagement with partners from outside the university (NGOs, government agencies, corporations, etc.). Collaboratories are a newer opportunity that provides support to groups of faculty working on more established projects that seek to provide tangible solutions to targeted problems in specified thematic areas.