Explore Shared Interests Through Intellectual Community Planning Grants

Intellectual Community Planning Grants.

Deadline: November 15, 2021


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 2022 calendar year. Recipients can use funds to cover the cost of meeting venues, external speakers, event materials, books or other meeting costs, and/or exploratory research (as by a student research assistant) into potential collaborators at Duke, UNC, NC State, NCCU, RTI, etc. Expenses for meetings, travel and in-person events are contingent upon university guidelines.

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 scholars.duke.edu is a useful tool to find other faculty who share a particular intellectual interest. Other resources to help identify and engage collaborators and stakeholders are available via Duke’s myRESEARCHpath.
  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 meetings, larger quarterly meetings, workshops. Meetings should be designed to facilitate potential collaboration.
  3. 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:

  1. 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)
  2. A proposed budget
  3. 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 Mindy Miller, at mindy.miller@duke.edu)
  4. A listing of the organizing core faculty group with brief (maximum two-page) CVs for each.

To apply, visit: https://dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/icpg_fall2021


RFP released


RFP deadline for submission


Anticipated grant recipients notification


Funds made available (or sooner upon request)


Funds to be expended by



For any questions regarding your proposal, please contact:

Mindy Miller, manager, strategic projects: mindy.miller@duke.edu


Who can apply?

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

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

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 paused the program in 2021 due to the pandemic, but we plan to put out a call for proposals again in 2022.

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 meeting venues, external speakers, event materials, books, or other meeting costs, and/or exploratory research (as by an RA) into potential collaborators at Duke, UNC, NC State, NCCU, RTI, etc. Expenses for meetings, travel, and in-person events are contingent upon university guidelines.

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 or curricular framework, a Bass Connections project team proposal, a research project, a major collaborative research grant, etc. See reports from previous cycles for more examples.

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 provide support to groups of faculty working on more established projects that seek to provide tangible solutions to targeted problems in specified thematic areas.

Collaborative Project Expeditions: Create or Redesign an Undergraduate Course

Deadline: Rolling

Collaborative Project Expeditions provides support for doctoral students to work with a faculty sponsor to create or redesign an undergraduate course at Duke that integrates collaborative, project-based work as a central element of the course design. Participating students will receive a stipend of $1,500 and will be expected to spend approximately 75 hours over the course of the summer or a semester developing the collaborative project in consultation with their faculty sponsor. We expect to fund two to four doctoral students per year. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

What Are Collaborative Projects?

Collaborative projects are learning experiences that require students to work in teams on a research question using the academic knowledge and skills concurrently being developed in the course. Collaborative projects strengthen students’ ability to apply classroom learning to interdisciplinary or disciplinary challenges and work effectively on teams, and should culminate in the creation of new knowledge, tangible works and/or creative or artistic products.

Collaborative projects can take a variety of shapes and may be adjusted to fit different courses, disciplines, levels and goals. Examples of collaborative projects deployed in other courses include having teams of students:

  • Examine a collection of archival materials to develop an interactive library exhibit and research guides to “open” the archive to new scholarship
  • Develop, test and iterate an open-source application to address an identified problem
  • Work with nonprofit clients to design program evaluation plans that meet each client’s needs
  • Partner with an NGO to develop a white paper on a current or emerging policy issue

For an example of how faculty and doctoral students might leverage the Collaborative Project Expeditions program, read reflections from Professor of Sociology Jen’nan Read and Ph.D. student Colin Birkhead, who redesigned SOC 250: Immigration and Health to integrate client-based collaborative projects.

How Does the Expedition Work?

Participating doctoral students will be expected to work 75 hours over the course of the term to develop their collaborative project. Depending on the objectives of the faculty sponsor and participating student, this time may include:

  • Consultations between the student and faculty sponsor
  • Development or modification of a course syllabus and project modules
  • Design of course materials and resources for student teams
  • Development of assessment rubrics
  • Outreach to project partners and relationship cultivation

Specific tasks that doctoral students might think through as part of the expedition would include how to:

  • Plan and scope collaborative projects
  • Structure class time
  • Design project plans, milestones and deliverables
  • Identify and cultivate relationships with internal and external project partners (if applicable)
  • Create and manage student teams
  • Manage collaborative student projects in remote learning environments
  • Design and/or connect students to relevant project resources
  • Assess student work (including teamwork)

In cases where a doctoral student is helping a faculty member redesign a course that already includes a collaborative project component, a narrower focus on a particular planning area may be more appropriate. For example, a student could focus her work on identification and outreach to external partners and relationship building, or resource creation for project scaffolding, or another element of project design entirely. Expectations for how a student spends his/her time will be dependent on what is most needed.

