Our Experience

Complex and Individual Investigator Grants

Since our launch in Fall 2009, the Office of Research Development has helped teams submit complex research grant applications to the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, NASA, the Komen Foundation, and others. The majority of these research grant applications were to NIH, under mechanisms including P01, P30, P50, U19, U54, and various phased mechanisms (UH2/UH3, UG3/UH3, etc.), among others. (We have very limited experience responding to contractual requests for proposals, and we do not facilitate development of training grants.)

We’ve also helped investigators achieve funding for crucial NIH R01 resubmissions.  With our experience, we can help PIs avoid weaknesses identified in previous applications and identify appropriate adjustments given reviewer concerns. Please get in touch if you’re interested in using our services.

Facts and Figures. As of August 2023, we have facilitated more than 200 complex research grant applications, work resulting in awards of more than $867 million.

Writing Workshops

In 2012, Joanna Downer, now Associate Dean for Research Development, first offered to Duke faculty a series of hands-on small-group workshops based on George Gopen’s seminar, "Scientific Writing from the Reader’s Perspective". Beginning in 2013, the workshops have been offered through Duke’s Path to Independence and K Club programs, the Department of Medicine Academy, and the Building Independent Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) program. She has also delivered this workshop to investigators at the North Carolina College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, and the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School. Joanna has also given single-session Effective Communication presentations to the Department of Pathology Graduate Program, to Residents and Fellows of the Division of Plastic Surgery, Duke Human Vaccine Institute program managers, and through Duke’s Office of Postdoctoral Services.

Joanna has also delivered sessions on NIH's Rigor and Reproducibility application requirements, grant and research basics (to Duke neuroscience undergraduates and to international visitors to Duke), collaborative grant options, effective team science, and other topics.


Joanna completed training as a coach in July 2022 and now offers formal coaching to research-intensive faculty as part of her regular duties. These services are available on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to those research-intensive faculty from backgrounds underrepresented in science and medicine.