Bass Connections Invites Proposals for Projects Related to COVID-19

Call for proposals.

Deadline: June 15, 2020 (priority), June 30, 2020 (final)

Bass Connections, in partnership with the Margolis Center for Health Policy, is now accepting proposals for new projects addressing research related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty interested in proposing such a project should read the full submission guidelines and submit a proposal by June 15, 2020 for priority consideration. Thereafter, we will have a rolling deadline through June 30, 2020.​​​

Proposed pop-up theme projects may begin in Summer or Fall 2020. Project funding will range from $5,000 to $20,000.

This special call for proposals does not take the place of the normal Bass Connections RFP process. All other proposals for year-long Bass Connections project teams should be submitted through our normal RFP, to be issued in early September.


Bass Connections supports interdisciplinary, collaborative research to address pressing societal challenges. The five interdisciplinary themes of Bass Connections support research related to persistent societal challenges such as health inequities, education, environmental sustainability, the intersection of technology and society and the brain’s role in making us human. As broad as these themes are, they are not all-encompassing, and we recognize the need to respond nimbly to new challenges confronting society. As a result, since 2018, Bass Connections has launched two “pop-up themes,” the first focused on hurricane recovery and resilience and the second on research related to immigrationThis call is for project proposals related to a new pop-up theme around research related to the ongoing and future challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: Responding to Current and Future Challenges

In a matter of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged nearly every institution and caused the world community to alter long-held ways of living. There is no doubt that the impact of this pandemic will be profound and lasting.

Bass Connections, in partnership with the Margolis Center for Health Policy, issues this special call for proposals for teams interested in addressing research questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic through a Bass Connections project in 2020-2021.

  • Maximum project funding is $20,000, but we encourage teams to keep the budget lean. We anticipate capping funding at $15,000 unless a team has a particular need that justifies a higher budget.
  • All teams must be led by at least one faculty member.
  • Bass Connections teams are expected to meet at least weekly.
  • Proposed research must be capable of proceeding remotely if necessitated. Travel should not be included as a critical element of the team’s work.
  • Projects may start this summer or this fall.
  • Bass Connections typically supports year-long projects but we will also consider proposals for shorter, intensive projects.

Research questions may include, but are not limited to:

  • How can we improve our capacity to predict, prevent and respond to future emerging viruses?
  • Which of the changes introduced to medical practice and the provision of healthcare should we maintain after this initial wave of the pandemic? How should we adapt policy to facilitate such longer-term changes?
  • How has physical distancing and sheltering at home affected the mental health of various populations, with what long-term mental health implications?
  • What can we learn from the very different responses of local, subnational and national governments to the pandemic? Or from the varying strategies of private firms or NGOs?
  • What behavioral, economic and social methods best incentivize different populations to practice preventive measures such as physical distancing, wearing masks, etc. in the short and long terms?
  • What are possible paths forward for the U.S. and/or global economy? Which economic relief measures have had the greatest impact on the economy? How might COVID-19 reshape global trade patterns and globalization?
  • What is the global impact of COVID-19? How has the pandemic affected migration patterns and the stance of governments towards immigrants? Are governments capitalizing on this opportunity to restrict human rights and civil society?
  • How has the closure of schools affected the academic progress and social and emotional well-being of children, as well as the circumstances of working parents? How will school systems help students catch up, recognizing that the move to online learning may have increased existing achievement disparities?
  • How can congregate communities such as nursing homes, prisons, deportation facilities and homeless shelters slow the spread of COVID-19 and better prepare for future pandemics?
  • How might we harness the power of big data to better predict and trace disease outbreaks, while also protecting individual privacy?
  • How can we rapidly expand access to testing, and how do we ensure that testing reaches under-served communities and communities more averse to engaging with authorities?
  • What might we learn from the current reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that might inform a greener future as society returns to more normal economic activity? What could a green stimulus look like? How could COVID-19 impact the clean energy transition?
  • What have we learned from the ethical and moral dilemmas faced by healthcare providers and first-responders in allocating scare resource as we prepare for the next pandemic?

Submission Instructions

Please read the full submission guidelines and use the proposal template (Word document) to prepare your proposal. Proposals should be submitted in a single document to by June 15, 2020 for priority consideration.