Students will participate in a brief virtual boot camp at the beginning of the program (depending on the number of students selected) and will have the option to “meet” as a cohort to brainstorm ideas and share experiences and lessons learned. Students will also be expected to write a short reflection on their experience for publication or for use in a professional portfolio or relevant job market materials related to pedagogy, teaching, teamwork/collaboration and/or project management.

Benefits for Doctoral Students

Through this opportunity, doctoral students will have the chance to practice course design, collaboration, project scoping and management, team building and leadership.

Ideally, this experience will enable doctoral students to:

  • Work collaboratively with faculty (and possibly staff and external partners) on course design, project management and team building
  • Think critically about course pedagogy and when to integrate collaborative projects into courses
  • Develop concrete learning objectives and clear course syllabi
  • Plan and scope applied research projects, especially with short timelines
  • Facilitate teamwork (e.g., build effective teams, develop and scaffold key resources, troubleshoot interpersonal/team issues)
  • Broaden their intellectual networks and build strategic external partnerships
  • Teach and mentor undergrads

Application and Selection

To apply, please email Meghan O’Neil (mmo12@duke.edu) a proposal including a:

  1. Description of the course that you will be helping to design/update, including an overarching vision for the collaborative project, how the project will be integrated into the course and how this project will enhance student learning in the course
  2. Plan detailing when you plan to complete this program (e.g., Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Summer 2022) and the specific tasks that you will undertake to develop this idea over 75 hours
  3. Statement of support from the faculty sponsor that includes a clear articulation of the faculty member’s commitment to the course design plan and the objectives of the proposed expedition
  4. Brief description of your other sources of funding during the period in which you plan to complete this program. Please include opportunities that are confirmed or in process, as well as those for which you plan to apply. (Please confirm that any awarded fellowships during the same period allow supplemental work and compensation.)

Applications will be reviewed by Bass Connections. The strongest applications will be those which include: a strong commitment from the faculty sponsor, clear rationale for how a collaborative project is integral to the course’s learning objectives, well-articulated expectations for what the student will achieve in their 75 hours of work, and evidence of a strong working plan between the student and their faculty sponsor.

Eligibility and Funding Restrictions

Participating students are responsible for adhering to financial policies and restrictions (including restrictions on hours of work per week) set by grantors of any other fellowships or positions held during the funding period. Please note that some fellowships do not allow supplemental funding. Please see the Graduate School Supplementation Policy for more information. We also advise that students consult with their advisor and Director of Graduate Studies about how this opportunity would fit in their academic and funding plans for the proposed period of work.

Humanities Projects Invited for Summer 2022 Story+ Program


Deadline: November 1, 2021

Faculty are encouraged to link a Story+ project proposal to a 2022-2023 Bass Connections project team. Those wishing to do so must submit a joint proposal through the Bass Connections RFP process.

About Story+

Story+ is a six-week summer program that immerses interdisciplinary teams of students, faculty and staff in humanities research and public storytelling. Story+ promotes inquiry-based learning and vertically integrated collaboration through projects that may be driven by archival research, oral history, textual analysis, visual analysis, cultural criticism or other humanistic research methods.

Small teams of undergraduates, supervised by graduate student mentors, collaborate on focused projects that contribute to the broader research, teaching, scholarly communications, and/or public engagement agendas of Duke faculty, Duke librarians, nonprofit organizations and other University or non-University project sponsors. Story+ final projects have taken the form of writing, exhibits, websites, annotated archives, short films/videos, podcasts, social media content and other genres.

