Physician-Scientist Strong Start Awards Program



 The School of Medicine (SoM) and the Office for Physician-Scientist Development (OPSD) is pleased to announce its annual RFP for the Duke Physician-Scientist “Strong Start” Award. This goal of this program is to nurture the careers of junior faculty who are laboratory-based physician-scientists at Duke. By offering substantive mentoring and financial resources, this award will support junior, physician-scientist faculty during a critical period of their career, the transition to research independence.

This award program is lead by the Office of Physician Scientist Development (OPSD) and intentionally designed to integrate with other Duke initiatives that train physician-scientists at even earlier points in their career, such as the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD-PhD students), Departmental Physician-Scientist Training Programs, and the Lefkowitz Society (clinical residents and fellows). In this way, the “Strong Start” Award Program will ensure that Duke University School of Medicine remains a leader in the training of outstanding physician-scientists, a group uniquely committed to the advancement of the medical sciences in our own community and in the nation.


In 2019, the SoM will grant approximately three awards of $70,000/year, renewable up to three consecutive years ($210,000 total).

It is anticipated that this award will be offered on an annual basis. The funds are to be used at the discretion the individual recipient to support their research program, not for use by the department. 


  • At the time of application, candidates will be faculty members within a department in the Duke University School of Medicine, prior to advancement to the rank of Associate Professor.
  • Candidates will be physician-scientists (M.D., D.O) who have completed clinical training (residency/fellowship) after receiving their doctoral degree.
  • Candidates will be pursuing outstanding laboratory-based research.


  • NIH-style Biosketch
  • Research proposal/Career development plans: Written summary of (1) past research experience, (2) future research proposal, (3) specific plans to transition to scientific independence (e.g., securing independent research funding, developing independent scientific program) (not to exceed 3 pages)
  • Two letters of reference, including one from the primary department chair

Applications must be submitted prior to March 14, 2019. Proposals are submitted via Duke’s MyResearchProposal online submission system. To apply, visit, click on “Create New User” or log in if you already have an account (do not create a 2nd account). 

  • Here is a  Step-by-step user’s guide for applying via the MyResearchProposal software.
  • Enter Access Code ‘OPSD’ then select the “Strong Start 2019” funding opportunity and follow the instructions.
  • For questions concerning MyResearchProposal (passwords or system issues), please contact Anita Grissom or Brittany Sadler at or 919-668-4774.  


Successful applicants will be informed by mid-April 2019.