OPSD Resources

The goals of the Office of Physician-Scientist Development are to:
  • Develop a sustainable pipeline for physician-scientists in the School of Medicine
  • Coordinate physician-scientist development and community across the School of Medicine
  • Provide infrastructure and resources for physician-scientists in the School of Medicine
  • Increase the number of MDs and MD/PhDs who pursue, succeed, and are retained in basic, clinical, and translational research

The OPSD Scholars program is for residents, fellows, and junior faculty physician-scientists who have indicated a desire for additional career mentorship in addition to their clinical and research mentorship.  As part of the OPSD Scholars Concierge Mentorship program, you have the opportunity to gain mentorship from a Master Mentor in your desired area of research who will provide a wealth of knowledge to support your early investigative career.  OPSD also offers mentor consultation services for Medical Students.

Enroll Here

OPSD offers concept reviews only to physician-scientist trainees and junior faculty registered in OPSD Scholars who do not have access to a department-run research development or concept review program. If the scholar is unsure about whether they have access to departmental resources, they should inquire with their OPSD Scholars Coordinator and Master Mentor. Participants must commit to providing a draft specific aims page (pre-vetted by a research mentor) at least one week in advance of the scheduled concept review meeting.

The purpose is to identify weaknesses in the scientific concepts early on that can be fixed via changes in strategies, presentation, new collaborations, or improved use of available resources.  This program can be used to vet grants of any size (e.g., K01, K23, R03, R01) and is most useful in the early stages of grant planning, before expending much time writing.

What is a “Concept Review”?

Investigators present their proposed scientific grant idea to a small group of established investigators with relevant expertise and participate in an open discussion with their specific aims page as the starting point

 Process for Concept Review Set-Up:

  1.  At least 2-3 months before the submission due date, the investigator contacts OPSD with the following information:
    •  Whether their research is basic, clinical, or translational
    •  The name and submission date of the award they are applying for
    •  The title of their proposal
    •  The name of their mentor(s) and 5-6 investigators from anywhere within Duke University who have expertise relevant to the subject matter: investigators are encouraged to think outside of the box here.
    •  What days and times the investigator is available for a 90-minute review within the next 3-4 weeks
  2.  The senior basic or clinical faculty lead looks over the suggested SOM reviewers and adds suggestions as needed
  3.  OPSD contacts reviewers to set a date/time for the review session
  4.  Reviewers receive the Specific Aims page of the investigator one week prior to the review session
  5.  The overall format for this 90-minute concept review session is as follows:
    • The investigator presents an outline of the grant (including the background, preliminary data, and research plan) via PowerPoint to a small group of Duke investigators whose expertise aligns with the proposed research (3-5 reviewers total)
    •  Following the presentation, the group provides feedback through an open discussion focused on identifying possible problems and offering suggestions to improve the planned proposal
    •  The OPSD Scholars Coordinator will complete a concept review outcome form to provide notes and feedback after the review session

For more information on the concept review process, including eligibility and program requirements, please email opsd@dm.duke.edu .

The Research Careers Ahead! Professional Development Series aims to inspire students, trainees and junior faculty to embrace a research career.  Each session will equip participants with knowledge and skills needed to develop a robust research program as well as provide an opportunity for professional networking with other scientists. 

We are currently developing the Fall 2023 curriculum.  If you have a topic, speaker or idea you would like to share, please contact us.

View Prior Sessions

Mentoring in Academic Medicine - Robert Lefkowitz, MD, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Medicine (August 24, 2022)

During this session, Dr. Lefkowitz will discus how to choose a mentor, as well as tips for mentoring.

Mechanics of Writing a Compelling Grant: What Reviewers Want to See and How to Give it to Them - Michael Dee Gunn, MD, Professor of Medicine and Immunology (June 22, 2022)

Grant reviewers have clear expectations about what they expect to see in a grant application.  Join us for this session as Dr. Gunn discusses what to include in  your application, how to structure it, how best to write it, and best practices concerning the grant development process. (slide presentation)

Science Writing: Traditional Publication and New Horizons - Jonathan McCall (May 25, 2022)

This session reviews strategies for writing for peer-reviewed publication in a rapidly changing landscape, including selecting a target journal, managing revisions, and responding to critique. It also examines recent changes to scientific publishing, such as the evolving role of preprints and data sharing in scientific communication, and talk about how engagement on social media and through other forums can help to disseminate research findings and expand scholarly networks.

