Calling All Innovators: Apply for Seed Grants from the Duke Incubation Fund

Incubation Fund.

Deadline: April 23, 2021

I. Purpose

The Duke Incubation Fund (the “Fund”) supports idea-stage projects at Duke University. The Fund makes a number of awards each year to teams and companies 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, 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 employed at  Duke in a faculty or staff capacity (including graduate students and postdoctoral researchers). Projects with a high likelihood of commercialization  and/or with existing Duke intellectual property or potential to generate new Duke intellectual property are highly encouraged to apply. Proposals submitted by undergraduates as the primary applicant will not be considered.

Awards will be contingent on the innovator or company representative entering into a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) with Duke.

II. Key Dates

  • Application Submission Deadline*: Friday, April 23, 2021, 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Final Selection and Notices of Award: mid- to late May, 2021
  • Funding Period: July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

*Award Cycles will typically occur twice per year (Fall & Spring).

III. Eligibility

  • Proposals may be submitted by Duke faculty (tenure and non-tenure track), graduate students, staff (including postdoctoral researchers), and medical residents and fellows with approval of the appropriate mentor or unit coordinator.
  • Proposals submitted by undergraduates as the primary applicant will not be considered, though undergraduates may be a part of a project team for a proposal submitted by an eligible primary applicant as outlined above.
  • Individuals may submit more than one proposal, but are only eligible to receive one award per cycle. Promising projects that are not selected will be encouraged to reapply.

IV. Funding

Each award will consist of up to $40,000 (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. For projects without a company, one team member must establish a dedicated, project-specific cost object (WBS Fund) within their department to accept award.  No funds can be distributed directly to individuals.

Funding will be in the form a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) with Duke (see FAQ for SAFE details). Proceeds from the sales of the equity obtained through these agreements will be used to finance future awards. Note: This award is internally funded and does not need to be routed through the Duke Office of Research Administration (ORA).

VI. Application Procedure

The Duke Incubation Fund Award uses the MyResearchProposal online application software to submit applications.

  • To apply visit http://bit.ly/myresearchproposal, click on “Create New User” (or log in if you already have an account). Proposals must be submitted under the Principal Investigator’s name.
  • A step-by-step user’s guide for applying via the MyResearchProposal software is available – Please review this document.
  • Enter Access Code I&E then select the “Duke Incubation Fund Spring 2021” funding opportunity and follow the instructions.
  • For any questions concerning MyResearchProposal passwords or system issues, please contact Anita Grissom or Kara McKelvey at myresearchproposal@duke.edu

Applicants will enter general project information via the web-based form:

  1. Project Title, Brief Description, and Amount Requested
  2. Primary Contact Name, Department/Company, phone, email
  3. General Project Information: Applicants will be asked to answer general questions regarding the project (e.g. type of business, relationship to Duke, stage of development, ongoing sources of funding).
  4. Intellectual Property (IP) Status (Character Limit: 500; list submitted Invention Disclosure Forms (IDF), pending patent applications, issued patents, copyright, trademarks, and intent to file patent applications or maintain trade secrecy; if no anticipated IP, indicate “none”)
  5. Compliance Plan as appropriate for adhering to IRB, IACUC, privacy, and confidentiality standards (Character Limit: 500)

Some proposal sections will be uploaded as individual PDF files. The application sections are:

  1. Intellectual Property: Summarize intellectual property, including any know-how, invention disclosure numbers, patent filings, copyrighted material, etc.
  2. Budget: Upload a one-year spending plan including a brief budget justification using the I&E Budget Form.
  3. Team Experience: Include a resume or NIH Biosketches for each key member of the research team (as a single PDF). Each individual resume may not exceed 5 pages.
  4. Project Description: The Project Description should include: Idea, Background, Justification, Problem-Being-Solved, Preliminary/Supporting Data, Methods, Quarterly Milestones to be achieved during the year, and a plan for follow-on funding (5-Page limit, including tables and figures; and shorter applications are welcome). References do not count toward the 5-page limit; single spacing, font no smaller than Arial 11 and margins greater than 0.5”. The follow-on funding plan may include  plans to apply for other sources of non-dilutive funding such as federal or foundation grants, internal funding, equity raises, licensing, selling product, or strategic partnerships.

VII. Budget Guidelines

Any requested funds should directly support the progress of the Incubation Fund project.