We aim to make expedient decisions for time-sensitive, compelling projects. Thereafter, we will have a rolling deadline through June 30, 2020. Please contact Laura Howes, Director of Bass Connections at with questions.

Learn More

Incubator and Germinator Seed Grants Available from Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

DIBS logo.

Deadline: May 1, 2020, for letters of intent; August 1, 2020, for full proposals

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS) supports two seed grant funding programs. These high-risk/high-return funding mechanisms provide funding for research that is exploratory and therefore not yet ready for external funding.

  • Research Incubator Awards, of up to $100,000, require a minimum of two faculty from different disciplines.
  • Research Germinator Awards support smaller, targeted requests up to $25,000, and are open to faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students.

Research Incubator Awards

DIBS Research Incubator Awards aim to promote research that is high-risk/high-return, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and related to the brain sciences. This year, DIBS will fund at least five projects of up to $100,000 for a period of one year. Collaborative teams should be comprised of faculty leaders who represent at least two different departments at Duke. Projects that include investigators from multiple schools within the University (e.g., School of Medicine, Arts & Sciences, Pratt School of Engineering, etc.) are encouraged.

Criteria for awards will be: innovation; interdisciplinarity; significance to the brain sciences; quality of the approach; feasibility; and potential to lead to external funding.

Collaborators will also be evaluated for balanced expertise and productive contribution to the team.

Proposals should clearly and concisely describe a project whose scope is matched to the duration (1 year) and amount of funding. The proposal, budget, budget justification, and biosketches for all faculty collaborators should be submitted as a single PDF.

One-page Letters of Intent for 2020 are due by 5 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020. To submit a Letter of Intent and other required information, please use this link: Incubator Awards Letter of Intent Form.

Full Proposals for 2020 are due by 5 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020, via email to, and should clearly and concisely describe a project whose scope is matched to the duration and amount of funding. Please download the Incubator Awards Program 2019-2020 Application Form.

Research Germinator Awards

DIBS Research Germinator Awards are designed to support smaller, targeted requests for training, pilot data, non-faculty salary, and/or equipment that would facilitate new research and lead to new external funding. Projects are awarded up to a maximum of $25,000 (non-renewable). A letter of intent and brief application are required. These awards are open to Duke graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty.

The application should describe how this targeted investment would catalyze a new program of research or collaboration and/or enhance chances of obtaining external funding. DIBS can assist in identifying appropriate funding sources. It should also describe clearly and concisely how a project’s scope matches its duration (up to 1 year) and requested funding. If a grant or other award proposal has been submitted to another funding source (e.g., NIH, NSF, foundation) on a similar topic, the rationale for DIBS funding should be clearly articulated. Note: Unlike the DIBS Incubator Awards, Germinator Awards may go to single investigators.

One-page Letters of Intent for 2020 are due by 5 p.m. ET, May 1, 2020. To submit a Letter of Intent and other required information, please use this link: Germinator Awards Letter of Intent Form.

Full Proposals for 2020 are due by 5 p.m. ET, August 1, 2020, via email to, and should clearly and concisely describe a project whose scope is matched to the duration and amount of funding. Please download the Germinator Awards Program 2019-2020 Application Form.

Learn more: Research Awards Schedule and Application Forms

Duke Global Health Institute Offers Funding for Pilot Research

Pilot research.

Deadline: April 20, 2020

The Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) invites interdisciplinary teams led by DGHI faculty to submit research proposals in the area of data science, machine learning, and/or artificial intelligence. “AI” is typically used to describe when computers are learning independent of human interaction (for example, the ability to perform tasks in complex environments without constant guidance by a user or the ability to improve performance by learning from experience). The field of AI includes or overlaps with machine learning, data science, and digital health. Per a 2018 report from USAID,

Examples of the use of AI in health can be found both in public health and medicine. Public health applications include populations risk management and intervention targeting or application of large datasets to surveillance and disease prediction. Patient-centered examples include improving image-based diagnosis with machine learning, chatbots to triage/refer patients or improve self-managed care, and virtual health assistants for front-line health workers.