A typical Story+ team consists of a project sponsor, a graduate student mentor and three undergraduate researchers. Project sponsors benefit from the opportunity to engage a team of students, who are provided with appropriate guidance and mentoring through Story+, in producing a tangible product that may further their work. Story+ undergraduate students learn how to conduct rigorous interpretive research in a team setting, connect academic knowledge to broader social issues and communicate their research stories with diverse audiences – within and outside the University – in a complex media environment. Graduate mentors get the distinctive pedagogical and professional opportunity to manage a complex collaborative project and facilitate the network of relationships that such projects entail.

Call for Proposals Story+ 2022

The Franklin Humanities Institute invites proposals from Duke faculty, archivists, artists and other campus and community members for the Summer 2022 edition of Story+. We anticipate we’ll gather again full-time, fully in-person for Story+ Summer 2022. In order to provide options for our diverse student population, though, we are interested in accommodating proposals for projects that are full-time and fully remote. Please indicate your preferred format in your proposals.

We seek projects of any topic that are anchored in humanities research methods and questions, with well-defined project goals that can be feasibly completed in six weeks. Outcomes of past Story+ teams have ranged from finished products (e.g., a completed curatorial plan a physical exhibit or a published research report), prototypes or pilot projects (e.g., a prototype online teaching module or a proof-of-concept audio podcast), as well as preliminary, exploratory research that contributes to a larger ongoing project (e.g., oral histories, translation, transcription or archival discovery).

We encourage proposals that build upon or towards course offerings, Humanities Labs, or Bass Connections teams during the regular school year. As possible points of reference, please see our Story+ website for descriptions and outcomes from previous teams. P.I.s or projects previously supported by Story+ are eligible to apply, but note that priority may be given, in these cases, to projects that demonstrate a significantly new direction or outcome. Individuals are strongly encouraged to consult with Amanda Starling Gould about interest and available opportunities.

Story+ is built upon the foundational values of care, inclusion, and community. Our primary objectives are to enable undergraduate and graduate students to participate in rigorous, hands-on humanities research, to facilitate collaborative and creative research transmission and to promote teamwork and interdisciplinary as humanities modes of work.

Our values also animate how we reach out for partnerships across Duke and beyond Duke, in the projects we solicit and select, in the ways we recruit and support students, and in our common programming throughout the summer. We understand that our work is done with and within a privileged institution of higher education that has a historically complicated relationship with research subjects, objectification and positivism. To generate humanistic research means paying attention to how structures and systems influence the collection of evidence, methods of analysis and communication of results and to our particular identities and contexts as researchers.

This embrace of situated knowledge does not require that Story+ projects adhere to certain topics, modes of work; or presentation practices; it does however, require a self-awareness about the choices any particular project makes from subject matter, to methodology, to communication with the public, to divisions of labor and supervisory authority. As such, we ask all potential and participating partners to consider how, following our Story+ Code of Conduct, they and their projects will contribute to a research community where inclusion, consensus and reciprocity are at the heart of practice and communication.

Project sponsors should plan to be accessible to their teams on at least a weekly basis and are expected to be regularly available to collaborate with their full team. The most successful and highly ranked of our projects are those with dedicated sponsors and clearly articulated goals. All project leaders will be asked to oblige the Story+ Policies and Expectations for Story+ Team Leaders and the Story+ Code of Conduct included therein.

Please submit proposals via Qualtrics by November 1 at 5:00 p.m.

The application form will ask for the following components:

  • Brief description of the overall project. This year, we are inviting proposals for full-time, fully in-person and fully online projects. Please indicate your preferred format in your proposals.
  • Description of the specific project goal(s) and output(s) you hope to accomplish through Story+. Please include here a basic timeline (approximately May 11 to June 24), project milestones, expected outcome(s) and how/why this work is important to your research/your unit/your organization.
  • Description of how your project aligns with the mission and goals of Story+ to offer a rich humanities research and public storytelling experience for graduates and undergraduates
  • Workplan: this is optional but ideal. This might include a sketch of methods, methodologies, weekly schedule, opportunities for students, campus/community partners who might collaborate, post-Story+ afterlives of the research.
  • List of essential skills undergraduates will need to contribute to the project
  • Do you have a graduate student in mind for the role of your graduate mentor? If you would like us to help match you with a mentor, please list essential skills you would like this person to have.
  • Any funding from external sources or other Duke units that can support the work of the team

For queries about the program and/or to discuss specific project ideas, please email Amanda Starling Gould.

