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2017 Chancellor's Discovery Program Research Fund

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
A. Eugene Washington

The Chancellor’s Discovery Program is funded by Chancellor A. Eugene Washington and administered by the School of Medicine. This unique program is intended to fuel new opportunities for innovative research projects at Duke Health that are focused on new ideas and discovery. The Discovery Program will fund up to five one-year awards of $75,000 in 2017 to support exciting new research projects led by regular-rank faculty members with primary appointments in basic and clinical departments of the Duke Schools of Medicine and Nursing. Every applicant is required to provide clear documentation that the project represents a new, unfunded line of investigation. The Program permits competition between new and renewal applications (see below for instructions).

Terms of the awards

Each award will consist of $75,000 for one year, with an expected start date of April 15, 2017.  A one-page summary of the outcome of the project is required at the close of the funding year.  Previous recipients may apply for renewal for an additional year of funding.  When requested, all awardees will be expected to provide updates of publications and long-term grant support that originated from the award.   


Proposals will be judged by the following criteria:

  • Innovation and creativity
  • Strong scientific merit and feasibility. 
  • Lack of overlap with existing funding – applications will be triaged if it is not clear that they represent a novel research avenue for the faculty member(s). This RFP should be viewed as an opportunity to explore new ideas outside the realm of the investigator’s current research portfolio. Inclusion of preliminary findings is not required and may be disadvantageous if the project is deemed to be beyond the discovery stage.


Awarded funds must be used to conduct the project proposed. Discovery Funds can be used to purchase reagents or materials or to pay for the time/effort of a person conducting work as part of the project, or other expenses directly incurred as a part of the proposed project.

All applications, including collaborative proposals, must identify only a single project leader/principal investigator (PI)


Only faculty members at the rank of Assistant Professor or higher on any regular-rank track with primary appointments in basic or clinical departments of the Duke University Schools of Medicine and Nursing are eligible to submit a proposal and to be identified as PI.  Each eligible faculty member is permitted to submit ONLY ONE application as PI.

Selection process

Applications will be reviewed by members of the Science Advisory Council, with input from the Basic Sciences Faculty Steering Committee and ad hoc reviewers added as necessary to provide content-area expertise. Applications for projects that are perceived to overlap currently or recently funded lines of investigation will not be reviewed.

Application procedures for initial proposals

Proposals must include:

  • A title page that includes ONLY the following: title of the proposal, a brief abstract that summarizes the project and its expected impact (not to exceed 250 words), the PI’s name, primary appointment, faculty rank and contact information, and the names and primary affiliation of other senior/key personnel.
  • A narrative (3 page maximum; 1 inch margins on all sides, single spaced, minimum of Arial 11 point font) that includes: 1) a more complete description of the project, rationale, planned experiments, and expected outcomes, 2) a brief statement summarizing the innovative nature of the proposed research, 3) a summary of the expected impact on the faculty member’s future research directions. Figures and images are included in the three-page limit; references do not count toward the page limit.
  • An NIH-style biosketch of the PI (new format; 4-page maximum). See instructions and sample at; all recently completed funding (within 3 years) should appear on the biosketch.
  • A listing of all current and pending research support in the format of NIH Other Support. If any listed funding appears to have overlap with the proposed research, you should carefully describe how the proposed research represents a new direction in your research program (each overlap statement not to exceed 500 words).

Application procedures for competing renewals

When excellent progress has been achieved in the first year but additional support is needed to bring the project to a competitive level for external funding, application for one competing renewal will be allowed (these will compete with new applications and are not guaranteed).

  • Competing renewal applications should include the title page, NIH biosketch, and listing of support as described above for new submissions. Note that if other funding support has been obtained for the project, it will be ineligible for Discovery Award renewal.
  • The narrative section of the renewal application is limited to five pages total including the following: preliminary data including the progress from year one (2 pages max), summary of plans if continued funding is granted (2-3 pages), and a brief summary of the innovative nature of the proposed research. As above, tables, figures and images are included in the 5-page limit; references are not.
  • A list of any manuscript(s), published or submitted, that resulted from (and acknowledge) support of the Chancellor’s Discovery Award. This list is not included in the page limits.

Application deadline

The application deadline is 11:59 p.m., January 20, 2017


The online submission tool will become available on January 10; submission will close at 11:59 p.m. ET, January 20, 2017. All documents must be submitted in pdf form. Submission will use Foundant. To apply, visit:

If necessary, click on “Create New User” and follow the instructions. Note that the system will send you an email including your password when the registration process is complete.