Research and collaboration around data, machine learning and innovation are important to DGHI, Duke School of Medicine, and Duke University. Through this RFP, DGHI seeks to provide pilot funds to stimulate interdisciplinary research collaborations, with the goal of enabling investigators to leverage preliminary findings and data to obtain larger awards of external funding.

  • Collaborative and interdisciplinary proposals are required. Teams including new investigators, investigators new to global health, and/or investigators from low and middle-income countries, are encouraged, and investigators from 2 or more Duke Schools, Institutes, Centers or Departments are required.
  • DGHI is looking for global health research ideas that will improve health equity and benefit hard-to-reach populations, low-resourced areas and partners.
  • We encourage cross-cutting investments that are applicable to more than one discipline or topic (e.g., something that would aid both malaria and cervical cancer elimination). Both the research areas and cross-cutting approaches are intended to be broadly defined—e.g., science may include anything from implementation science to genomics to sociobehavioral science.
  • Topic areas which have not previously received support and proposals that support and describe a sustainable line of global health research will be prioritized.

Eligible Applicants

Duke faculty are eligible to apply for funding. Proposals that include collaborators from other institutions are encouraged. Study teams should include investigators from more than one Duke School, Institute, or Department.


The budget may include: supplies, support for technicians, research assistants, and graduate students; research-related travel; and other justifiable and allowable research expenses. Faculty salary, travel to scientific meetings, and indirect costs are not allowable expenses. Applicants may apply for up to $25,000 for a 12-month project. Smaller proposals for shorter periods are also encouraged.

Application Requirements

Proposals must be for activities in low, lower- and upper- middle-income countries (a listing of eligible countries can be found at the World Bank website: OR focused on health disparities in the American South. Applicants are encouraged to identify collaborating in-country/local investigators, and should describe plans for how the results generated will be applied to future external funding, as this will be an important criterion in the review.

If you wish to propose a global health project that does not include LMIC or American South activities, please contact John Bartlett to discuss and receive approval.

Cover Page. Must include the following information:

  • Proposal title
  • Name, title, departmental affiliation, address, email address, and telephone number of all proposed investigators
  • Designation of a Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigators

Abstract (250 words maximum)

Research Plan (3 page maximum; single-spaced, 12 point font, 1” margins) including:

  • Statement of research objectives
  • Significance of the research (including significance to DGHI and/or Global Health and to research setting)
  • Proposed methods and plans for data analysis (specific details recommended)
  • Work already completed related to the proposed work (if relevant)
  • Description of the research team and research setting, including site collaboration plan
  • Potential for future external grant support

Appendix Materials (1 page maximum each; single-spaced, 12 point font, 1” margins) including:

  • Research timeline and milestones
  • Letter of support from a collaborating researcher at research site

Budget and Justification (1 page maximum)

NIH Biosketch OR Curriculum Vitae

  • Include current grant support and limit to 5 pages for each investigator

Submission Format

Please combine all required elements into a single pdf document and submit via email to with the subject line of “DGHI Pilot Grant Submission.”


Application receipt date: April 20, 2020

Project start date: May 15, 2020


We welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Please submit inquires related to this funding announcement to:

Kelly Matthews Deal, MPH Assistant Director, Research Duke Global Health Institute; telephone (919) 681-7159, email:

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.

Franklin Humanities Institute Invites Faculty Proposals for Book Manuscript Workshops


Deadline: March 2, 2020


The Franklin Humanities Institute’s Faculty Book Manuscript Workshop Program provides support for the development and completion of scholarly monographs. The workshops provide a structure for generating constructive, informed criticism on near-final book manuscripts, at a moment in the writing process when authors can most effectively utilize feedback. The aim of the program is to transform already excellent scholarly projects into superior published works.

The FHI introduced the Faculty Book Manuscript Workshop Program in 2008 and developed it with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation from 2011 to 2015. In recognition of the support that the program provides for faculty research, it is now funded by the Provost as part of the university’s academic strategic plan, Together Duke.

The Book MS Workshop award includes funding for the workshop as well as logistical support. (Note that it does not include fellowship or course-release funding.)


All regular rank faculty in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences, regardless of seniority, are eligible to apply, but Assistant Professors will receive priority consideration. We are also interested in proposals to use the workshop format in new ways to support translations, collaborative projects, and innovative major publications in a variety of forms and platforms.