Story+ is co-directed by Amanda Starling Gould and Jules Odendahl-James. Story+ is funded by Together Duke and administered by the Franklin Humanities Institute in conjunction with Bass Connections, with additional support from the Duke Libraries.

Download a PDF of this call for proposals.

Learn More

Faculty, Send Us Your Ideas for Summer 2022 Data+ Projects


Deadline: November 1, 2021

Data+ is a ten-week summer research experience for undergraduates interested in exploring data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges.

Students join small teams and work alongside other teams in a communal environment learning how to marshal, analyze and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the field of data science. There are typically around 25-30 Data+ teams. We hope to be in-person this summer. If so, all teams will have dedicated workspace in Gross Hall, provided by the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD), the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) and the Energy Initiative. The last two summers we have successfully run Data+ as a remote/hybrid experience, and we are prepared to do so if this is required.

Data+ is offered through the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) and is part of the Bass Connections Information, Society & Culture theme. In 2022, the program will run from May 31-August 5. During this time, students are required to contribute to the team full-time and may not take classes or have other employment.

Request for Proposals

Rhodes iiD invites proposals for faculty-sponsored Data+ projects in Summer 2021. The deadline for submitting an application is November 1 by 5:00 p.m.

We are especially interested in proposals that involve a partner from outside the academy or a faculty member from a different discipline. We also encourage proposals that involve previously untested ideas or unanalyzed datasets, and we hope that the Data+ team can make a contribution with important proof-of-principle work that may lead to more substantial faculty work and/or connections in the future. We also welcome proposals that will lead to the undergraduates creating tools that might be used in the classroom or facilitate community engagement with data and data-driven questions. Finally, we are including a special segment within Data+ 2022 called Climate+ for projects connecting data science to issues around climate change.

Faculty may propose a Data+ project linked to a year-long Bass Connections project through the Bass Connections proposal process. Your proposal should articulate how you will connect the summer research experience with the year-long project. Please note that funding decisions will be made by each program individually, so it is possible that your proposal may be accepted for only Data+ or only Bass Connections. Please contact Laura Howes if you want to discuss how other faculty have linked these experiences in the past. Specific questions about Data+ should be directed to Paul Bendich or Gregory Herschlag.

Data+ Application Format

To apply, please prepare a document (three pages maximum) that responds to the following prompts, ideally in this order:

Name of project: Please use a short name that succinctly describes the nature of the project and is not overly technical. If your project is selected for Data+, this title will be used for the project web page and project listings, and we may ask you to shorten it later for that purpose.

Summary: Please write a project summary, including the basic ideas behind the proposal.

Faculty leads: Data+ is especially interested in projects that connect faculty from different disciplines, as well as projects that enable faculty to branch out in new directions. Please describe the intended faculty leads and the expected benefits from their participation.

Mentoring: Day-to-day faculty involvement in Data+ is not expected. Instead, each Data+ project has a mentor, usually a graduate student or postdoc, who is on hand to give the student team more focused guidance. The time commitment tends to be five to seven hours per week, and funding is generally available to cover the mentor’s time.

If you have a mentor in mind, please indicate who this is and why they are well suited. If you do not have a mentor in mind, please describe the skills you would like this person to have (we are generally able to find faculty-mentor matches).

Goals: Describe the intended goals and products of the project, in the following manner:

  • Describe entirely reachable goals that you fully expect the students to achieve: these could be answers to a question, explorations of a hypothesis or other things of that nature.
  • Describe a tangible product the students will create in the course of their research, which ideally will be of use both to future researchers at the university and to the students as something they can show off to future employers or graduate schools. This could be, for example, a good piece of well-commented software, a visualization device or a detailed curation of previously raw data.
  • Describe a more outrageous goal that you would be quite (pleasantly!) surprised to see the students achieve, along with a plan for them to build a potential roadmap toward that goal. For example, this goal might only be reachable if you had data that you currently do not have, and the students might build a speculative roadmap toward acquiring that data.