Developing the Physician-Scientist Mentor-Mentee Relationship - Cathleen Colon-Emeric, MD, Professor of Medicine (November 10, 2021)

This interactive session will provide mentees with tools and strategies to identify mentors, communicate effectively with their mentors, and ensure aligned expectations to meet their career objectives.

This is the Way: Public Policy & Advocacy at Duke Health - Catherine Liao (October 27, 2021)

Ever see news coming out of Washington, D.C. or an issue impacting your field and colleagues and think to yourself, "Someone should do something about that?" Guess what? You CAN! Please join us for conversation with the Duke Health Government Relations team on how public policy shapes healthcare delivery and research, what you can do to influence policymakers, and where and how to get involved. #BeYourBestAdvocate

Emotional Support and Wellbeing Group Peer Support - McLean Pollock, PhD (August 25, 2021)

The purpose of this session is to provide a safe space for scholars to air experiences and receive support, validation, and empathy during these times of ongoing stress and uncertainty.

Mechanics of Writing a Compelling Grant: What Reviewers Want to See and How to Give it to Them- Dr. Michael Dee Gunn, MD (June 23, 2021)

Grant reviewers have clear expectations about what they expect to see in a grant application.  In this session, Dr. Gunn discusses what should be included in an application, how to structure it, how best to write it, and best practices concerning the grant development process.

Grant Writing:  Preparing Your First K or R - Michelle Mack, PhD (May 26, 2021)

In this session, Dr. Michelle Mack provides a brief overview of strategies and tips for the writing and submission of an early career grant, with a focus on the NIH K and R grant mechanisms. 

NIH Career Development (K) Awards: Getting Your Research Career Off the Ground - Brandon Hall, PhD (April 28, 2021)

Academic researchers who receive Career Development (K) Awards have been shown not only to obtain independent funding at a higher rate than their peers, but also to maintain independent funding at a higher rate throughout their careers. In this presentation, Dr. Hall shares insights learned through working with faculty for developing a successfully funded K Award proposal.  View links and resources discussed in this session here.

Effort Management on Sponsored Projects - Deborah Martin (March 24, 2021)

This session provides an overview of effort management on sponsored projects while examining budgeting, tracking, changing and reporting of effort on grants and contracts. 

NIH Support for Early Career Development Dr. P. Kay Lund and Dr. Shoshana Kahana, NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce (February 24, 2021)

Drs. Kay Lund and Shoshana Kahan provide an update on existing or new programs to support Physician-Scientists, strategies to write effective grant applications, update on Early Stage Investigator (ESI) policies and policies regarding ESI extensions, and on initiated flexibilities during the current COVID epidemic.  View links and resources discussed in this session here.

The Diversity Problem in Science - Gow Arepally, MD, PhD (January 27, 2021)

A diverse biomedical research workforce is essential for innovation, improving health and enriching science itself.  This talk will delineate the scop of under-representation in the biomedical research workforce, what efforts are being undertaken at the local and national levels to improve diversity and what one can do at an individual level to promote inclusivity in the research workplace.

Keys to Success as a Physician-Scientist - R. Sanders Williams, MD (November 18, 2020)

Every day in the life of a physician-scientist presents a surfeit of choices, and therein lies both the blessing and the curse of this challenging but noble calling. The cumulative effect of good decisions over time brings success and satisfaction, whereas poor choices add up to frustration. This talk will suggest a few straightforward principles that all physician-scientists can apply for better decision making, and illustrate these by specific examples.

Finding Funding, Onboarding and Research Navigator Services - Sunita Patil, PhD (October 28, 2020)

In this interactive session, Dr. Sunita Patil provides information about the resources and services available to research community, navigation and onboarding services, as well as connect attendees to relevant resources available in the MRH portal.  View links and resources covered in this session here.

