Funding Opportunity: Student Biodesign Funding RFA


The purpose of this funding announcement is to support biodesign endeavors by Duke students in the Pratt School of Engineering. MEDx will provide funding for teams of trainees to design and prototype a clinically useful device or application, or a device or application that is useful for biomedical research undertaken in the School of Medicine. The teams should be composed primarily of undergraduate or graduate students from any Pratt department, but some team members may be from other Duke schools. Interdisciplinary teams are highly encouraged. Teams may be part of an ongoing design class in Pratt, or may form outside of formal classes.

With guidance from at least one faculty mentor from the School of Engineering and one mentor from the School of Medicine, each team will identify a clinical or biomedical research problem and develop a prototype for a solution. The solution may be, for example, a device or a software application. Teams that are already working on a project may apply. Identifying supplementary sources of funding or in-kind support is permitted and encouraged (e.g. use of equipment provided by other sources).

Number of awards: This is dependent upon the amounts requested, but at least 5 projects will be supported by MEDx.


Duke students at any level of training (undergrad, Masters or PhD candidates). The majority of the team should be from Pratt, but a there may be representatives from other Schools at Duke.

Teams must develop a prototype of a device or application during the term of the award. Teams must be primarily composed of graduate or undergraduate students from Pratt. Teams must have at least one faculty advisor from Pratt AND one faculty (or clinical fellow or post-doctoral fellow) advisor from the School of Medicine.


Each award will be $2,500, but groups may request funding up to $5,000 total. If funds above $2,500 are requested, the group must submit a budget and justification for the increased expense.

The proposed work must be achievable in one year. Examples of allowable expenses are licenses for software required to undertake the described work and supplies for building prototypes, including contracted work. Examples of expenses that these grant cannot cover are tuition, funding for effort for students or mentors, travel, office supplies, computers.

Proposal format

MEDx uses MyResearchProposal online application software to submit applications. You will be asked to upload the following documents: (Note that the format should be Times New Roman, 12 point font and 0.75” margins and the file format may be MS Word or PDF.)  

1. Abstract/summary file (1 page limit) that includes

  • Project title
  • Brief summary or abstract
  • List of team members names, departmental affiliation, major field(s) of study, and level of training (e.g. undergrad, Masters or PhD student)
  • Amount of requested funding.

2.  The proposal document (3 page limit) that is composed of:

  • Brief background/introduction
  • Description of the clinical problem
  • Description of the solution
  • Project plan that fits within 1 year or less.

3.   If the team is requesting >$2,500, a brief budget and justification is required (no more than 1 page).

Note that each team will be asked to present their proposal during a brief (10 minute) presentation or pitch.

Proposal evaluation

The written proposals will be evaluated on the following points:

  • Approach – Methods and analyses used are well-reasoned and appropriate to the problem.
  • Feasibility – Project scope of work is appropriate for the timeframe and level of funding.
  • Presentation – The clinical problem, solution and project plan are described succinctly but with sufficient detail and clarity to allow the reader to follow without too much effort.


Submission deadline: Monday, February 26 by 11:59 PM.

Oral presentation/pitch: Target is the week of March 5, as schedules allow

Funding decisions: Soon after the pitch