Data: Most Data+ projects involve analysis of datasets. Some of these are publicly available, and some are not. As it is essential that students be able to analyze the needed data for the project, we are very interested in plans to ensure that this will happen. Please address this in the following manner:

  • For each dataset that will be analyzed by the student team, please give a high-level description of the dataset (what’s in it, how was it collected and for which purpose, how large is it, etc.).
  • For each dataset, indicate whether you anticipate IRB approval will be needed for student access, and if not, why not. If IRB approval will be needed, indicate whether a protocol already exists and describe your plan for incorporating the student involvement. If it does not already exist, please describe your plan (including a timeline) for obtaining one.
  • For each dataset, indicate whether it is owned and/or is being provided by an outside party. If so, please describe the intended path toward ensuring that students will be granted the ability to access the dataset (we are often able to assist in crafting Data Use Agreements with outside parties, for example).

Outside partners: Some of the best Data+ projects have had a partner from outside the university. This might be someone who is invested in the data or the questions, and to whom the students will in essence deliver analysis and insight. Ideally, this partner will be able to come to Gross Hall two or three times during the summer to hear updates from the students and provide feedback.

For each such partner, please describe their expected interest in the project, how much they would interact with the team, whether or not they’d be able to contribute funds towards student stipends, and also identify a point of contact for this partner.

Funding: Please indicate if you or some other entity, including an outside partner, would be able to contribute funds towards the student stipends on your team.

Special Call for Climate+ Projects

This year, we are seeking to host four to five Data+ projects that are thematically focused on climate change. These projects will form “Climate+”. Climate+ is aligned with Duke University’s commitment to advancing interdisciplinary understanding of the causes and societal impacts of climate change as well as potential solutions for long-term sustainability including climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Climate+ takes a wide-angle view of relevant topics that extends well-beyond climate science stretching across disciplinary boundaries including (but not limited to) such areas as:

  • Climate and inequality (jobs, justice and economy)
  • Climate and health (lungs, heat and pollution)
  • Climate and oceans (fisheries, hurricanes and coasts)
  • Climate and biodiversity (forests, species and ecosystems)
  • Climate and energy (systems, resources and policy)

All projects must meet all Data+ requirements to be considered.

Project fit: Not sure if your project fits the Climate+ theme? If your project is thematically close, but you are not quite sure if it’s an exact fit, don’t hesitate to submit it as a potential Climate+ project. Projects that are submitted as prospective Climate+ projects but are not deemed to be thematically aligned during the review process will receive consideration as a prospective Data+ project.

Benefits to proposers: Compelling projects focused in this thematic area will receive preferential consideration.

Benefits to students: Climate+ students will be part of a subcohort of thematically related projects that will engage regularly, in addition to the wider Data+ content, with climate, environment, and energy researchers and practitioners.

How to be considered for Climate+: Projects proposing in this thematic area should note this on the top of their proposal. Data+ projects that fit topically as Climate+ may be considered for either program.

Deadline and Contact

The deadline for submitting this application is November 1 by 5:00 p.m. Please email your completed application to Ariel Dawn. If you would like help in developing your proposal, please contact Paul Bendich or Gregory Herschlag.

Please note that you may propose a Data+ summer project linked to a year-long Bass Connections project through the Bass Connections RFP (due November 1 by 5:00 p.m.) If you are proposing joint Data+ and Bass Connections projects, you only need to complete the Bass Connections RFP; you do not need to complete a separate application for Data+.

Learn More

Propose a 2022-2023 Bass Connections Project by November 1

Request for proposals, Bass Connections projects.

Deadline: November 1, 2021

Bass Connections is now accepting proposals for 2022-2023 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 November 1 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 have a new theme, Race & Society, that will support interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students in their exploration of race-related issues. In 2022-2023, we also particularly encourage projects across all themes that display the range of ways in which different forms of art intersect with how we understand, convey and engage with societal challenges.

