Translating Duke Health Pilot Project Grants in Immunology

Deadline: Proposals must be received by 5 PM EST, February 17, 2020

Duke Health is pleased to announce a call for proposals for innovative approaches combining computational techniques and immunology research.

Translating Duke Health (TDH) is one of the signature programs animating Advancing Health Together, our Duke Health Strategic Planning Framework.  TDH is a multiyear, multidisciplinary program to capitalize on our collective strengths in research, clinical care and population health to address major health challenges.  The Immunology and Transplant Initiative has a focus on cross-cutting paradigms in transplantation tolerance, tumor, autoimmunity, and protective immunity, with an overall goal to invest in transformative areas of research and technology where Duke Health can have the greatest impact on human health.  Additional information about the initiative is available at

To be responsive to this RFP, projects should combine an aspect of human immunology with computational biology. An interdisciplinary team approach integrating immunological and quantitative researchers is presumed, and new collaborations are encouraged. Examples of research sought by this RFP include, but are not limited to:

  • Development of methods for the integration of multi-modal data (e.g. combining immunofluorescent imaging with single cell transcriptomic or genomic data)
  • Development of statistical methods and software for new or critical immunology assay platforms
  • Development of mathematical models and computer simulations to understand complex immune phenomena
  • Development of bioinformatics tools and pipelines for managing, processing, analysis or visualization of complex immunological data sets
  • Development of machine learning methods to analyze massive and/or complex immunological data sets
  • Development of population genetics models to analyze immune response genes, haplotypes and pathways

Applicants are also encouraged to take advantage of available biobank samples and Duke Core Facilities.  The steering committee is looking for projects that build new collaborations and/or new teams and might lead to extended productive (and NIH-funded) collaborations. 

We plan to make up to three one-year awards of up to $100,000 in total costs.  G&A will be applied. 

Awards will be evaluated based on the below criteria:

  • Overall scientific impact
  • Innovation
  • Potential for developing new collaborations and funding for translational human immunology
  • Interdisciplinary science
  • Clear articulation of the way in which the proposed research differs from other funded projects of the Principal Investigator
  • Clarity about the relationship to the goals of the Initiative, namely “Duke Human Immune Health”

Please include the following in your proposal:

  • Cover letter with title and contact information
  • Abstract of 150 words or less describing the project
  • Research plan following the NIH format, addressing the selection criteria listed above (4 pages or less, including Specific Aims, Significance, Innovation and Approach, inclusive of figures but not including citations). Use 11-point Arial font.
  • Biographical sketches for participating faculty, including current and pending sources of support. Please use the new “NIH Biosketch Form” as outlined in
  • Budget and Budget Justification.  Include a statement regarding other available funding for the proposed project and the relationship of the proposed project to other funded projects.  No subcontracts or travel costs will be allowed.
  • Cover letter, biosketches, budget and budget justification are not included in total page count.  Specific aims page is included as part of total page count. 
  • IACUC/IRB approval or exemption.

Translating Duke Health prefers not to pay faculty salaries and encourages departmental faculty support but recognizes in some cases effort support might be required.  If you are requesting faculty salary, please (1) ask for a reasonable percent effort, and (2) justify the request in relation to departmental expectations and actual effort on the project.

Eligibility:  All Duke Health faculty are eligible to apply.  University faculty are eligible to apply but should have a collaboration with the School of Medicine or School of Nursing included as part of the proposal.  Duke staff members including residents and medical fellows, pre-doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows, are also eligible to apply, but will need a letter of sponsorship from a Duke School of Medicine or School of Nursing faculty member.  This letter should include endorsement for the proposal, indication of space and other resources allotted to the proposal, and clear articulation of how successful completion of this project will contribute to the long term goals of the Human Immune Initiative at Duke. 

Deadline: Proposals must be received by 5 PM EST, February 17, 2020

Selection Process for New Awards – Proposals will be peer-reviewed, and awards announced before the end of the fiscal year.  Applicants will be notified of funding decisions but will not otherwise receive feedback from the evaluation process.  Awardees will be required to submit year-end progress reports and will be expected to present their accomplishments at various meetings as the term of the grant proceeds.

Questions and completed applications should be submitted as pdf files to: