Request for Proposals


Duke’s Office for Research & Innovation (OR&I) Explore grants are designed to foster scholarship that may not be well served by established funding mechanisms. In contrast to grants that target mostly larger-scale projects, OR&I Explore grants are designed to provide up to $15,000 of project funding in one of two categories.

First, OR&I Explore seed or planning grants will support the launch of new research projects, with the goal of providing a stronger platform for external funding applications. Second, OR&I Explore completion grants will bring ongoing scholarly or artistic projects to fruition by meeting needs that are not well-matched to common funding opportunities. Ideally, OR&I Explore grants in this second category will provide resources for enabling projects to move past specified barriers to completion. 

OR&I Explore grants are open to all regular-rank faculty at Duke, with a preference for supporting work in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences. Seed grants that involve interdisciplinary collaborations will be eligible for financial support provided by the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.


Designed for Duke Regular Rank faculty (including Tenure Track, Research Professor, and Professor of Practice appointments) in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences. Proposals will be evaluated with a preference for faculty who are five to ten years post-terminal degree.

Budget & Allowable Costs

Allowable items: Budgets may cover all necessary scholarly expenses including but not limited to: research-related travel; stipends for research assistants; materials, supplies, equipment and services including internal and external support services (e.g., art materials, production staff); workshops, meetings, and symposia (e.g., space costs, simultaneous translation); software and media including web design, web development and server space.

Exclusions: Please note that salary/stipend for faculty applicants (e.g., course release, summer salary) is not an allowable budget item. Materials and fees supporting publication (e.g., translation, transcription) are also not currently allowable budget items for the EXPLORE program.

Justification and Total: A brief but compelling justification of each budget item is an important component of the proposal. Total budget requests can be up to $15,000; partial awards may be offered depending on both project scope and overall funding. (No overhead is required.)

Proposal Requirements

  • Title of project, name of responsible faculty member and any collaborators
  • For all listed faculty members, please include appointment information (current department, school, faculty title), type and date of terminal degree, date and title of first Duke faculty appointment
  • 5 keywords (will be used to identify appropriate reviewers)
  • A project narrative, up to 2 pages in length, including the following:
    • Brief description of the project.
    • Explanation of the scholarly and/or artistic potential of the work.
    • Explanation of how the work fits within applying faculty members’ ongoing scholarly trajectory.
    • For interdisciplinary collaborations, further explanation regarding interdisciplinary components and the nature of team-based interactions.
    • Explanation of how the funding will contribute materially to the current and potential future scholarly output of the applying faculty member. 
      • For seed or planning grants, include a brief description of possible future funding.
      • For project completion grants, include a brief explanation of the current status of the project and why this project would be difficult to fund from other sources or finalize without funding.
    • A plan to make substantial progress toward project aims within the one-year term.
  • A current CV for any faculty named in the project.
  • A one-page budget and budget justification.

Formatting Requirements

  • Paper size no larger than 8 ½ x 11
  • At least one-half inch margins (1/2”) – top, bottom, left, and right for all pages
  • Font size is at least 11 pt in size and generally recommend Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, Helvetica, or Palatino Linotype
  • Please submit through MyResearchProposal; see contact information in Questions section for support.

Review Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by an internal committee, and will be judged on:

  • Responsiveness to the request for applications (ineligible applications will be returned unreviewed).
  • Scholarly or artistic potential for completed work.
  • Potential impact of the project on the faculty member’s (or faculty members’) discipline and/or the relevant interdisciplinary domain.
  • Potential impact of the project on the faculty member’s career trajectory.

Reporting Requirements

  • One-page summary at the end of the award period.
  • Annual queries to award recipient will be made to ascertain whether any external funding, papers, books, performances, etc. have resulted from this award.


RFP Released

May 15, 2024

RFP Submission Deadline

July 15, 2024

Anticipated Grant Notification

November 1, 2024 

Funds Made Available

November 15, 2024

Funds To Be Expended By

November 14, 2025


Submissions will close on July 15, 2024, at 11:59 PM.

Applicant Instructions

  • To apply visit, click on “Create New User” (or log in if you already have an account). Proposals must be submitted under the Principal Investigator’s name.
  • A step-by-step user’s guide for applying via the MyResearchProposal software is available here.
  • Access Code for the award is: ‘EXPLORE’ 
  • For any questions concerning MyResearchProposal passwords or system issues, please contact Ms. Anita Grissom: or 919-668-4774.
  • For all other questions, please contact
Application instructions