Grant Writing as Your Vision of a Future - Irina Mokrova, PhD (September 23, 2020)

The goal of a well-written grant is to convince the reviewers that you can deliver a better future. To do it effectively, you need to know who your audience is, how they judge a grant, and what can make them excited about your vision of that future. Thus, in addition to an innovative idea, your grant needs to convey an attractive story, targeted to a particular audience. During this talk, we will discuss how do grants get funded, how to tailor your writing to your audience, and examine the "Cs" of effective grant writing (creating text that is clear, compelling, consistent, and concise) as well as discuss writing as a skill that needs practice, and tips that can help you become a better writer.  View links and resources covered in this session here.

How to Budget and Manage Grant Finances - Deborah Martin (August 26, 2020)

In this session, Deborah Martin, Senior Grants Manager, provides an overview of the administrative aspect of grant submission and post-award management.  Topics include the role of the grant administrator and central offices, managing submission deliverables and deadlines, budget preparation, navigating both Duke and sponsor requirements, and critical components of managing an award. View links and resources covered in this session here.

Best Practices in Research Project and Proposal Development - Dr. Michael Gunn (July 22, 2020)

In the first of our Fall 2020 Grant Writing Series, Dr. Gunn presents a strategy and workflow that will enhance your ability to develop research projects and will markedly improve the quality of your grant applications.  Common mistakes will be discussed, along with the best way to avoid them.  View links and resources covered in this session here.

Navigating NIH Policies and Guidelines During COVID19 - Dr. Geeta Swamy and Laurianne Torres (June 24, 2020)

This session examines the impact of COVID19 on the grant proposal submission and acceptance process, and review the current guidance from NIH and other sponsors on early stage investigator status, submission timelines, carryforward and no-cost extensions as well as existing guidelines per the NIH grant policy statement. The audience will be oriented on the research administration infrastructure and required processes at Duke.  View links and resources covered in this session here.

VIRTUAL TOWN HALL:  The Physician-Scientist Career in the COVID-19 Era  (May 27, 2020)

In this town hall discusion, panelists Dr. Ann J. Brown, Vice Dean for Faculty and Professor of Medicine,  Dr.  Andrew Alspaugh, Vice Chair, Academic Affairs and Professor of Medicine, and Catherine Liao, Associate Vice President, Duke Health Government Relations provide brief updates on COVID-19 response and recovery plans from a physician-scientist career perspective as well as address questions related to your unique career support needs during this unprecedented time. View links and resources covered in this session here.

Sharing Your Science Effectively - Karl Bates and Dr. Jory Weintraub (April 22, 2020)

Join us as we help you create a clear, smooth, and compelling introduction that reaches people where THEY are.

Tracking Scholarship + Compliance: ORCID, SciENcv, and the NIH Public Access Policy - Karen Barton and Sarah Cantrell (March 25, 2020)

In this session, we will provide a big picture overview of the ways you can track your scholarship, build biosketches and meaningful personal statements, and ensure compliance with funding agencies.

Running a Successful Lab - Sally Kornbluth, Provost and Jo Rae Wright Univeristy Professor (February 26, 2020)

Join us as Provost Sally Kornbluth discusses all of the elements for success in scientific research—how to hire and manage people, how to select areas of focus, how to budget (time and money!) and how to navigate scientific publishing and meetings.

Effective Team Leadership in the Research Environment - Dr. Mitch Heflin (January 29, 2020)

Join us as Dr. Mitchell Heflin reviews the key elements of effective team building, with an emphasis on working across professions and disciplines

Strategies for Navigating the Academic Job Market - Dr. Lola Fayanju and Dr. Andrew Landstom (November 20, 2019)

 Join us as Drs. Landstrom and Fayanju focus on practical tips and advice on the transition from the end of training to a faculty position from a first-hand perspective. 

Creating a Curriculum Vitae - Dr. Katie Garman (October 23, 2019)

Learn how to tailor a CV to a specific project, and when to use a CV versus resume

Maximizing the Mentor/Mentee Relationship - Dr. Richard Liddle, Dr. Diego Bohorquez and Kelly Buchanan (September 25, 2019)

See how three generations of mentors and mentees present the ingredients for getting the best out of a mentoring relationship

In Pursuit of Hypothesis-Driven Research - Dr. Gerry Blobe (August 28, 2019)

In this seminar, Dr. Blobe covers how the hypothesis fits into the scientific method, how to transition from an idea to a hypothesis, how to structure a hypothesis-driven question, writing and developing a hypothesis, and experimental design to address a hypothesis.

