Duke Microbiome Center Development Grants

Duke Microbiome Center Development Grants

Request for Applications 2024
Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. ET, 6 May 2024

Microbial communities (microbiomes) are known to contribute significantly to human health and disease, regulate global biogeochemistry, and harbor much of our planet’s genetic diversity.  The Duke Microbiome Center (DMC) supports microbiome science at Duke University through pilot project funding.  The DMC is pleased to announce this new request for proposals for DMC Development Grants.  The objective of the DMC Development Grant program is to support interdisciplinary and collaborative research projects in the microbiome sciences at Duke University.  Priority will be given to applications with one or more of the following attributes:

(1) applications for which external grant support is currently difficult or impossible to obtain;

(2) applications submitted by teams of investigators representing multiple scientific disciplines and academic units (i.e., schools, departments, and divisions);

(3) applications submitted by teams of investigators that include junior members of the faculty who, by reason of their being earlier in their careers, find it difficult to obtain research support;

(4) applications that have a high likelihood to lead to new extramural funding; and

(5) applications that utilize Duke shared resource facilities (for example, the Microbiome Core Facility and Gnotobiotic Core).


To be eligible for consideration, the PI of the proposal must be a faculty member at Duke University currently affiliated with the DMC (see DMC faculty list here). Applications must include as co- investigators at least one additional faculty member at Duke, though they need not be currently affiliated with the DMC. If you are a Duke faculty member that would like to become affiliated with the DMC, please contact Cindy Wicker <cynthia.wicker@duke.edu>.

Budget and Duration:

These DMC Development Grants will have a one-year term, from 1 July 2024 – 30 June 2025. Each proposal may request a 1-year budget of up to $50,000, inclusive of all costs. Budgets are exempt from G&A, with the exception of any subcontracts which would require normal F&A costs. The DMC expects to fund up to three proposals this cycle.

Though the award term is limited to 1 year, applications may propose a 2-year research plan and then submit a competing renewal proposal for the 2025-2026 cycle that would be reviewed alongside new proposals in that cycle. Applicants submitting a two-year proposal should include very specific benchmarks for the first year, and any competing renewal application would need to detail progress on those benchmarks. For two-year proposals submitted in this 2024-2025 cycle, peer review will focus on the proposed research plan and budget for the first year.

Application Instructions:

Proposal is submitted via Duke’s MyResearchProposal online submission system.

To apply using MyResearchProposal:

  • Click here to access MyResearchProposal and login or choose “Create New User” to apply. Proposals must be submitted under the Duke 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 ‘DMC’ then select the “Duke Microbiome Center Development Grants 2024” funding opportunity and follow the instructions.

For questions concerning MyResearchProposal passwords or system issues, please contact myresearchproposal@duke.edu or call 919-668-4774.

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

  • Project Title, Abstract describing the project (1500 characters max)
  • Investigator Information: Name, rank, and department.
  • Coinvestigator Information: Name, rank, and department.
  • General Project Information: Applicants will be asked to answer general questions regarding the project (e.g. clinical need, IRB, IACUC, etc.).
  • RFA: Select “DMC Development Grant RFA”.

Proposal sections (except the Abstract) will be uploaded as individual PDF files. The application sections are:

  1. Project Summary: Project Summary format uses the current NIH R03/R21 format and should be uploaded as a single PDF including (i) Specific Aims – 1 page, (ii) Research Strategy – 6 pages inclusive of all figures and tables, and (iii) Bibliography – not included in the 6 page limit. Include where applicable clear evidence of how the proposal meets the review criteria. The Project Summary should include sections to address Significance, Innovation and Approach. In the Significance section, applicants should address “….the strengths and weaknesses in the rigor of the prior research (both published and unpublished) that serves as the key support for the proposed project.” In the Approach section, applicants should “describe plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project.’  https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-228.html
  1. Budget with Budget Justification: (using PHS 398 Form Pages 4 and 5 with no page limit).  The Budget Justification should include sufficient detail for reviewers to assess whether appropriate resources have been requested. Costs for salaries, supplies, animals, and Duke shared resources are allowed.
  2. Human and/or Animal Subjects Description: Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) approval is encouraged but not required prior to submission. Briefly describe any human and/or animal subject issues.
    If human subjects are involved, provide a description of their involvement and characteristics, specific risks to subjects who participate, and protection against those risks. Describe the sources of materials that will be obtained from human subjects as part of their study participation. Provide assurance that the project will be reviewed and approved by Duke’s IRB and comply with HIPAA.
    If vertebrate animals are to be used, provide a description of the proposed use of the animals in the work outlined and procedures for ensuring that discomfort, distress, pain and injury will be limited. The Vertebrate Animals document must include the following sections, as described in NIH notice NOT-OD-16-006: (1) description of procedures, (2) justification, (3) minimization of pain and distress, (4) euthanasia.
  3. NIH Biosketches for participating faculty. Please use the “NIH Biosketch Form” using this format. Attach all Biosketches as a single PDF. Each Biosketch must include a listing of all active grants, and any potential overlap between active grants and the proposed research must be described.
  4. Progress Report Towards Benchmarks: Only for competing renewal applications for previously awarded DMC Development Grants. Progress report towards benchmarks outlined in the original proposal (1 page or less, 11 point single-space Arial font, 0.5 inch margins).

Selection Process for Awards:

Proposals will be peer-reviewed, and awards announced in June 2024.  Applicants will be notified of funding decisions, and the 1-year award term will start July 1st 2024. For the Awardees, a Discretionary code will need to be included or provide your Administrative Manager contact information. Feedback from the evaluation process will be of limited scope. Awardees will be required to submit a year-end progress report and will be expected to present their accomplishments and findings at DMC-sponsored event in 2025.