2024 Faculty Advancement Seed Grants Request for Proposals


Duke University is committed to advancing faculty excellence by fostering an environment where all faculty can thrive, and the Office for Faculty Advancement (OFA) demonstrates that commitment by supporting all faculty and their academic programs. Faculty Advancement Seed Grants are intended to provide a financial start for novel, faculty-led initiatives in academic units (schools, departments, divisions, centers and institutes) that aim to promote a vibrant and inclusive academic community and cultivate networks for faculty to collaborate and form meaningful relationships. Successful seed grants are intended to have a positive impact on academic units and may continue beyond the scope of the award to become long-term initiatives.  

Guidelines and Theme

The Office for Faculty Advancement is pleased to announce the theme of the sixth cycle of the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program: “Strengthening Faculty Communities Through Innovative Engagement and New Connections.” Seed grant proposals will be accepted for review if they describe a project that seeks to address at least one of the following areas: 

  1. A creative approach to strengthening social dynamics and relationships within and across faculty groups in departments and schools. 
  • This covers all groups of faculty (including emeriti faculty) and colleagues with connections along lines of discipline, academic title, faculty rank, personal identity, shared interest, or any other relevant category.
  1. Innovative initiatives to improve the academic culture or climate in departments, centers and schools. 
  • This may include considering the culture in classrooms, labs, mentoring relationships, departmental practices and policies, etc.
  1. New faculty groups and connections that foster thought, conversations and communities of practice across disciplines on topics relevant to the faculty experience. 
  • This may include any topic that is important to faculty success and advancement throughout the faculty career lifespan.

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: workshops and programs, faculty curricular activities, structured affinity groups, resource development, small group symposia, outside speakers, book clubs, etc. OFA will offer ‘office hours’ to provide proposal support and discuss proposal ideas prior to submission.


All regular rank faculty in all schools1 and university institutes, initiatives and centers (UICs) are eligible to apply to this program as Principal Investigators (PI) (see FAQ page). Seed grant projects must include activities that focus on university departments, institutes, initiatives or centers. Please refer to the FAQ with questions related to unit eligibility.

1School of Medicine faculty holding primary or secondary appointments in a Basic Science or university department, institute, initiative or center are eligible to apply as Principal Investigator. Clinical faculty may participate as Co-PIs in partnership with a faculty member who meets the eligibility criteria to serve as Principal Investigator. 


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

Proposal Submission Requirements

  • A project narrative, including a detailed project description and rationale, targeted 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, staff effort travel, equipment or monetary distributions to support secondary or related projects. 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 spent in the 12-month period of the award cycle. 
  • A project timeline that provides a projection of progress and benchmarks in the award cycle.
  • 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 long-term goals, as well as a plan for project support at the conclusion of the award cycle. For SoM clinical faculty who have secondary university affiliations which makes them eligible (see FAQ #4 below), a second letter is required from the secondary unit Director/Chair/Dean/Vice Provost.

Submission deadline: January 15, 2024
Please submit all proposals to the Office for Faculty Advancement using the following online submission form:  https://dukeuniversity-ovpfa.formstack.com/forms/faculty_advancement_seed_grant_program_submission_form_2024

Award Timeline

Funding Notification: February 23, 2024 
Funding: March 2024
Project End: March 2025
Report Due: April 2025

Review Process

A review committee will evaluate proposals and make funding recommendations to the OFA Selection Committee.


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 template for the report at the end 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).We invite you to attend OFA Seed Grant Office Hours to discuss project ideas:  

  • October 30, 2:00-3:00 p.m. (virtual) Register
  • November 13, 1:00-2:00 p.m. (virtual) Register

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the role of the PI? The PI is responsible for the execution of the award, including spending funds according to what was agreed upon in the submitted proposal and in the OFA award letter.  Any award modifications must be approved by OFA prior to the use of awarded funds. The PI is also responsible for completing the project by the end of the award cycle. 
  2. Which items are not supported by the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program? Faculty effort, Staff effort (see below), travel or monetary distribution to support secondary or related projects are not allowable expenses. 
  3. Will the Faculty Advancement Seed Grant Program fund research projects? No. The seed grant program is designed to build community within academic units at Duke. Projects may contain an element of scholarly work 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 projects, please contact Duke Research and/or the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.
  4. As a faculty member in the School of Nursing, am I eligible to apply for this program? Regular rank faculty in the School of Nursing are eligible to apply. Clinical Instructors may not be Principal Investigators, but may partner as a Co-PI on any submitted proposal. Please confirm your eligibility prior to submission.
  5. As a faculty member in the School of Medicine, am I eligible to apply for this program? Faculty who hold primary or secondary appointments in a Basic Science 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. Please confirm your eligibility prior to submission.
  6. As a faculty member in an institute, initiative or center, which ones make me eligible to apply for this program? Faculty are eligible if they are associated with the following university institutes, initiatives and centers through the Office of the Provost: Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke Global Health Institute, Kenan Institute for Ethics, Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, Social Science Research Institute, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Rhodes Information Initiative, Science & Society and the Margolis Center for Health Policy.
  7. 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. Please confirm your eligibility prior to submission.
  8. Is there a limit on the number of Co-PIs? PIs can appoint up to two co-PIs to help facilitate the project. Others involved with the project can be listed as team members.  
  9. How many grants do you plan to award? We anticipate supporting up to 10 proposals in this cycle.
  10. I am the director of a center or unit. Do I still need to provide a letter of support?  Yes, please include a letter of support from your Dean or Vice Provost.
  11. 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 Grant (ICPG)  
Duke Focus Program

School of Medicine:
SOM Funding Opportunities
Office for Research Mentoring
Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion 
Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI)

  1. 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.
  2. Is alcohol an allowable expense? Please contact the Office for Faculty Advancement prior to purchase for approval.
  3. 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. 
  4. Can I hire work study students or learners? The request to involve work study students and other learners will be reviewed by OFA within the context of the proposal and considered on a case-by-case basis. These hires must be approved by OFA before funds are used for their salaries. Reviewers will consider the role of students in the proposal, and determine if they will contribute skill sets (related to the project or administrative support) that are required for program success. Student contributions should not be tied to their stipend support or research/program requirements.  Please check with your business manager for current rate ranges.
  5. Can a PI make adjustments/modifications to the budget during the project year? The PI may submit a formal request to OFA to modify a project’s budget during the funding period. The request must include a justification for the change, a modified project timeline, and must be submitted and approved prior to any project expenditures.
  6. Are faculty required to have completed a form of climate training or a faculty short course 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 or curricular experiences relevant to their proposal. 
  7. What are the types of deliverables or reports that will you expect from awardees? A final report describing the use of funds, the outcomes of the project, and a description of the engagement of the faculty, students, staff and community members involved with the project will be requested at the end of the award cycle. A report template for the submission will be provided.
  8. Is it possible to access to funds beyond the project deadline? The availability to have extended use of funds is not guaranteed and may vary between seed grant cycles. The PI should submit a written request with a justification for extended access, as well as a timeline for spending and a modified budget. The request for extended use must be submitted and approved prior to any expenditures.