Enhancing Your Visibility as a Scientist - Dr. Matthew Sparks (June 26, 2019)

Making the Most of the Mentoring Relationship - Dr. Cathleen Colon-Emeric (May 22, 2019)

Anatomy of a Scientific Paper - Dr. Andrew Alspaugh (March 27, 2019)

OPSD offers Guidelines for the Development of Department-Level Physician-Scientist Training Programs (PSTP).  The overall goal of a Department-Level PSTP is to identify and train the next generation of physician-scientist.  To this end, each program should provide support for mentor identification, scholarship oversight committees, individual development plans, and resources for conducting research.

Program Recommendations

  • Identify trainees interested in a research career
  • Provide program leadership by established physician scientists with active research portfolios
  • Include funded physician-scientists as part of residency program leadership
  • Facilitate PI status for trainees applying for funding
  • Program Manager (MS / PhD level) for program operations and metrics
  • Facilitate mentor identification, oversight of scholarly activities and training in scientific communications and grant writing
  • Evaluate and support specialty-specific training needs
  • Offer a residency track that provides protected research time
  • Refer research oriented trainees to OPSD for training, mentorship, funding opportunities and research support programs

Faculty Resources

The Translating Duke Health Initiative (TDH) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-year commitment to harness the expertise and knowledge found at Duke to address society’s most significant scientific and healthcare challenges and fulfill the vision of making discoveries and transforming health for millions.  Each of the five pillars has annual RFPs, and the Neurosciences and Children’s Health and Discovery Initiative both currently have open calls for applications.  For more details about TDH, visit www.translatingdukehealth.org.

Duke offers a number of mentored career awards including Institutional and individual K Awards. 

The Duke Strong Start Program is designed to support the careers of young, laboratory-based physician-scientists at Duke through substantive mentoring and financial resources. 

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.

Trainee Resources

Biomedical Research Training Opportunities for Undergraduate, Post-Baccalaureate and Medical Students

Additional Funding Opportunity Resources

University Office of Research Support Funding Opportunities

Provides extensive, on-line database of funding opportunities as a resource for the entire Duke University research community.

  • Advanced Search tab allows users to narrow down their search parameters
  • Users have the ability to Subscribe to the weekly funding alert newsletter


To keep pace with growing and evolving research fields, Pivot’s expert editors continuously update an authoritative list of keywords that are carefully matched to each Pivot funding opportunity. Enter search terms or browse by keyword to explore the latest funding opportunities and research trends.

Medical School Financial Aid

The Duke School of Medicine Financial Aid Office is committed to helping students determine the best way to pay for their education, as well as help find the best solution for the student, their situation, and their needs.

Third Year Medical Student Scholarships

Duke Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) R38 Programs:

Duke offers four Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (StARR) R38 programs.  These programs are meant to encourage postdoctoral-level health professionals to pursue careers as physician-scientists and clinician-investigators, fulfilling a critical workforce need. Residents in the program will have a primary research mentor and a scholarship oversight committee that will meet at least twice per year to help residents create an individualized career development plan, including submission for an external individual career development award (NRSA F32 or K38/StARRTs).

Benefits of the program include:

  • An opportunity to apply for a technician/research assistant to maintain research productivity during the years of clinical training
  • Preferential ranking for Duke University School of Medicine subspecialty fellowship program
  • Funds to support conference travel and research needs
  • Eligibility to apply for a new NIH early career award (K38 Stimulating Access to Research in Residency Transition Scholar)
  • Eligibility to apply for the NIH Loan Repayment Program

Click here for more information.

Duke T32 Training Programs 

CTSA TL1 Physician Research Fellowship Program

This is a 2-year training program  to provide 2 years of funded time to support the research training of physician-scientists.  Allphysician trainees are eligible, but candidates interested in broadening their previous training to include a new category of research methodology (e.g., applicants with a bench science background looking to gain training in translational or clinical research, or vice versa) are encouraged to apply.   Applicants interested in data science methodology are particularly encouraged to apply.