Timing and Leave

Junior faculty are strongly advised to apply for the workshop in advance of their junior leave. While the award does not include funding for additional leave, the FHI commits to assisting workshop recipients who plan to apply for additional leave in order to support the final revisions of their manuscripts.

When applying, applicants should consider carefully their anticipated writing schedule.  The FHI will work with each awardee to schedule their workshop, based on a realistic due date for a complete draft of the book manuscript, which will be sent to participants at least one month prior to the workshop date.

For digital or multi-modal projects, a workshop earlier in the research and writing process might be more useful; feel free to consult the FHI about timing at

The deadline for proposals is Monday, March 2, 2020.

Workshop Details

Each workshop convenes two senior scholars whose work is relevant to the subject of the book in question, an acquisitions editor from a major scholarly press, and a select group of local faculty from Duke and area universities.

The Faculty member whose project is the focus of the workshop will select each participant. The FHI will handle all logistics related to the workshop, including sending formal invitations to workshop participants, making travel arrangements for external guests, scheduling the workshop, reserving a room, printing and distributing manuscripts to workshop participants, providing catered meals, and issuing honoraria. This allows faculty to focus on finishing their manuscripts in the months approaching the workshop.

The half-day workshop begins with presentations from the invited guests, each of whom will be asked to make a formal presentation of their thoughts on the strengths of the draft and areas for further development. The author responds, and an open discussion with the group follows, continuing over a working lunch.

Workshops are closed, and groups are limited to 15 total participants, selected by the author.

Proposal Requirements and Selection Criteria

Proposals should focus on scholarly manuscripts being written with the aim to secure a publishing contract.  One workshop per year may be dedicated to digital or multi-modal projects.

Authors and their projects will be selected based on the potential significance of the finished work to the field in question, and the potential impact of the work on the author’s career. The applicant’s academic accomplishments will also be taken into account.  Workshop proposals must include the following components:

  • A one-page summary of the project in development, including a schedule for completion. In this summary, applicants should also include a statement indicating whether the work is under contract with a publisher, a list of publishers who have expressed interest, or a list of publishers the applicant feels would be ideal for the project but who have not yet been approached.
  • A one-page narrative explaining why and how this opportunity will be important to the process of completing the work. If appropriate, applicants should include a brief statement specifying their tenure and/or promotion timelines in this narrative.
  • A list of prospective invitees to the workshop, to include: (1) two scholars external to Duke; (2) one acquisitions editor at a major scholarly press (not necessarily an editor who has been approached); and (3) a list of general invitees to the workshops from Duke and area universities, divided into areas of relevance. The workshop may include no more than 15 people, although the proposal may include more names, with each prospective participant in each area ranked according to preference. Please note that this list is intended to give the review committee a sense of the proposed workshop and will not be considered final. Applicants should not make advance commitments to anyone on their list beyond confirming the general interest of the prospective participant, if this is deemed necessary. Applicants should be sure to include more than one scholar in each category.
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • A firm date for completion of the book manuscript
  • Proposals must be submitted by 5:00 PM on Monday, March 2, 2020 via email attachment (Word and PDF) to Please include the phrase “Book MS Workshop Proposal” in the subject line.
  • Applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been successful approximately six weeks from the submission deadline.


Email or

Nicholas Institute Invites Duke Faculty to Apply for 2020-21 Catalyst Grants

Catalyst grant.

Deadline: March 23, 2020 (extended)

Launched in 2017, the Catalyst Program aims to prompt and support expansions of existing partnerships between Duke faculty and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions staff on research and workshops. Through the program’s seed funding, these researchers develop new or emergent ideas related to environmental policy challenges at the federal, state, and local level.

The Nicholas Institute’s mission is to help decision makers create timely, effective, and economically practical solutions to the world’s critical environmental challenges. The Nicholas Institute engages local, state, and federal governments, international agencies, NGOs, companies, and communities through convening, providing legal, economic, and policy analysis, and supporting the process of taking policy concepts and turning them into practice. The vision for the Catalyst Program is to build on this mission by increasing engagement with Duke University faculty to incubate and advance new partnerships, enhance policy-relevant knowledge, and create innovative policy solutions based on new creative synergies. The program will invest in policy-relevant proposals that catalyze Nicholas Institute and faculty collaborations in new or emergent areas of shared interest. The program’s intent is to create collaborations that will continue past the grant and become central components of the Institute’s work in the years ahead.

