Duke I&E Invites Incubation Fund Proposals for Projects with Growth Potential

Incubation Fund.

Deadline: April 12, 2020


The spring application cycle is open for the Duke Incubation Fund. The Fund provides awards of up to $20,000 to support a wide range of idea-stage projects across Duke with commercial prospects. Applications are welcome from all Duke schools—we’re looking for innovative projects that could lead to new products/services that could positively impact society. To be eligible for up to $20,000 in funding, teams must include at least one Duke-affiliated faculty, postdoctoral fellow, medical resident, or grad/professional student. Funds can be applied towards (but not limited to): demonstrating feasibility, developing a prototype, obtaining supporting evidence or proof-of-concept, developing new markets or applications for current technologies, and development of creative projects. Please contact Sharlini Sankaran with any questions.


The Duke Incubation Fund (the “Fund”) was formed to support idea-stage projects at Duke University. The Fund will make a number of awards each year to support novel ideas, applied research, potential products, nascent services and creative projects that if successful, will lead to new opportunities in the market. To receive funding, projects must demonstrate a potential path to subsequent financial support, new company formation, licensing, not-for-profit partnering or other channels to enable translation.

The Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, which administers the Fund, is interested in innovative projects that could lead to new products or services that will have a positive impact on society, including:

  • Demonstrating the feasibility of an idea or innovation for a commercial or social venture
  • Developing a working software or device prototype
  • Obtaining supporting evidence or proof-of-concept for new ideas
  • Developing new applications or markets for a technology under development
  • Creative projects that might lead to professionally produced content

Applications are welcome from all fields of inquiry. At least one member of any team must be from Duke. Each award will consist of up to $20,000 (direct costs only). Preference will be given to applications with high potential for significant advancement. Funds may be spent within Duke or within a start-up company formed to commercialize the innovation.

Awards will be contingent on the innovator entering into Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) Agreement with the Fund. Any proceeds returned to the Fund under the SAFE will be used to finance future awards.

Key Dates

  • Application Submission Deadline: 11:59 p.m. on April 12, 2020
  • Funding Period: June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021

See the full RFP.