2022 Faculty Advancement Seed Grants Request for Proposals


Duke University is committed to advancing faculty excellence by fostering an equitable and respectful environment where all faculty can thrive. The Office for Faculty Advancement advances that commitment by supporting all faculty and their academic programs. Seed grants are intended to provide a financial foundation for faculty-led 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 Office for Faculty Advancement is pleased to announce the theme of the fifth round of the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program: “Improving Departmental Climate and Building Community.”  Seed grant proposals will be accepted for review if they describe a project that seeks to address a specific culture and climate issue in their department, including building bridges and addressing dynamics between faculty colleagues, faculty and staff, or faculty and students. We may 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 this initiative does not fund research projects or research collaborations.]  

Proposals that are successful will seek to explore issues and approaches that are directly related to the stated guidelines of this RFP. Examples of eligible activities are: resource development, workshops and programs, group discussions, focus group conversations, small group symposia, outside speakers, book clubs, etc. 


All regular rank faculty in all schools1 and university institutes and centers are eligible to apply to this program as Principal Investigators (see FAQ page). 

1School of Medicine: Faculty who hold primary or secondary appointments in a Basic Science or university department are eligible to apply. Clinical faculty may participate as Co-PIs in partnership with a faculty member who meets the eligibility requirements to serve as  Principal Investigators.  

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, and metrics of success.
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 12 month period of January 2022 through December 2022.
A letter of support from the PI’s unit director/chair/dean/Vice Provost addressing how the goals of the project are consistent with the unit’s plans for faculty advancement and equity.    

Submission Deadline and Form

The submission deadline is October 31, 2021.  The grant deadline has passed.

Award Timeline

Funding notification: December 15, 2021
Funding: January 2022
Project End: December 2022 (extended access to funds will be permitted)
Report Due: May 2023

Review Process

A review 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 project. Seed Grant Principal Investigators 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). Or, join OFA in office hours scheduled on September 27 and October 11 from 10:00-10:45am to discuss project ideas. Register here

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 your dean or vice provost.

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, faculty effort (see below) and travel are not allowable expenses. The program does not permit distribution to support secondary projects. 

Are faculty effort and staff salaries allowable expenses?
Faculty effort and staff salaries are not supported by the program due to the short-term nature of the funding mechanism and the potential conflict with research funding effort allocation. Faculty and staff can be compensated for contributing their disciplinary expertise to a project through an honorarium or a supplemental payment if their contribution is a necessary part of the project design. 

Can I hire work study students or learners?
Reviewers will consider the role of students in the proposal, and determine if they will contribute skill sets that are required for program success. Student contributions should not be tied to their stipend support or research/program requirements.  

Is a climate training or faculty short course required to receive an OFA Seed Grant?
Climate training is not required to receive an OFA Seed Grant. However, relevant trainings will be considered during the review process to assess project feasibility. All PIs are encouraged to share any completed trainings relevant to their proposal. 


Will the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program fund research?
The seed grant program is designed to build community within academic units at Duke. Projects may contain an element of research if it is  required to accomplish the stated goals and outcomes of the proposal. Research proposals and proposals on topics unrelated to the Seed Grant theme 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 or university department are 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.