Request for Proposals

Duke Child Health & Discovery Initiative (CHDI) / Duke Microbiome Center (DMC) Joint Partnership Development Grant

Request for Applications 2023
Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. ET, 1 May 2023

The early stages of life are critically important for human health throughout the lifespan and also for assembly and activity of the microbiome. Understanding the associations and interactions between microbiomes and their hosts during early life stages is therefore an important area of research. The Duke Microbiome Center (DMC) is partnering with the Duke Children’s Health and Discovery Initiative (CHDI) to offer a CHDI-DMC Joint Partnership Development Grant. The objective is to support interdisciplinary and collaborative research projects at the intersection of child health and 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 of leading to new extramural funding;
  5. applications that make use of existing sample and data repositories at Duke relevant to this RFA, including but not limited to Project HOPE 1000Pediatric Obesity Microbiome and Metabolism Study, and the Duke Biospecimens from RespirAtory Virus-Exposed Kids (BRAVE Kids) Study; and
  6. applications that utilize Duke shared resource facilities (for example, the Microbiome Core Facility and Gnotobiotic Core).


Any faculty member at Duke University is eligible to apply (i.e., membership in DMC or CHDI is not required).

Investigators without prior expertise in pediatrics or microbiome science are advised to include in their applications investigators that can provide any necessary expertise. If you are a Duke faculty member who would like to become affiliated with the DMC, please contact Cindy Wicker <>.

Budget and Duration:

This CHDI-DMC Development Grants will have a one-year term, from 1 July 2023 – 30 June 2024. 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. We expect to fund one proposal this cycle. The awarded proposal should budget for up to $50,000, but will initially receive only $45,000 and will be eligible to receive the remaining $5,000 in funding if an external grant submission arising from this funding is submitted within 18 months of the original Notice of Award.

Application Instructions:

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

To apply using MyResearchProposal:

  • Click here to access MyResearchProposal and logon 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 2023” funding opportunity and follow the instructions.

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

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

  • Project Title, Abstract describing the project (250 words max), and Funding Amount Requested
  • 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 “CHDI-DMC Joint Partnership Development Grant RFA”.

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

  • Project Summary: Project Summary format uses the current NIH R03/R21 format (Specific Aims 1 page. Research Strategy 6 pages inclusive of all figures and tables. Bibliography is 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.”
  • 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. Each application may request up to $50,000 in direct support. The awarded proposal will initially receive only $45,000 but will be eligible to receive the remaining $5,000 contingent upon an external grant submission.
  • 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.
  • NIH Biosketches for participating faculty. Please use the “NIH Biosketch Form” using this format. Attach all Biosketches as a single PDF.

Selection Process for Awards:

Proposals will be peer-reviewed, and awards announced in June 2023.  Applicants will be notified of funding decisions, and the 1-year award term will start July 1st 2023. 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 a CHHDI- or DMC-sponsored event in 2024.

Each award will consist of up to $50,000 (direct costs) with an expected start date of July 1, 2023 and ending on June 30, 2024. The awarded proposal will initially receive only $45,000 but will be eligible to receive the remaining $5,000 in funding if an external grant submission arising from this funding is submitted within 18 months of the original NOA.