Grant funds may be budgeted for:

  • Salary support for the PI or collaborators; research support personnel
  • Research supplies and core lab costs, and
  • Travel and other purposes deemed necessary for the successful execution of the proposed project

Grant funds may not be budgeted for:

  • Company G&A, legal, or IP expenses
  • Capital equipment, overhead, or
  • Student tuition and fees

VIII. Terms of the Award

  1. Approvals Required Prior to Funding Start Date: Prior to receiving funds, research involving human subjects must have appropriate approvals from the Duke IRB. If the research includes animals, the appropriate IACUC animal research forms must also be approved before the project’s start date. Failure to submit documents in the requested timeframe may result in cancellation of funding.
  2. SAFE Agreement: Prior to receiving funds, applicants must complete a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) with Duke.
  3. Project Execution: Investigators agree to work in collaboration with Duke I&E and report the findings of their work at six months and twelve months. Duke I&E may terminate and reallocate residual funds for any team failing to submit required written reports in a timely manner. Proposed aims of funded projects may be changed, added or deleted during the funding period, pending Investigator and Duke I&E review and agreement. Any awardee who leaves his or her position should contact Duke I&E to discuss future plans for the project.
  4. Post-Award Reporting. When requested, all awardees will be expected to provide updates that they achieved as a result of the award. Awardees will contact Duke I&E when an equity financing triggers conversion of the SAFE to equity.

Contact Information

For additional information on this funding opportunity, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Andrew Lerner.

Learn more and apply.

Duke Units, Send Us Your Ideas for Hosting PhD Summer Interns

RFP.

Deadline: February 19, 2021

Overview

During Summer 2021, the Provost’s Office will support professional development opportunities for current Duke PhD students who do not have summer funding. Units that would like to host such an opportunity may submit a proposal by February 19, 2021. Proposals will be accepted in Formstack (https://dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/phd_internships_duke).

We are seeking PhD student internships opportunities that align with Together Duke and will provide PhD students with research experience connected to their intellectual trajectory. Examples from last year:

  • A Duke Forest student intern assessed emerging risks to the Forest.
  • Duke University Press hosted two student interns, who worked on an innovation team that explored digital strategies for authors to engage with readers during the pandemic.
  • The Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine had a student intern assist with development of curricular materials for K-12 schools (learn more and see other examples).
RFP released 2/9/2021
RFP deadline for submission 2/19/2021 at 5:00 p.m.
Anticipated unit/program notification 2/28/2021
Anticipated application/selection period 3/4 – 4/21/2021
Internship start/end 5/24 – 8/20/2021

Restrictions and Parameters

  • These opportunities will only be open to current PhD students without summer funding.
  • Interested students will apply for posted opportunities through a central Duke portal, though the selection process and decision will rest with internship hosts.
  • Internships should have an expectation of 19.9 work hours/week between May 24 – August 20, leaving time for students to engage with their own research.
  • The earliest date an internship may start is May 24, 2021; the latest an internship may end is August 20, 2021.
  • The Provost’s Office will provide the same funding as TGS Summer Research Fellowships – $6,500 plus summer health fee and fringe, paid across June – August payroll. The school of any selected student will be responsible for the provision of summer tuition scholarships.

Eligibility

  • Proposals may be submitted by the head of a unit (dean, director, chair, etc.).
  • Preference will be given to units that can provide a 50% cost share on the stipend and fringes.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Host units and supervisors are asked to plan and design a program of work in advance, with clear goals and deliverables, preferably detailed in the proposed job description. We encourage host units to plan on having regular interaction with interns and to include them in team meetings. The interns may wish to participate in an experiential learning reflection course (meeting once per month) offered through Duke Summer Session Terms I and II.

Scope and Duration

The proposed internship will take place between May 24 and August 20, 2021, and interns will receive a stipend of $6,500 as well as coverage of summer tuition and the summer health fee across June – August payroll cycles.

Proposal Requirements

The Provost’s Office uses Formstack to submit applications. To apply: https://dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/phd_internships_duke

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • The number of PhD students you anticipate hosting as interns;
  • The start and end dates for the internship;
  • The name and contact information for your department/program business manager;
  • The name and contact information for the internship supervisor;
  • A brief plan (maximum one page) articulating the work plan – this will be used for the website listing;
  • A confirmation of cost share, if applicable.

Contact

For questions related to the online application and/or other logistical questions, please contact Amy Feistel, amy.feistel@duke.edu.

For questions related to internship work plans or cost sharing, please contact Edward J. Balleisen, eballeis@duke.edu.

Kenan Institute for Ethics Seeks Faculty Research Projects with Community Partners

Call for faculty proposals.

