2021 Faculty Advancement Seed Grants Request for Proposals


Duke University is committed to advancing faculty excellence by fostering an inclusive and respectful environment where all faculty can thrive. The Office for Faculty Advancement furthers that commitment by supporting all faculty and their academic programs. Seed grants are intended to provide a financial head start for novel faculty development initiatives within academic units (schools, departments, divisions, centers and institutes) that aim to foster a sense of community and a welcoming and respectful climate for all members.

Guidelines and Theme

The Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement is pleased to announce the theme of the fourth round of the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program: “Confronting Racism and Bias: Fostering an Inclusive Community.” Seed grant proposals will be accepted for review if they describe a project that seeks to build bridges and address dynamics between faculty colleagues; faculty and staff; or faculty and students. We will also accept a limited number of additional proposals that do not fall within the thematic area but propose innovative faculty development initiatives. Please note that the goal of this program is not to support research collaborations.

Proposals that are successful in this cycle will seek to explore issues and approaches that are directly related to the stated guidelines of this RFP. Examples of eligible activities to connect faculty at Duke and/or across academic units are: organizing workshops, group discussions, focus group conversations, small group symposiums, outside speakers, book clubs, etc.


Regular rank faculty in academic units on the campus side (Provost’s management area), in university-wide institutes, initiatives and centers (Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke Global Health Institute, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Kenan Institute for Ethics, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Social Science Research Institute, Energy Initiative, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Rhodes Information Initiative, Science & Society, Margolis Center for Health Policy), in the School of Nursing and in the School of Medicine (basic science departments) are eligible for this program.

Funding Amounts

Seed grant award amounts typically range between $1,000 and $20,000. Faculty should be in good standing with the university at the time of submission and should remain so throughout the project period. Funds may be revoked should this status change.

Proposal Submission Requirements

  • A project narrative including project description and rationale, target participants, start date, end date, metrics of success and an assessment plan for project goals
  • A one-page budget with a brief justification. Funds may not be used to support faculty effort, travel, equipment or salary support for staff members. The involvement of work study students and other learners will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It is expected that funds will be expended in the period of March 2021 through April 2022.
  • A letter of support from the PI’s unit director/chair/dean (whomever they report to) addressing how the goals of the project are consistent with the unit’s plans for faculty advancement and inclusion

Submission Deadline and Form

The submission deadline has passed.

Award Timeline

Funding notification: February 1, 2021
Funding: March 2021
Project End: March 2022
Report Due: April 2022

Review Process

A committee will evaluate proposals and make recommendations to the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement.


Recipients will complete a report at the conclusion of the funding cycle that summarizes project activities, assesses outcomes, details budget expenses and describes efforts to sustain or build upon the successes of the seed grant funding. Seed Grant Principal Investigators (PIs) will receive the report template at the end date of the grant cycle.


For questions about the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program, please contact Jennifer Goins, Senior Program Coordinator and Logistics Coordinator for the Duke Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program (jennifer.goins@duke.edu).

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

How many grants do you plan to award?  
We anticipate supporting up to 10 proposals in this cycle.

As a director of a center or unit, do I need to provide a letter of support?  
Yes, please include a letter of support from whomever you report to.

Are there funding mechanisms for faculty who only hold clinical appointments in the School of Medicine or School of Nursing?
Clinical faculty may be eligible for the following:

Office of the Provost
Intellectual Community Planning Grants (ICPG)
Duke Focus Program
School of Medicine
Interdisciplinary Colloquia
Support and Funding Opportunities
Office for Research Mentoring
Office for Diversity and Inclusion
Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI)

As a School of Medicine PI (basic sciences), do I have to pay indirect costs?
SOM has indirect costs associated with grant expenditures. A waiver can be requested through the dean.  

Which items are not supported by the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program?  
Faculty training, travel, secondary seed grants, faculty effort and staffing expenses are not supported by the program funding. The involvement of work study students and other learners will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  


Will the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program fund research?
This cycle of the seed grant program is designed to address racism and climate, and to build community within academic units at Duke. Projects may contain research if it is required to accomplish the stated goals and outcomes of the proposal. Research proposals on unrelated topics will not be reviewed. For questions about support for research, please contact Duke Research and/or the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.

As a faculty member in the School of Nursing, am I eligible to apply?
Regular rank faculty in the School of Nursing are eligible. Clinical Instructors may not be principal investigators, but may partner as a Co-PI on a proposal.

As a faculty member in the School of Medicine, am I eligible to apply?
Faculty who hold primary or secondary appointments in a Basic Science Department are eligible to apply.

If I am a clinical faculty member in the School of Medicine, am I eligible to apply?  
Clinical faculty may participate as a Co-PI in partnership with a faculty member who meets the eligibility requirements to serve as a principal investigator. 

I am a staff member. Am I allowed to be a PI?  
Staff may participate as a Co-PI in partnership with a faculty member who meets the eligibility requirements to serve as a principal investigator.