Duke Graduate Medical Education

Duke Health has over 1,000 GME residents and fellows in programs ranging from very small sub-specialty fellowships to large specialty programs. Each person makes Duke Health special—providing opportunities to forge enduring relationships with world-class faculty, resident and fellow colleagues, other members of the health care team, and most importantly, patients and families. Our training programs are regularly ranked among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Learn more

The Robert J. Lefkowitz Society

The Robert J. Lefkowitz Society provides a home for MD and MD/PhD post-graduate trainees in the Duke University School of Medicine, and who are pursuing careers with a primary focus on basic and translational research as physician-investigators. Through formal and informal mentoring relationships, the Lefkowitz Society provides promising post-graduate trainees with a greater understanding of how to develop successful academic careers.

Members of the the Robert J. Lefkowitz Society, which provides a home for MD and MD/PhD post-graduate trainees who are in the Duke University School of Medicine.

Global Health Pathway

The Global Health Pathway delivers tailored postgraduate training for residents and fellows to integrate specialty-specific research opportunities, masters-level didactic training, and close mentorship to develop careers in global health.

Research Training Global Health (GH) Pathway: The Global Health Pathway provides Duke residents and fellows opportunities for intensive global health training. Trainees integrate Master of Science in Global Health (MSc-GH) didactics with mentored research tailored to her/his specialty. 

Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PSDP)

The Pediatric Scientist Development Program (PSDP) provides intensive training in research relevant to specialty areas of pediatrics. The goal is to prepare entry-level faculty for research careers in academic pediatrics. Physicians presently in pediatric training programs who wish to train in basic, translational, clinical, or health services research with an established investigator/mentor are encouraged to apply. A commitment to an investigative academic career is essential.

Candidates completing the PSDP are eligible for sub-specialty boards because PSDP training typically takes place after the completion of the clinical fellowship year(s). Support includes salary, fringe benefits, and research training expenses. The active involvement and support of Pediatric Department Chairs in the nomination/application process, and career development of PSDP scholars, are essential to the program’s success.

Other Valuable Resources

Gopen Writing Seminars (held annually in October/November), presented by the Office for Faculty Development: “Writing from the Reader's Perspective,” a full day seminar based on the concept that in order to improve writing, it is first necessary to understand the process of reading. The ideas presented in this workshop have changed participants' writing habits permanently, often resulting in improved grant-writing and publication success. Registration is first-come, first-served with priority given to faculty participants.

Write Winning Grant Proposals (held annually in July), presented by the Office for Faculty Development: This full-day, widely acclaimed seminar comprehensively addresses both practical and conceptual aspects that are important to the proposal-writing process. Strategies designed to merit a fundable priority score are emphasized. Registration is first-come, first-served with priority given to faculty participants.

Preparing your first K or R: An Overview

Focusing on the Significance and Innovation Section

Writing Resource Videos from Associate Dean, Research Development, Dr. Joanna Downer

1:1 Consultations for Investigators Whose Primary Language is Not English

Beyond NIH Funding: Note that many foundations and professional societies offer funding that particularly supports early career investigators as they establish their preliminary data for future success in seeking larger NIH proposals. For valuable insights and input, we recommend contacting a faculty member who has served on a foundation or professional society committee or who has been successfully funded by the organization to which you are applying.

Grant Writing Workshop- Directed by Dr. David Harpole

This course is a guide in creating a research plan with and approved by a preceptor prior to the formal preparation of an application for an NIH F32 National Research Service Award or an NIH K38 “Stimulating Access to Research in Residency Transition Support" award. Participants will meet monthly starting in June and continue through March. Participants have been successful in obtaining these grants after completing the workshop. Participation offers, connections and ideas from your peers, as well as guidance from various leaders in the research community. For more informatin on this workshop, please email Jennie Phillips.

The Duke Faculty and Staff RCR Program strengthens our foundation in research integrity and ethics and requires all faculty and staff engaged in research to participate in ongoing Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training.

The RCR training requirement for faculty and staff is to complete one online, self-directed course (RCR 100) every three years and one collaborative, face-to-face program (RCR 200) every three years.

The myRESEARCHhome portal, funded by Duke's CTSA, puts relevant applications, resources, and information specific to you and your projects at your fingertips. Your portal's content is personalized based on your researcher profile, showing you content you want and need to see, saving you time and effort.