Deadline: January 15, 2021

The Kenan Institute for Ethics strives to engage Durham with a reciprocity that respects the knowledge of both the university and the local community and aims to mobilize these ways of knowing to address real world problems. This kind of community-based research brings together diverse perspectives from residents, local leaders and the university and allows us to develop, share and apply knowledge to find innovative ways to tackle historically intractable problems. To further this work, the Kenan Institute for Ethics is seeking community-based research projects from Duke faculty.

Community-Based Research Program Guidelines

  • Available to faculty in partnership with a local community or neighborhood organizations in Durham. The representative from the community organization must be identified as a co-PI with a substantive role clearly described in the proposal.
  • Awards up to $20,000 for a one-year period with an option for renewal for a second year. Projects must begin before June 15, 2020. We expect to make 2 awards.
  • KIE is particularly interested in the projects that might address issues in education, policing, healthcare, or housing.

Proposal Instructions

  1. No more than 2-page proposals.
  2. Proposals should include:
    1. Project Description – A brief description of the area of research, rationale for approach and expected outcomes – Who will benefit from the research? How will they benefit?
    2. Collaboration – Provide a description of the project leadership and partnership (list of partners and roles, infrastructure for participation, history of the partnership), an outline of how partners will work together to complete the project, and potential plans for future collaboration.
    3. Budget
    4. Timeline
  3. Submit to kie@duke.edu by 5pm, January 15, 2021.

Contact

Please contact Ada Gregory with questions or to discuss further.

Franklin Humanities Institute Invites Proposals for Faculty Book Manuscript Workshops in Spring 2021

Book Manuscript Workshop.

Deadline: November 10, 2020

The Franklin Humanities Institute’s Faculty Book Manuscript Workshop Program provides support for the development and completion of scholarly monographs. It provides 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 Manuscript Workshop award includes funding as well as logistical support. (Note that it does not include fellowship or course-release funding.)

Eligibility

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 translations, collaborative projects, and innovative major publications in a variety of formats and platforms.

See the full RFP on the Franklin Humanities Institute’s website.

Duke I&E Solicits Proposals for 2021 Seed Grants from the Duke Incubation Fund

Incubation Fund.

Deadline: October 16, 2020

Purpose

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. Awards will be contingent on the innovator entering into Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) with Duke.

Key Dates

  • Application Submission Deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 16, 2020
  • Final Selection: November 20, 2020
  • Funding Period: January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021

Learn more and see the full RFP.

Bass Connections Invites Proposals for Interdisciplinary Project Teams in 2021-2022

Bass Connections teams.

Deadline: December 4, 2020

Bass Connections is now accepting proposals for 2021-2022 projects that engage faculty, undergraduates and graduate/professional students in the interdisciplinary exploration of complex societal challenges. Please see the project proposal guidelines.

The deadline to propose a project is December 4 at 5:00 p.m.

Projects may be proposed in relation to one or more of the five, broad interdisciplinary themes of Bass Connections, or to Bass Connections Open – a channel that invites proposals that align with the model of Bass Connections but otherwise fall outside the parameters of the existing themes. This year, we particularly welcome and encourage projects – proposed to any theme – focused on racial injustice and inequality, systemic racism and social justice. Themes include:

Bring Your Questions to Drop-in Office Hours

Interested faculty, particularly those who have never led a Bass Connections team, are encouraged to contact a Bass Connections theme leader or Laura Howes, Director of Bass Connections. This year, faculty can also discuss potential ideas or ask questions during our Zoom office hours on:

Special Opportunities for 2021-2022

When completing a proposal, faculty may choose to take advantage of the following opportunities. Please note that applying for these opportunities will not increase your project budget, but rather may increase the likelihood that your project will be selected by allowing us to leverage funds designated for a specific purpose. For more information on each opportunity, please see the full project proposal guidelines.

  • Joint proposal for a Bass Connections project and Summer 2021 Data+ project (You may propose a Data+ project linked to a year-long Bass Connections project through the Bass Connections RFP – you do not need to complete a separate application for Data+. However, to align with the Data+ timeline, you must submit your proposal by November 2. We also encourage faculty to link year-long Bass Connections projects to Story+. Faculty wishing to apply to Story+ must also complete the Story+ RFP, also due December 4.)
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Ethics
  • Arts
  • Humanities

Learn More

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.

Background

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 laura.howes@duke.edu 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 laura.howes@duke.edu 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 nicole.schrammsapyta@duke.edu, 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 nicole.schrammsapyta@duke.edu, 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