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. Faculty can also discuss potential ideas or ask questions during our drop-in office hours (https://duke.zoom.us/j/96763627470):

  • Friday, September 10, 10:00-11:00
  • Friday, September 24, 10:00-11:00
  • Friday, October 8, 9:00-10:00
  • Friday, October 22, 11:00-12:00

Special Opportunities for 2022-2023

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.

  • Joint proposals for a Bass Connections project and a Summer 2022 Data+ and/or Story+ project (You may propose a Data+ or Story+ summer 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+/Story+. Please contact Paul Bendich or Gregory Herschlag with questions about Data+ and Amanda Starling Gould with questions about Story+.)
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Ethics
  • Arts
  • Humanities & Digital Humanities

Learn More

Send TriCEM Your Evolutionary Medicine Research Proposal

Deadline: October 15, 2021

TriCEM is currently inviting proposals to support research on evolutionary perspectives on human, animal and plant health from graduate students at Duke and NC State.

The Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine (TriCEM) is a nonprofit institute exploring the intersection of evolutionary science and medicine. The center is jointly operated by Duke University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Graduate Student Awards are one-year awards for graduate students to pursue research in evolutionary medicine relevant to their graduate research. To be eligible, a student must be actively enrolled at Duke or NC State and have completed one semester of their graduate program by the time the funding commences. We expect the graduate student to lead and author aspects of the proposed research under the mentorship of their advisor. Awards will include additional funds to support an undergraduate research assistant on the project. To use these additional funds, we expect that the graduate student will participate in training on effective mentoring and play an active role in mentoring the undergraduate.

Proposed activities should focus on evolutionary medicine, broadly interpreted to involve research that uses evolutionary and ecological perspectives to understand health and disease in humans, animals, and plants. Previously funded graduate projects are provided at tricem.org/grad-students/, with topics that include: the ecology and evolution of infectious disease; psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease; evolution of antimicrobial resistance; evolutionary perspectives in global health; evolution of aging; autoimmune disease and allergy; evolution and cancer; evolutionary perspectives on emerging plant diseases and food security; One Health and comparative medicine; and the genetic basis of disease.

Funds should be used for direct research expenses; tuition, fees, and stipends are not allowable expenses. Award amounts will vary depending on funding availability, up to $7,500. Additional funding for an undergraduate student will be available to successful awardees. These funds do not need to be accounted for in the Graduate Student Award budget.

Proposals are due on Friday, October 15, 2021 and should follow the below guidelines. New for this year, applicants can also opt to apply for the Steve Meshnick Travel Award; applications for this award are also due by October 15 and full guidelines can be found here.

Before You Apply

Please contact Dr. Meredith Spence Beaulieu if you have any questions about eligibility, proposal requirements, or other questions. Proposals will be evaluated in terms of both the scientific value of the project and the qualifications of the applicant. Note that TriCEM funds do not cover indirect costs or Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals are short, not to exceed 3 single-spaced (12-pt type) pages, and include a brief budget justification and references. References can be in an abbreviated format (e.g., Science or Nature style). In addition to the 3 page proposal, please include the applicant’s current CV. The proposal and CV should be uploaded in a single PDF. Proposals exceeding 3 pages (not including CV) will be returned without review.

All proposals must also include a single letter of support from the applicant’s faculty advisor/PI. The letter of support will be submitted separately by the faculty advisor, but must also be received by the proposal deadline of October 15, 2021. Faculty letters of support should be emailed to Meredith Spence Beaulieu at meredith.spence.beaulieu@duke.edu in PDF format by the applicant’s advisor/PI.

