DIBS Research Incubator Awards: How to Apply

DIBS encourages the development of new research directions in the brain sciences by supporting collaborations among faculty from across all schools of the University through the DIBS Research Incubator Awards Program. Seed funding from the Research Incubator Awards Program provides up to $100K per project per year to support research proposals of exceptional innovation and broad significance to the brain sciences. 

Projects must engage at least two faculty who represent multiple fields or levels of analysis and bring together investigators whose individual programs of research are not already connected. Proposed projects that include co-principal investigators from multiple schools within the university are especially encouraged. The support is intended to provide a basis for project development and pilot research ultimately leading to external funding for ongoing collaborative work. Each project is eligible for competitive renewal for up to three years. 

By supporting interdisciplinary research teams, DIBS hopes to encourage innovative approaches to problems that transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines, integrating the brain sciences with the social sciences, physical sciences, gene sciences, humanities, law, business, public policy, mathematics, computer science and engineering.

Amount of Support 
The Institute funds each approved working group (new or renewal) at a maximum level of $100,000 for one fiscal year. In addition to larger-scale projects, the DIBS will explicitly review requests for smaller awards (less than $25,000). Research Incubator Award support is intended to provide a basis for project development and pilot research, ultimately leading to external funding for the ongoing collaborative work. 

Award Deadlines 

January 31, 2017: Letter of intent due. *Required for all new proposals. 
Please limit the letter to one page. Your letter of intent should provide an overview of the questions you intend to address, an indication of the significance of what you will learn and an overview of your interdisciplinary research working group and why those co-investigators are necessary and what expertise they provide to the project. The purpose of the LOI is to help DIBS organize review committees, so feedback will not be provided.  Please email a PDF of the letter to Dr. Allen Song at allen.song@duke.edu.  Inquiries about the suitability of the project for a DIBS Incubator Award may also be sent directly to Dr. Song.

March 31, 2017: New proposal submission deadline. 
Detailed application instructions for new proposals.

May 1, 2017: Renewal award application deadline.
Detailed application instructions for renewals.                               

Mid-June 2017: Teams notified of their award status.  

Selection Process

NEW Awards
Proposals are reviewed by an ad hoc review committee consisting of faculty with a broad range of expertise in fundamental and translational brain sciences. The reviewing committee identifies proposals that best meet the objectives of the DIBS Research Incubator Awards – interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that will make long-term, significant and original contributions in the brain sciences.

Committee considerations:

o   Significance and potential impact of the research program
o   Degree of innovation
o   Scope of the interdisciplinary collaboration and relevance for the goals of the research program
o   Feasibility of the research project
o   Likelihood of development into a project that would attract external support 

Feedback on major review points of unfunded grants will be provided, if requested by the applicants.

New proposal application instructions

Renewals are reviewed by a Research Incubator Award renewal committee comprised of Duke faculty with a broad range of expertise in the brain sciences. Continued funding depends on progress made on the overall goals of the collaborative project, the merits of the research plan, the specific goals for the next period of support and the likelihood that the project is advancing toward external support. Advances that could not have been achieved with purely individual efforts must be clearly articulated, and the effective functioning of the collaborative project team must be made clear.

Renewal application instructions.

Learn more about DIBS

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is a scientific institute with a collaborative spirit and a commitment to education, service and knowledge across disciplines. We encourage creativity, taking risks, sharing ideas and working together.


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