Institutionally-Limited Opportunities and Nomination Process

Limited Submission funding opportunities differ from other funding opportunities in that Duke University (including the School of Medicine) is invited to submit a limited number of proposals in response to a specific program. These funding opportunities are sponsored by federal agencies (e.g., NIH, NSF), foundations, and some are even corporation-sponsored. The Duke nomination process to select proposals for limited submission are jointly coordinated by the Office of Research Support (ORS) and the Office of Campus Research Development (OCRD). For limited submissions that are foundation-sponsored, we work closely with the Office of Foundation Relations (OFR) and Duke Giving to support their efforts in selecting nominees to put forward on behalf of Duke. The institutionally limited nominations process is unified across the entirety of the Duke University system, comprising the School of Medicine, Trinity College of Arts and Science, Pratt School of Engineering, Nicholas School of the Environment, and Sanford School of Public Policy along with all initiatives, institutes, and other entities affiliated with Duke University. 

ORS provides a full list of all current limited submission funding opportunities through its Research Funding Database. Each opportunity listed includes the funding agency sponsoring the opportunity, who is eligible (e.g., faculty versus graduate student), the award amount, agency’s deadline, and the Duke internal deadline by which Duke applicants must submit their interest in being nominated for this opportunity. The opportunity is hyperlinked to a page that describes the opportunity in more detail, including the materials required for the internal application and the link through which these internal applications are submitted. 

Internal application materials and nomination process can vary between limited submission opportunities. An internal application to a faculty-level opportunity will typically require:

  • Nomination letter from Departmental Chair 
  • Biosketch or equivalent of PI/PD
  • Project Abstract of Research Statement (structure varies by agency but usually no more than 2 pages)

If the opportunity’s requested nomination materials indicates a brief research proposal, then we would replace our internal application’s Project Abstract or Research Statement with the exact request from the opportunity to minimize any extra work on the applicant's part. 

The following will be the standard nomination process that OCRD will use to market and select nominees for federally-funded limited submission opportunities:

In this scenario, the opportunity will be posted 30 days before the internal deadline and 3+ months from the agency deadline to give the nominees plenty of time to prepare their proposals. There are some federal opportunities (e.g., through USAID), however, where this time frame cannot be followed. These opportunities will be treated as first come, first served from the beginning.

We encourage everyone interested in limited submissions to apply formally by the internal deadlines because the first come, first served route certainly will not work for some of the more competitive and possibly higher dollar opportunities.

Before you submit, confirm what materials are required for the internal application by clicking on the hyperlinked opportunity in the Research Funding Database. The requested documents should be compiled into one PDF file to be uploaded.

The PDF file will then be submitted through your My Research Proposal portal. Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here. If you already have an account with My Research Proposal, follow the link to the application form from the Duke internal application page for this funding opportunity. 

Materials should be submitted by 11:59 PM on the day that they are due. Please note that, after 5:00 PM, there is no one in the OCRD or ORS offices who can help you if you have trouble uploading your document. If we receive more applications than nominee slots for a particular opportunity, applications that were submitted late will not be included in the applicant pool.

For foundation-sponsored limited submission opportunities, the Office of Foundations Relations (OFR) and Duke Giving will be your primary contacts to determine how internal reviews will be conducted. These opportunities are highly competitive, particularly the faculty-level, early-career opportunities, and OFR’s and Duke Giving’s internal review processes will be more involved and may have multiple stages of review. 

For federally-sponsored limited submission opportunities, once the internal deadline has passed, there are three scenarios that could happen (see schematic in Internal Application Contents and Nomination Process). An internal review will only occur in the top scenario where the number of applications are greater than the number of nominee slots. The Office of Research will review the pool of applicants and either 1) select the nominees from this pool or 2) commission the OCRD to convene a review panel to select the nominees. Which review mechanism applied will be at the discretion of the Office of Research, but the likelihood of a review panel could happen for the more competitive, well-recognized, and higher dollar opportunities.  We expect the time frame of the internal review process to take between 1-3 weeks after the internal deadline. When reviews are complete, applicants will be immediately notified of the results of their submissions—both selected nominees and those not selected.

OCRD will start an SPS record for the nominee(s) and will send these record numbers to the nominee(s) and their departmental single point-of-contacts (SPOCs). The nominee(s) will work with their respective representative from either ORA or ORS as well as their departmental grants managers to complete the application process.

If you are a nominee for a federally-sponsored opportunity on the campus side, OCRD can provide a range of services to help with your proposal development needs. If you have been selected as a nominee, OCRD will reach out to you.

For foundation-sponsored opportunities, nominees on the campus side should contact their program area contact at the OFR. School of Medicine nominees should contact Duke Giving.

If you have any questions about the limited submission process in general or if you are interested in a federally-sponsored limited submission opportunity, but the internal deadline has recently passed, please contact Paul Noe.

For specific questions about foundation-sponsored limited submission opportunitiesDuke campus-side affiliates should contact Steve Murray at the OFR and Duke School of Medicine affiliates should contact Anita Shirley with Duke Giving.