Proposals should be organized as follows, all within the 3 page limit:

  1. Program Track (please see our key research areas)
  2. Title (80 characters max)
  3. Short Title (25 characters max)
  4. Name and contact information for applicant and their Advisor/PI
  5. Project Summary (250 words max)
  6. Public Summary (250 words max) – This should be written for the public and will be visible on the TriCEM website if funded.
  7. Introduction and Goals – A statement of the outstanding question in evolutionary science being addressed and a concise review of the concept and the literature to place the project in context.
  8. Proposed Activities – This should include a clear statement of specific outline of hypotheses, predictions, and methods (including planned statistical analyses), as well as any data (include citations or urls) and analytical tools that will be required for the project.
  9. Rationale for TriCEM support – Why can this activity be most effectively conducted through TriCEM? Please explicitly address the proposal’s relevance to evolutionary medicine.
  10. Proposed Timetable – Include start date (month and year) and periods for data collection, analysis, and report writing. For successful fall 2021 applicants, the funding period is expected to be January 1, 2022 through January 1, 2023.
  11. Outcomes – Proposals should include a clear statement about the expected outcomes, including anticipated research products.
  12. Budget justification – Proposals must include a brief budget justification with the total amount requested and a simplified breakdown of expenses.
  13. References – Literature cited in the text of the proposal should be included at the end, using the abbreviated reference style of a journal such as Science or Nature. References count toward the page limit, and should be included within the 3 allowable pages.

Proposal Submission

Proposals will be accepted in digital format only as a single PDF file, including CV, with the exception of letters of support submitted as described above. Graphics should be embedded directly into the proposal document. Proposals should be submitted via this form: https://redcap.duke.edu/redcap/surveys/?s=N4DNTJRR89. For submission, please ensure that your document is named in the format “LastName_FirstName.pdf”.

Pilot Your Research Project on Data Science in Global Health

Deadline: November 1, 2021

The Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) invites interdisciplinary teams led by Duke faculty to submit research proposals in the area of data science and global health. Research and collaboration around data, machine learning and innovation are important to DGHI, the 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.

Eligible Applicants

Proposal teams require a Duke faculty PI and/or co-PI. Proposals that include collaborators throughout Duke and/or from other institutions are encouraged.


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.


Kelly Deal

Learn more and apply: see the full request for proposals.

Students Aim to Fill a Gap With Medical Ethics Journal

Journal cover; Sibani Ram.
Left: Cover of a recent edition of the Duke Medical Ethics Journal; right: Sibani Ram

Is Duke’s prehealth curriculum missing an important ethics component? A team of undergraduates founded the Duke Medical Ethics Journal (DMEJ) in 2019 to spark conversation and provide a forum for exploring the subject. The latest issue focuses on health and identity.  

Sibani Ram ’23 is co-president of the journal. “DMEJ has been the most rewarding part of my college experience,” she told the Kenan Institute for Ethics, where she is a member of the Ethics Living-Learning Community. “I am so deeply convinced that medical ethics has a transformative power – the power to transform ourselves and the structures through which we experience healthcare.”  

Katherine Zheng ’23 spoke with Ram to learn more.

Katherine Zheng.
Katherine Zheng

Zheng: Why is medical ethics an important area of focus for you?  

Ram: I think it’s essential because patients place so much trust in their healthcare providers. Medical ethics can help medical professionals better see patients as not just patients, but as people too. This is also what I deduced from the topics that people wrote about for the journal – from articles about women’s chronic illness to the LGBTQ+ community to children with disabilities, it’s crucial for healthcare providers to recognize that patients are people.  

Can you elaborate on what you think is missing in the premed curriculum?  

Many medical schools require a test called CASPer, which involves medical ethics decision-making. But to satisfy all the premed requirements at Duke, no medical ethics courses are required. The DMEJ is trying to inspire aspiring medical students to learn about ethics through a platform outside the classroom and perhaps even inspire them to take an ethics class outside of the premed curriculum before graduation, even if it isn’t mandated. 

Can you tell me about a story you contributed to the journal? 

I wrote an article called ‘Empathy for the Elderly,’ and it’s about how younger generations can write letters to the elderly in nursing homes to help them get through the isolation crisis that COVID-19 put them through. My sister started an initiative called ‘Lives Through Letters,’ where she brought together youth to write letters and bring them to different nursing homes. Because of this, I thought that this was a way to show empathy, and it was a concept that tied into medical ethics. 

Read the latest issue of the DMEJ and let the team know if you’re interested in getting involved.

Katherine Zheng is a rising junior majoring in Public Policy and Economics. She works as a student assistant in the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies. Sibani Ram is a rising junior majoring in Evolutionary Anthropology with minors in English and Chemistry.