Eligible Participants

Each proposal must be co-chaired by at least one person from the Nicholas Institute’s senior staff (see list below) and a Duke faculty member from any discipline. Priority will be given to proposals submitted by faculty representing schools that have had limited participation in the program in past grant cycles.

Funding and Project Types

Awards will be given out for use during the 2021 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, in two categories:

  • Pre-catalyst planning grants of up to $5,000. These proposals should be used to investigate the possibility of a collaboration that could result in a catalyst proposal in the next fiscal year.
  • Catalyst grants of up to $25,000. Award funding can be used for applied research, workshops, course development, and events, including the cost of food, meeting venues, travel, external speakers, and post-doctoral and research assistant support. Note: On the basis of project performance and interest, these projects may be considered for renewal for additional funding in FY22.

Project Requirements

Projects must connect Nicholas Institute senior staff with Duke faculty, building on the core competencies of the co-chairs, and develop new or emergent ideas related to environmental policy challenges at the federal, state, and local level. Projects can be new initiatives or expansions of existing partnerships. They can include broad, multi-part projects, of which this funding is a piece, as well as smaller, intensive scoping or pilot projects. Additional considerations for project eligibility include (1) the project’s alignment with the Nicholas Institute’s mission, (2) the project team’s ability to leverage additional resources and secure future funding (with a particular interest in aligning with funding priorities of the Together Duke strategic plan), and (3) potential for long-term impact.

Review and Selection

Proposals are due no later than 5 p.m., March 23, 2020. Proposals will be reviewed by the Nicholas Institute Strategic Advisory Committee and final award decisions will be made no later than May 4, 2020. Please direct questions to to Colette Watt.

Proposal Template

By 5 p.m., March 23, 2020, an electronic PDF of your proposal should be submitted to Colette Watt,

Please limit your proposal to four pages inclusive of the following information:

  • Project Title and One-Sentence Summary
  • Project Co-Chairs and Senior Personnel
  • Proposed Budget: Provide an overall budget for your project, including a description of requested support and its anticipated uses. Identify other sources of funding, including funding already obtained or requested. List any funding opportunities that you intend to pursue.
  • Proposal Narrative (maximum 2 pages): Provide an overview of your project that articulates (1) the question or problem that the project proposes to explore; (2) the project goals; (3) proposed activities or work plan, including timeframes; and (4) anticipated outcome or impact.
  • Evaluation Plan: Describe the metrics that will be used to effectively demonstrate and quantify the project’s outcomes or impact. If the proposal requests a continuation from a prior grant, please also provide an evaluation of how the prior year’s grant met its proposed metrics.
  • Sustainability Plan: If you can anticipate how this project will continue after the Catalyst Program support concludes, provide a future funding plan.
  • Engagement Plan: If you anticipate your project will include public outreach or engagement with decision makers, describe the relevant plans and timelines.

Nicholas Institute Senior Staff

Robert Bonnie
Executive in Residence
Jennie Chen
Senior Counsel
Climate and Energy Program
Martin Doyle
Water Policy Program
Jackson Ewing
Faculty Fellow
DKU Research and Engagment
T. Robert Fetter
Senior Policy Associate
Energy Access Project
Liz Losos
Senior Fellow
Lydia Olander
Ecosystem Services Program
Jonathan Phillips
Energy Access Project
Amy Pickle
State Policy Program
Billy Pizer
Faculty Fellow
Tim Profeta
Director, Nicholas Institute for
Environmental Policy Solutions
Steve Roady
Faculty Fellow
Martin Ross
Senior Research Economist
John Virdin
Ocean and Coastal Policy Program
Jen Weiss
Senior Policy Associate
Climate and Energy Program

PDF: Catalyst Program 2020-21 RFP

See 2019-20 awardees

ABC Thrive Offers Seed Funding to Explore Innovations in Early Childhood Development

ABC Thrive.

