Duke Kunshan University Offers Funding for Education & Research Programs in China


Deadline: November 17, 2016


Pilot funding is available from Duke’s Office of Duke Kunshan University Programs to help faculty develop innovative education and research programs in China.


Proposed projects may include other Chinese higher education institutions, but ideally will have a strong connection with Duke Kunshan University. This academic year we anticipate two requests for proposals (RFPs), one in the fall and one in the spring. This RFP is open for proposals in any target area, but particularly encourages proposals that focus on the following topics:

  • China studies, broadly defined (history, culture, arts, economic developments, China foreign relations, political science, sociology, etc.)
  • Humanities and the Arts
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies (economics, science, engineering, management and policy)
  • Public Policy

Awards will be made up to a maximum of $20,000, though most awards will be smaller; co-funding from other sources is welcome and encouraged.

Priority will be given to proposals for innovative, long-term activities at Duke Kunshan University, including programming for the Global Learning Semester and graduate and/or professional programs. Examples of education programs include:

  • The development of new courses
Service/immersive learning experiences
  • Certificate programs
  • Intensive workshops

Research program proposals might request funds to stimulate research collaborations, support promising China- based research endeavors, or promote professional interactions. Examples of research programs include:

  • Conferences
  • Workshops
  • Professional Training Sessions


  • All regular-rank faculty, including those in professional schools, may submit a proposal.
  • Groups of faculty are encouraged to apply.
  • Collaborators are not required to be regular rank faculty.

Preference will be given to applicant groups that represent different disciplines, departments, divisions, schools, institutes, etc. No prior experience or existing collaborations in China are necessary to apply.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should include the following:

  •  Proposal Cover Sheet
    • List the individual who will serve as the contact person for the award (PI), the individual’s department, and contact information.
    • List the title of proposed project, the total amount of funding requested and the submission date.
    •  List the sponsoring department business manager. If possible, please also include the fund code 
where expenses will be incurred.
  • A brief narrative (no more than 3 pages)
    • Define the proposed education or research program.
    • Describe the program timeline, including prospective sustained activities.
    • Describe its potential impact.
    • List the application faculty member(s) qualifications.
    • Provide a plan for evaluating the program’s success.
    • Include a draft syllabus, outline or agenda, if applicable.
    • Include a detailed budget outlining the usage of the funds requested.
    • List existing funding sources and funding already applied for.
    • Provide anticipated sources of funding for the program.
  • Curriculum Vitae
    • Include a 2-page CV for all key personnel.

Submit your proposals as a single PDF, with cover sheet on top, to Irina Adams at the Office of Duke Kunshan University Programs (irina.adams@duke.edu) by November 17, 2016.

Review Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by the China Faculty Council (CFC). For proposals relevant to DKU, the chair of the CFC will also consult with the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the appropriate Associate Dean at Duke Kunshan University to ensure that the project is both feasible and appropriate for Duke Kunshan. Preference will be given to applications that:

  • Propose multidisciplinary programs
  • Demonstrate potential for long-term impact at Duke Kunshan or that promote collaborations 
between faculty at Duke Kunshan and Duke.
  • Propose programs or activities that directly engage students.

Decisions will be announced in December 2016, to allow time for activities and programs to begin as early as Spring 2017. Successful proposals may undergo additional budget revisions in consultation with the applicants following review by the China Faculty Council, in order to ensure the most consistent and impactful use of funds.

Duke Undergraduate Finds Her Calling through Interdisciplinary Programs


Throughout high school in Clermont, Florida, Michelle Khalid had two clear goals: get into Duke, and become a doctor.

Thrilled to be accepted to her dream school, she started on her path. But she was drawn to an interdisciplinary program that changed everything.

“I was so set on being premed and my advisor said, ‘You’re going to be behind in your premed courses if you do DukeImmerse,’” Khalid recalls, “but I did it.”

She took part in DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted, led by Suzanne Shanahan. “It made me realize migration was an issue I was very interested in and I wanted to study it more in depth.”

Khalid’s next step was Duke in Oxford, where she studied the political economy of immigration. Returning to campus, she joined a Bass Connections project team on Displacement, Resettlement and Global Mental Health, led by Shanahan with Eve Puffer and Abdul Sattar Jawad.

Working on an interdisciplinary research team was deeply rewarding, Khalid says. With team members Leena El-Sadek and Olivia Johnson, she presented a paper at a conference in Oxford. “We were the only undergraduates there. I think Bass Connections really gave us the tools to be able to do that, and the mentorship is great. I learned so much, like how to write an academic paper for publishing. It really made me grow both intellectually and as a person.”

Now a junior majoring in International Comparative Studies and Political Science, Khalid just returned from a summer abroad assisting refugees and asylum seekers through DukeEngage Serbia.

And in Duke’s tradition of putting knowledge in the service of society, Khalid is helping refugees here in Durham.

“Durham actually has a very large population of refugees from Iraq,” she says. Organized by Duke students, SuWA is a community effort sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics. “What we’re focused on is providing interaction between Duke students and refugee women, so as to form a relationship but also to help them with the things they need to adjust to life in the U.S.,” Khalid explains. “We do it for two hours every Tuesday. I love getting to know them. It doesn’t feel like work; I’m actively accomplishing something with someone I like.”

Khalid remembers one woman who spoke about seeing her husband and child killed in front of her. “Most times we can’t even imagine what they’ve been through.” She pauses. “I don’t think most people will ever understand the human nature of what migration really is.”

Currently she’s partnering with other students on a nonprofit that will help the SuWA women find jobs and start their own businesses. “It’s very much a cooperative type of thing,” she says. “We’re trying to get it off the ground.”

Michelle Khalid’s new pathway began with one interdisciplinary program at Duke that led to others. “It was the best experience,” she says. “It taught me so much about who I am, and I figured out what I want to study—it’s truly one of those college moments when you find something you’re so passionate about. It’s just amazing.”