Multi-Disciplinary and Multi-Institutional Proposals

OCRD provides services to help with more complex, multi-disciplinary and in many cases, multi-institutional proposals from federal funding agencies. OCRD’s standard process to help faculty with these proposals is the following:

For opportunities that are expected to be offered either annually or periodically (e.g., every 2-3 years):

Notifying about Funding Opportunities

  • OCRD anticipates when the Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) will come out and notifies the faculty to help them start developing their teams and any preliminary preparation. OCRD can meet with teams during this preliminary process, if interested. The Office of Research has Planning Grants to support faculty during this preliminary process.
  • When the FOA comes, OCRD will send out the FOA to departmental units and any PI/team members who have reached out expressing interest to apply. If the programs are limited submissions, that will be emphasized in the email sent out, including the number of nominees per institution and both Duke internal and federal agency deadlines.

Proposal Development Services

Customized Toolkits 

OCRD will develop a toolkit for each FOA customized to the expectations of the center or complex award program. For each proposal stage,these toolkits will include guidance documents on how best to organize the main sections of the proposal, whether it be for a preliminary or a full proposal. There are many examples from different federal agencies, including in NSF (e.g., Engineering Research Center [ERC], NIH (e.g., P or U proposals), DOE (Energy Frontier Research Center [EFRC]), and others.

Current complex programs with toolkits are available upon request (email For ones that are limited submissions, the nominees for these programs will receive the toolkits.

Services for Complex Proposals

OCRD’s Proposal Development Resources all apply and can be customized to help the team develop a high quality proposal. Services include (but are not limited to):

  • Developing checklists
  • Helping to set up team meetings or meetings with Duke leadership
  • Coordinating with the PI’s grants manager to collect all ancillary documents
  • Editing proposal sections
  • Writing drafts of some of the less technical or ancillary documents or sections
  • Convening red or pink team reviews 

Other Services

Preparing for Site Visits or Reverse-Site Visits 

In some situations, when a proposal passes a more final stage of review or before determination of funding, or even soon after funding is awarded, sponsors may require either an On-Site Site Visit that would happen at Duke and/or a Reverse-Site Visit that would happen at the sponsoring agency.

In either case, the research team would need to further present their research; and in the case of on-site visits, the university would need to demonstrate their ability to host and support the proposed complex project or center. OCRD, along with the Office of Reseach and ORS, can assist the team with coordination of non-technical aspects of the visit as well as supporting the team as they develop their technical presentations.

Outreach and Engagement Resources 

If awarded a center grant or equivalent, some sponsoring agencies expect the awarded team to develop a website of the funded center or other publicly-accessible resources. Depending upon the level of complexity of the request, OCRD can help with developing website content or other outreach/engagement resources.