Deadlines: February 28, 2020, for letters of intent (strongly encouraged); March 30, 2020, for proposal


ABC Thrive invites seed grant proposals to support the early work of interdisciplinary teams exploring innovations in early childhood development (prenatal to age five). Through this RFP, grants of $20,000 to $40,000 will be awarded to three to four teams for a period of 16 months. At the end of a successful pilot project, seed grantees will be eligible to compete for a larger award of up to $300,000 over two years.

Teams should include Duke faculty from different disciplines/areas of expertise who are working on a common problem related to the goals of ABC Thrive, as described below. Proposals involving international populations must also articulate the implications of the research for prenatal and child well-being in the U.S.

We strongly encourage proposals that include: 1) teams that have not previously collaborated or that are working in an area new to the team; 2) projects that traverse two of the three priority areas listed below; and 3) teams that include community partners.

Please contact us at any point during the application process if you are interested in ideas for potential faculty collaborators and/or community partners, or if you have questions about the scope of this call.

Program Description

Numerous factors affect a child’s growth and development, ranging from genes and biology to family, school, neighborhood and sociopolitical contexts. The purpose of ABC Thrive is to leverage the innovative research, education, clinical care and outreach capabilities of Duke University and Duke Health to promote optimal development in children from prenatal to age five. ABC Thrive will support interdisciplinary teams of experts who will identify, validate and disseminate best practices for use by parents, educators, healthcare providers and community stakeholders to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life.

We are especially interested in projects that address at least one of the following three goal areas:

1 – Prenatal and early childhood health and wellness

  • Identify factors associated with positive prenatal and early childhood outcomes
  • Develop and test new methods or interventions with the potential to: (a) improve prenatal outcomes; (b) improve infants’ and young children’s socioemotional, language, cognitive and/or physical development; and/or (c) promote positive parenting practices
  • Apply validated methods for improving prenatal, early childhood and/or parenting practices and outcomes with new clinical or community populations

2 – Community outreach

  • Leverage existing, or develop new, partnerships to design and test novel interventions
  • Develop strategies to ensure the translation of new discoveries into policy and practice
  • Conduct research that includes participants from a range of ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures
  • Conduct research that includes participants from obstetric, neonatal or pediatric populations with risks for poor fetal, infant and/or child outcomes

3 – Applied technology to achieve scale

  • Develop novel technological approaches to understanding and mitigating multifactorial risks for poor prenatal and early childhood outcomes
  • Use technology to simultaneously disseminate best practices in early childhood development and investigate their impact
  • Adapt established interventions in early childhood development to digital or other technological formats

ABC Thrive is affiliated with Bass Connections and housed in the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. ABC Thrive is codirected by Staci Bilbo, Haley Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and Katie Rosanbalm, Senior Research Scientist, Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. For more information:

Key Dates

  • Letter of intent (February 28, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EST): Interested parties are strongly encouraged to submit a brief letter of intent that includes: the problem to be addressed; basic approach to the project; and proposed faculty leaders and community partners. Letters of intent should be emailed to Laura Howes, Director of Bass Connections, at and should be no longer than one page (single-spaced, one-inch margins, 11-point font). We will provide feedback on all letters of intent within one week. Letters will also be used to identify any unique expertise that needs to be included on the review panel.
  • Proposal submission deadline (March 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EST): Proposals must be submitted in a single, consolidated Word or PDF document to Responses must meet the character limits noted below – all character counts include spaces.
  • Final selection (April 30, 2020): Please note that it’s possible that the selection committee will reach out to applicants if additional information is needed.
  • Funding period (July 1, 2020 – October 31, 2021): The funding period is intended to allow for a project planning run-in period of a few months to process IRB applications, hire new research assistants, etc.

