Faculty Can Propose Research Projects on Racial Inequality

Racial Inequality: Request for Proposals.

Deadline: February 1, 2022

Thanks to generous funding from The Duke Endowment, the Office of the Provost is accepting research proposals to study “Racial Inequality.” We anticipate awards to range from $5,000 to $50,000 with start dates as early as July 1, 2022 and ending by June 30, 2024.


Societal inequities along racial lines have deep historical and systemic roots, and span many areas, such as education, housing, health, economic security, voting and political participation, and the criminal justice system, among others. Interrogating racial inequalities that exist in our society and identifying mechanisms to address them is critical to achieving a more equitable society.

As a major research institution, Duke is well positioned to leverage its strong research expertise and resources to deepen our understanding of racial inequalities and to apply that knowledge to produce more equitable outcomes.


We invite proposals that engage topics related to the issue of racial inequality. There will be priority consideration for proposals that engage with issues of particular relevance to Durham and North Carolina, but we will also consider projects that focus on other locations in the US, as well as comparative analyses within the US or between the US and other regions. We welcome both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches from across the social sciences, humanities, and arts, as well as proposals from a single faculty member or from groups.

Examples of themes with a focus on racial and socioeconomic inequalities include (but are not limited to):

  • Education
  • Health
  • Economic Security
  • Housing
  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Religion
  • Culture
  • Laws, Policies and Practices


Duke regular rank faculty can serve as Primary Investigators (PI), with the exception of faculty with primary appointments in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, who are NOT eligible to serve as Primary Investigators, but may participate as research team members provided that the research team has at least 50% of faculty from schools outside of Medicine and Nursing.

Eligible Types of Expenditures

The budget may include: stipends for research assistants; research-related travel and materials; workshops; transcription services, statistical consultants, and other justifiable and allowable research expenses such as open access publication subventions (in the case of research that has already reached an advanced stage), interactive multi-media installations, and multi-media platforms. Faculty summer salary up to $10,000 is also allowed, per project. Fringe rate is in addition to this allowance.

Proposal Requirements

The Provost’s Office is using Formstack online application software to receive applications. Proposals should include the following information and documents:

  1. general proposal information, to include the following: proposal title; name, title/rank, departmental affiliation, email address, and telephone number of all members of the research team; designation of a Principal Investigator
  2. a brief abstract or summary of the proposal (250 word maximum)
  3. a brief narrative (three-page maximum) that articulates (1) the plan for research, (2) statement of research objectives, (3) description of significance and innovation of the research, and (4) work already completed related to the proposed work (if relevant)
  4. a proposed budget (one-page maximum)
  5. two-page CVs for each faculty member of the research team.

Review Process and Selection Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee to be named by the Provost and will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Originality of proposed research
  • Opportunities for students to engage in the project
  • Potential implications for public understanding of racial inequality

Submission Instructions

Please submit proposal information via Formstack here.


RFP released 12/01/2021
RFP deadline for submission 02/01/2022
Awardee(s) notified 04/30/2022
Funds made available (or sooner upon request) 07/01/2022

Contact for Questions

Please contact the Office for Faculty Advancement at facultyadvancement@duke.edu with any questions about this Request for Proposals, including questions about using Formstack.

Frequently Asked Questions

As a non-regular rank faculty member, can I be a PI on a grant?

No, however you are welcome to participate as a research team member.

As a regular rank faculty member in the School of Medicine or School of Nursing, can I be a PI on a grant?

No, however you are welcome to participate as a research team member.

Does the category of research assistants include staff?

No, research assistants can be students or postdoctoral fellows at Duke or from another higher education institution (i.e., outside of Duke).

Can I pay an outside consultant for training purposes, as a scholar activist or as a community partner?

Yes, you may establish payment through an independent contractor form as long as the individual complies with the independent contractor status. Non-Duke individuals can only be paid using The Duke Endowment funds by this method. Please review this resource and check with your business manager: https://finance.duke.edu/procurement/procure/ap/policies/eicmatrix.

Does the faculty summer salary of $10,000 include fringe?

Fringe is in addition to the $10,000 allowance. Please check with your business manager for the current fringe rate.

Is the $10,000 faculty salary maximum per grant proposal or per year?

The $10,000 salary component is for the duration of the grant project, not per summer.

Do “materials” include equipment purchases?

Yes, you may request equipment and it is recommended that the purchase not reflect a large portion of the project budget.

What deliverables or reporting will you expect from awardees?

A final report describing the use of funds, the outcomes of the project, and, if relevant, a description of the engagement of the students and the community in the project will be requested in February 2023, and due March 2023. A report template for the submission will be provided.