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Grants and Funding

IGNITE Childhood Obesity Research

Internal Call for Interdisciplinary Grants for Novel and Innovative Teams to Engage in Childhood Obesity Research

The Duke Center for Childhood Obesity Research (DCCOR) was founded in 2017 to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines to shed light on the obesity epidemic, its root causes, and its prevention and treatment. Our mission is to advance effective and equitable obesity prevention and treatment by conducting innovative interdisciplinary research to achieve optimal health for all children. Please visit our website for more information about the guiding principles behind our research, our goals, and our team.

Interdisciplinary Connections will lead to the discovery and development of effective obesity prevention and treatment strategies. A vast number of intersecting mechanisms are driving this epidemic, and successful prevention and treatment strategies will engage disciplines as diverse as mathematics (e.g. social network research), visual culture (e.g. images promoting obesogenic behaviors), sociology (e.g. structural inequalities), business and marketing (e.g. big food, financial incentives for behavior change), computer science (e.g. machine learning of visual cues for infant satiety), neuroscience (e.g. visual perception of portion size) and media studies (e.g. photo journalism and children’s media messaging), among many others.  

To promote the formation of new interdisciplinary teams, DCCOR is releasing a call for proposals. The Interdisciplinary Grants for Novel and Innovative Teams to Engage in Childhood Obesity Research (IGNITE Childhood Obesity Research) will provide seed funding to foster interdisciplinary research between our center, which is housed in the School of Medicine, and scholars across the university. Recipients will be paired with DCCOR faculty to add subject matter expertise and will receive additional support from the DCCOR research infrastructure team. 

We are particularly interested in scholars who are not already connected to the School of Medicine with regard to obesity research, as well as scholars who have not worked with School of Medicine faculty members at all. Our goal is to allow scholars from diverse fields to creatively leverage their strengths as they discover and explore the connections linking their field of expertise to childhood obesity.

IGNITE funding may be used toward hypothesis-generating research or hypothesis-driven research, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • A new project in its initial phases of development
  • A project that has already received other funding, but has not yet incorporated obesity in any way
  • Applying an already-established framework from your discipline to the study of obesity


Up to 3 grants will be awarded. Project budgets may be up to a total of no more than $50,000. Recipients will receive funding over a 15-month period. Funds can be used to cover reasonable research costs such as faculty salary support, graduate students and post-docs, research assistants, participant payments, materials and supplies.


  • Please submit a letter of intent by April 30, 2019.
  • Your letter will be reviewed and applicants will be notified by May 15, 2019 if they have made it to the next stage of applications/reviews.

  • If your LOI has been selected to move on to the full proposal stage, we will ask for more detail in the form of a presentation at an upcoming DCCOR team meeting.

  • You will receive final notification about your proposal by July 1, 2019.

  • Funding can begin as early as August 1, 2019.


  • Grant recipient (and lead investigator for the proposed project) must be a Duke faculty member and must be from the School of Engineering, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of the Environment, the School of Business, the School of Public Policy, the Law School, or the Divinity School (cannot be from the School of Medicine or the School of Nursing). Post-docs and graduate students cannot lead a project, yet grant funding may be used to fund post-doc or graduate student stipends.
  • Proposed projects must incorporate childhood obesity, and explore intersections between childhood obesity and the applicant’s field of expertise.
  • Proposed projects must foster new collaborations, and must be from faculty whose research teams are not already connected to any DCCOR member funded projects or publications. 
  • Proposed projects should promote interdisciplinary work while being led by a recipient who is not in the SOM/SON. The idea of the funding is to ultimately build interdisciplinary connections and partnerships with DCCOR, though you do not need to have established those at the time of application.

Recipients will be required to:

  • Prepare a publishable work for submission to peer-reviewed journal
  • Regularly attend DCCOR group meetings
  • Present a work-in-progress at a DCCOR group meeting
  • Submit and hopefully present their work at a national conference (ideally both a medical and non-medical). Grants may support travel.

Selection process: proposals will be examined for the feasibility of completing the work proposed, the interdisciplinarity of the project, and the potential for future peer-reviewed works and collaborations on larger projects.

Submission Instructions

Please submit your letter of intent via email to Janna Howard ( by 11:59pm on April 30, 2019. Proposals should be submitted as one PDF document including the following:

  • Applicant information, project information, and letter of intent using the letter of intent template provided.
  • Estimated budget and justification of expenses using the budget template provided. Funds can be used to cover reasonable research costs such as faculty effort, graduate students and post-docs, research assistants, participant payments, materials and supplies.
  • CV of the applying faculty member and any other collaborating team members.

Please contact Janna Howard, Research Program Leader for DCCOR, with any questions at