Proposal Requirements

1 – Project description: What problem will the project address and why does it have significant implications for child well-being? What are the anticipated short-term outcomes from this seed grant, and what are the possible long-term outcomes if you are successful? (3000 characters)

2 – Methodological approach: Describe how the team will operate and conduct the work. What methods will be used? Include information on sample, recruitment, data collection and data analysis. (5000 characters)

3 – Innovative nature of the proposed project: How will this project add something new to our understanding of child well-being and/or to changes in existing policies, programs, care delivery models, etc.? (1000 characters)

4 – Duke team members (at least 2, no more than 5):

  • Please list the name, title, school, department for all PIs.
  • Please list the name, title, school, department for all other Duke team members (faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate students, etc.).
  • What role will each team member play in the project? Have the members of this team worked together in the past? If yes, how is the proposed work a new line of inquiry? What makes the team an interdisciplinary team? (1000 characters)

5 – Actual and Envisaged Community Connections: Describe the nature of external engagement involved in this project, addressing the following points: (1500 characters)

  • Provide the name, title and organization of community partners (if any). Briefly describe the role of the community partner(s) in the research and explain whether any members of the team have prior experience working with the community partner, or whether this is a new collaboration.
  • Whether or not your team already includes external partners, please describe your plans for translating research findings into practice and/or establishing future community partnerships.

6 – Timeline: Provide a timeline in table format for key activities and milestones. The anticipated funding period is July 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021. This period is intended to allow for a project planning run-in period of a few months to process IRB applications, hire new research assistants, etc.

7 – Prospects for external funding: What are potential plans for follow-on external funding in the long-term, including sources? Provide specific funding opportunities, if relevant. (1000 characters)

8 – Budget: Upload a detailed budget (maximum $40,000) including a justification of expenses, in a standard NIH/NSF format. Please also note any other sources of funding that would be applied to this project (e.g., Department or School match, external funds).

Funding may cover reasonable research costs such as graduate students and postdocs, participant payments, materials and supplies. Faculty salaries may only be included for faculty who are 100% externally funded and should not make up more than 25% of the total budget.

9 – PI CVs: Please include a two-page CV for each PI.

10 – Letters of support: If your team has community partners, please include a brief letter of support from those partners.

Submission instructions: Proposals must be submitted to by March 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. in a single, consolidated Word or PDF document. Responses must meet the character limits noted; character counts include spaces.

Selection Criteria

An interdisciplinary review committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing and scoring applications:

  • Potential impact on early childhood outcomes (including anticipated short- and long-term outcomes)
  • Potential secondary outcomes including opportunities for publications, external funding, impact on community partners and impact on the development of students and faculty
  • Alignment with the goals of ABC Thrive
  • Approach and feasibility
  • Degree of interdisciplinarity

Expectations for Selected Teams

If your proposal is selected for funding, we will request to meet with your team, together with the other seed grantee teams, two to three times during the funding period in order to: 1) help identify and address common challenges across seed grantees; and 2) stay informed about your team’s progress.

In Fall 2021, we will release a call for proposals for the second phase of funding of up to $300,000 over two years. Selections for additional funding will be based on each team’s progress during the seed grant period; potential for the work to be sustained through external funding sources; and the original selection criteria listed above.

Contact Information

For questions about the proposal process or requirements, please contact Laura Howes at For questions about ABC Thrive or to discuss an idea for a proposal, please contact Staci Bilbo at and/or Katie Rosanbalm at

Access a PDF version of the RFP. Read about previous ABC Thrive seed grant recipients and a follow-on grant recipient.

Start or Advance an Innovative Project through the Energy Research Seed Fund

Energy Research Seed Fund.

Deadline: February 14, 2020

Since 2014, the Duke University Energy Initiative’s Energy Research Seed Fund has kickstarted new interdisciplinary research teams to launch innovative projects—sparking collaboration among scholars from the basic sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and other disciplines. The fund helps Duke researchers obtain important preliminary results they can use to secure external funding or otherwise expand future scholarly collaboration.

Thanks to generous support from the Office of the Provost, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, and the Pratt School of Engineering, we are pleased to invite proposals from Duke faculty to any of the following grant categories:

  • Stage-One Grants will provide up to $45,000 for Duke faculty embarking on new interdisciplinary projects. At least two members of the proposed research team must represent different disciplines, schools, or departments. The performance period for Stage-One Grants is 12 months.
  • Stage-Two Grants will provide up to $35,000 to carry projects currently supported by the Energy Research Seed Fund into their next research phase. Applications for Stage- Two grants should indicate successful completion of work conducted under the current grant and outline how additional funding will help make the team’s research more compelling to external funders.
  • Proposal Development Grants will provide up to $25,000 for past Energy Research Seed Fund grantees to develop proposals for external funding. Applicants for these grants should provide a one-page proposal indicating how the funds will be used (acceptable uses include travel to meet with potential sponsors, support for Ph.D. student assistants, etc.), and how those uses will improve the likelihood of external funding.

