December 13, 2017

Energy Research Seed Fund expands in its fifth annual round

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Since 2014, the Duke University Energy Initiative's Energy Research Seed Fund has supported new interdisciplinary, collaborative research teams. This funding has helped Duke researchers obtain important preliminary results they have used to push the boundaries of knowledge, test concepts, and secure external funding.

The first three rounds of the Energy Research Seed Fund distributed $667,000 in internal funding to Duke researchers—and yielded more than five times that in external grants (as well as influential publications and other impacts). These results contributed to the growth of energy-related research at Duke: in FY17, the yearly budgets of all active external energy research grants at Duke totaled more than $15.2 million—more than 50 percent growth above the previous year and four times the total in FY11.

"The Energy Research Seed Fund is a terrific example of how Duke is leveraging its culture of interdisciplinarity to advance discoveries addressing some of the most critical challenges of our time," notes Energy Initiative director Brian Murray. 

Thanks to generous support from the Office of the ProvostTrinity College of Arts & Sciences, the Pratt School of Engineering, and the Information Initiative at Duke (iiD), the Energy Initiative is now expanding this popular and successful program. The Initiative invites proposals to any of the following three grant categories during 2018, the fifth annual funding round:

  • Seed Grants, which will provide up to $45,000 for new research conducted by teams led by Duke faculty members, at least two of which represent different disciplines, schools, or departments. The performance period for Seed Grants is 12 months.  
  • Stage-Two Grants, which will provide up to $35,000 to carry projects currently supported by Energy Initiative seed funding into their next research phase. Applications for Stage-Two grants should indicate successful completion of work conducted under the current grant and outline how additional funding will help make the team's research more compelling to external funders.
  • Proposal Development Grants, which will provide up to $25,000 for past seed fund recipients to develop proposals for external funding. Applicants for these grants should provide a one-page proposal indicating how the funds will be used (acceptable uses include travel to meet with potential sponsors, support for Ph.D. student assistants, etc.), and how those uses will improve the likelihood of external funding. 

This year's Seed Fund places special emphasis on research topics such as energy data analytics, including the integration of big data applications, machine learning techniques, or the broader intersection of energy and advanced computation; energy materials, energy access and inequality, grid reliability and modernization, energy decision-making and behavior, energy efficiency, advanced alternative fuels and renewables, and the nexus of food, energy, and water.

Research oriented toward solutions, rather than solely problem identification, is especially encouraged. Proposals will be reviewed based on the quality of proposed research and potential to leverage seed grants to secure external funding.

Proposals are due Friday, February 2, 2018, 11:59 p.m. 

Related links: 

Learn more about the Seed Fund and its impact. 
Find out how to apply.