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October 16

Share Funding Opportunities

Fall 2020 Duke Incubation Fund


Duke Incubation Fund logo

The Duke Incubation Fund (the “Fund”) was formed to support idea-stage projects at Duke University with potential commercial prospects.

The Fund will make a number of awards each year to support novel ideas, applied research, potential products, nascent services and creative projects that if successful, will lead to new opportunities in the market. To receive funding, projects must demonstrate a potential path to subsequent financial support, new company formation, licensing, not-for-profit partnering or other channels to enable translation.

The Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, which administers the Fund, is interested in innovative projects that could lead to new products or services that will have a positive impact on society, including:

  • Demonstrating the feasibility of an idea or innovation for a commercial or social venture
  • Developing a working software or device prototype
  • Obtaining supporting evidence or proof-of-concept for new ideas
  • Developing new applications or markets for a technology under development
  • Creative projects that might lead to professionally produced content

Applications are welcome from all fields of inquiry. At least one member of any team must be from Duke.

Each award will consist of up to $20,000 (direct costs only). Preference will be given to applications with high potential for significant advancement. Funds may be spent within Duke or within a start-up company formed to commercialize the innovation.

Awards will be contingent on the innovator entering into Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) Agreement with the Fund. Any proceeds returned to the Fund under the SAFE will be used to finance future awards.


Key Dates

Award cycles occur twice per year (fall and spring). The Fall 2020 application deadline is 11:59pm on Friday, October 16, 2020.


Application Procedure

The Duke Incubation Fund Award uses the MyResearchProposal online application software to submit applications.

  • To apply visit http://bit.ly/myresearchproposal, 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 – Please review this document.
  • Enter Access Code “I&E,” then select the “Duke Incubation Fund Spring 2020” funding opportunity and follow the instructions.
  • For any questions concerning MyResearchProposal passwords or system issues, please contact Anita Grissom or Kara McKelvey at myresearchproposal@duke.edu.

Applicants will enter general project information via the web-based form:

  • Project Title, Brief Description, and Amount Requested
  • Primary Contact Name, Department/Company, phone, email
  • General Project Information: Applicants will be asked to answer general questions regarding the project (e.g. type of business, relationship to Duke, stage of development, ongoing sources of funding).
  • Intellectual Property (Character Limit: 500)
  • Compliance Plan (Character Limit: 500)

Some proposal sections will be uploaded as individual PDF files. The application sections are:

  • Intellectual Property: Summarize intellectual property, including any know-how, invention disclosure numbers, patent filings, copyrighted material, etc. If appropriate, you will be asked to provide contact information from OLV.
  • Budget: Upload a one-year spending plan using the I&E Budget Form.
  • Team Experience: Include a resume or NIH Biosketches for each key member of the research team (as a single PDF). Each individual resume may not exceed 4 pages.
  • Project Description: The Project Description should include: Idea, Background, Justification, Problem-Being-Solved, Preliminary/Supporting Data, Methods, Quarterly Milestones to be achieved during the year, and a plan for follow-on funding (5-Page limit, including tables and figures; and shorter applications are welcome). References do not count toward the 5-page limit; single spacing, font no smaller than Arial 11 and margins greater than 0.5”. The follow-on funding plan may include grant applications, internal funding, equity raises, licensing, selling product or strategic partnerships.