Proposals are due Friday, February 14, 2020 (see submission details below).

The Seed Fund program is open to proposals on energy-inspired research topics from researchers across a full spectrum of disciplines. This year, we particularly welcome proposals in the following areas:

  • Energy humanities
  • Energy data analytics and big data, especially projects that build on results from previous/existing Data+ teams or that are well-positioned to develop data that can be analyzed in a future Data+ project
  • Energy materials, advanced alternative fuels, and renewables
  • Energy markets, regulatory tools, and standards
  • Grid reliability and resilience
  • Energy access and inequality


Eligible Applicants

The Principal Investigator must be a regular-rank faculty member at Duke University, but other investigators on the proposing team can be Duke faculty, staff, or students. Likewise, the proposed team may include external collaborators, but funding may only be used to cover the logistics (travel, etc.) of the collaboration.


The budget for an Energy Research Seed Fund research team (or working group) can include supplies, salary support for research assistants, students, and technicians, and other justifiable research expenses. Faculty salary, tuition remission, and indirect costs are not allowable expenses. Travel expenses are allowable only if essential to conducting the proposed research activities and cannot include travel to scientific conferences. All proposal budgets must be submitted using this template provided or they will not be considered.

Application Content (Stage-One Grants and Stage-Two Grants)

Cover Page. Must include the following information:

  • Proposal title
  • Name, title, departmental affiliation, address, e-mail address, and telephone number of all proposed investigators
  • Designation of a Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigators

Abstract (250 words maximum)

Research plan (3 page maximum – single spaced, 12 point font, 1” margins all the way around) Must include the following information:

  • Statement of research objectives and their significance
  • Work already completed related to the proposal, and any relevant preliminary results (Stage-Two Grant proposals should indicate how the project’s second year will build on results of research supported by the prior Stage-One Grant)
  • Description of the research team (working group) and research setting
  • Proposed methods and plans for data analysis
  • Potential for sustained collaboration beyond the project term (Stage-Two Grant proposals should discuss the likelihood of external funding)

Appendix materials (1 page maximum each– single spaced, 12 point font, 1” margins all the way around) Must include the following information:

  • Research schedule and milestones
  • Collaborative nature of the project
  • Relevance to mission of the Duke University Energy Initiative (
  • Budget and justification (1 page maximum)
  • Curriculum vitae OR NSF/NIH biosketch including current grant support limited to 4 pages for each investigator
Application Content (Proposal Development Grants)

A one-page proposal describing the project and indicating how the funds will be used to increase the likelihood of external funding.

Submission Format and Deadline

Please combine all required elements into a single PDF document and submit via email—with ERSF Submission in the subject line—by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 14, 2019 to: Will Niver, Duke University Energy Initiative via email at

Review Criteria and Selection Process

Proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc review committee consisting of faculty with a broad range of expertise in energy-related fields. The reviewing committee’s goal is to identify the proposals that best meet the objectives of the Energy Initiative’s Energy Research Seed Fund: interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that will address crucial questions related to energy. The review process will consider: (1) the significance and potential impact of the research program; (2) the degree of innovation; (3) the scope of the interdisciplinary collaboration and relevance for the goals of the proposed research; (4) feasibility of the research project: (5) likelihood of development into a sustained collaboration; and (6) (for Stage-Two and Proposal Development Grants) likelihood of obtaining external funding. Final selections will be made by the Energy Initiative Director in consultation with the faculty review committee and other stakeholders, with the goal of applying the fund (approximately $200,000 for this round of awards) toward a diverse group of projects with a strong likelihood of success.

Awards will be announced in April 2020.

Reporting Requirements

Recipients will be expected to report on the project’s status and any related outputs (journal articles, conference presentations, external grants, etc.) at the end of the performance period.


Please direct questions to Will Niver, Research Analyst, Duke University Energy Initiative via email at

See further information: