Cardiovascular Disease Pilot Research Grant

Application deadline: September 21, 2020

Duke Health is excited to announce a request for pilot projects proposals for high risk/high impact research in the area of the heart and disease and COVID-19.  This RFP is designed to support truly innovative approaches related to the Translating Duke Health’s focus on “Cardiovascular Robustness, Resilience, and Rejuvenation”.

I. Purpose 

The intent of this RFP is to support one to four innovative pilot projects for high risk/high impact research in the area of heart disease and COVID-19. We are especially interested in: (1) proposals that span multiple dimensions from basic to clinical to populations, (2) proposals that build new collaborations and/or new teams, and (3) proposals that might lead to extended productive and NIH-funded collaborations. One of the awards will be in concert with the Design Health program – a program in which learners work with engineering to solve clinical problems. 

The funding amount is up to $100,000.  Some faculty effort may be included (not to exceed 20% of the budget). If you are requesting faculty salary, justify the request in relation to departmental expectations and actual effort on the project.

The proposed research should be appropriate to the budget and must be accomplished within one year.

II. Eligibility

  • Proposals must be submitted by Duke regular rank faculty and comply with the Duke University Policy on PI Status in the Duke Faculty Handbook.  Students and trainees are eligible to apply, but must have a letter of support from a Duke regular rank faculty member.  There must be at least one School of Medicine or School of Nursing faculty member on each proposal.

  • The review committee is particularly interested in proposals that bring together new teams of investigators, or existing collaborators proposing a new research topic.

  • More than one proposal may be submitted per faculty member acting as PI, but the faculty member is only eligible to receive one award as PI during a given funding cycle.

  • Teams whose proposal to a previous TDH Pilot Project RFA was not selected for funding may resubmit the proposal if it meets the requirements for this announcement. If applying for a resubmission, please include a cover letter with details about how the application has been improved.

III. Funding

Each award will consist of up to $100,000, which will be subject to General & Administrative (G&A) costs.  Prior to submitting your application, please contact John DeFore,, for information on how to appropriately plan your budget to incorporate G&A costs.

Successful applicants will initially receive 80% of the total funds to begin the project.  The remaining 20% of the total funds will be contingent a mid-year progress report.  Progress report details will be sent upon award notification.  Additionally, TDH regularly provides reports to leadership about progress, so you may be asked for updates on achievements following completion of the award period.


IV. Proposal Requirements

Please include the following in your proposal:

  1. Title page and contact information of co-PIs
  2. Scientific Abstract of 150 words or less describing the project
  3. Research Proposal (4-page limit, including tables and figures. Use 1-inch margins, single line spacing, and font no smaller than Arial 11. References do not count towards the page limit, but images do count.) The research proposal should address the following:
  4. Explanation of unmet need and/or scientific significance, and how the proposed research is responsive to the Purpose (see Section I) of this RFP
  5. Specific aims and objectives
  6. Research plan/Approach to achieve specific aims and objectives
  7. Future directions (please include likely sources for follow-on funding)
  8. Proposal timeline
  9. References (please note that references do not count towards the page limit and should be included at the end of the research proposal and assembled as a single PDF)
  10. Biographical sketches for all key personnel, including current and pending sources of support. Please use the new (2018) “NIH Biosketch Form” as outlined at
  11. Budget with Budget Justification using PHS 398 Form Pages 4 and 5 (Page 5 is for the Budget Justification section only and you may use more pages as needed. Combine all pages into a single PDF with no page limit). 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.  The anticipated start date is November 1.

Proposal timeline detailing the project milestones and deliverables
Human and/or Animal Subjects:  Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) approval is not required prior to submission but will be required prior to funding. Briefly describe any human and/or animal subject issues. (For example, if human subjects are involved, provide a description of their involvement and characteristics. Describe the sources of materials that will be obtained from human subjects as part of their study participation. Provide assurance that the project will be reviewed and approved by the Duke IRB and comply with HIPAA. If vertebrate animals are to be used, provide a description of the proposed use of the animals in the work. Projects involving animal subjects must be reviewed and approved by the Duke IACUC. There is no page limit to this section, but it should be as brief as possible.)

Awarded funds must be used to conduct the work proposed. TDH reserves the right to revoke funding in the event it is determined that funds are not being spent in accordance with the approved proposal without prior notification and approval, or if the PI receives duplicate funding for accomplishment of the same aims.

V. Selection Process and Review Criteria

  1. Application Submission:  The TDH Cardiovascular Disease Steering Committee will perform a detailed review of the applications.  Faculty from Design Health will also be part of the review process. The Review Committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing and scoring applications:
    • Overall impact
    • Significance
    • Innovation
    • Investigators & Collaboration
    • Approach
    • Clarity about the relationship to the goals of the Initiative, namely “Cardiovascular Robustness, Resilience, and Rejuvenation”
  2. Potential for future funding: The proposed pilot work should collect preliminary data or develop tools that will lead to a competitive proposal submitted to an external funding agency. It is helpful if the team can elaborate upon opportunities for future funding.

To apply, email your application in one combined PDF to  


Download RFP