Medical Research

CSDA Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to FAQ's about: Full Proposal Application;  Mentorship & Institutional Support; Budget and Allowable CostsOther Funding; Data Sharingand Miscellaneous Issues (including DDCF definition of clinical research, IRB requirements, public access policy, preliminary animal research and success rates).

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQ’s, email with “2020 CSDA” as the subject line. No phone calls please, we are better able to address your questions if contacted via email. Calling might delay a response as calls often do not reach the appropriate contact at the foundation.

Full Proposal Application Questions

How do I return to my proposal once I have started it?

You may use this link to access a proposal that is in progress. Bookmark this page to facilitate future access. The landing “Applications” page displays a drop down menu on the far right, select “In Progress Applications”. Your application will be listed on the screen.

Mentorship and Institutional Support

Is there a template for letters of support?

No, for the second stage of the competition both the chair and the mentor must provide signed letters on institutional letterhead. Guidelines for the content of these letters are specified in the Stage 2 Application Instructions document. Please provide those guidelines to the recommender and append the letters to the proposal as indicated in the instructions.

My mentor is the chair of my department. Do I need to find another person to write my mentor letter of support?

No. Your chair may provide a letter that addresses both roles, as mentor and as chair confirming institutional support. Please check the letter guidelines in the Stage 2 Application Instructions document to ensure that all the requested information is addressed. The single letter must not exceed the combined page limit length for the mentorship and institutional support letters. 

I would like to change my mentor or mentorship team. Is that allowed ?

No, changes to the mentor or mentorship team are not possible at this stage of the competition. The peer-review of pre-proposal applications evaluates the ability of the designated mentor to enable career development of the applicant.

The foundation will evaluate a request if there is a compelling reason for a change. Please get in touch by email (

I have a mentorship team, can each of them provide a letter of support?

No, for applicants with mentorship teams, the joint or combined letters must not exceed the total 2-page limit.

Budget and Allowable Costs

Is there a budget guideline reference document available to prepare the budget?

Guidelines for preparing a budget, as well as a budget template, are part of the Stage 2 Application Instructions emailed to applicants on January 17, 2020. If you are preparing a budget on behalf of an applicant and do not have access to the instructions, please get in touch with us ( and include the name of the applicant for whom the budget is being prepared.

Does the award provide coverage of indirect costs?

Indirect costs for the duration of the award can be up to $15,000 (10 percent of direct costs) per year for three years for a total of $45,000.

Is there a salary cap for this award?

No. The foundation does not have a salary cap for what can be charged against this award. However, if the CSDA proposal requests salary support for the CSDA grantee, the percent effort committed to the CSDA project must be equal to or greater than the percent salary charged.

Can I request salary support for my mentor in the budget?

Yes. Up to 5 percent of the mentor's effort can be included in the budget for applicants with a single mentor.

I have a mentorship team, can I request up to 5% salary support for each of them?

No, salary support for up to 5% of each mentor’s salary is not allowed for applicants with mentorship teams.

I have a mentorship team, can I request any salary support for them?

Yes, you may request salary support for the mentorship team. However, the amount equivalent to 5% of a single mentor’s salary must be split between the mentorship team members for which salary support is being sought.

Can I request support for a graduate student or mentee in my budget?

Yes, you may allocate funds to support graduate students or mentees as long as these individuals would be working on the proposed project. If trainees are post-doctoral fellows, salary must be greater than or equal to the NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA) Fellowship stipend, determined by the number of full years of relevant postdoctoral experience when the award is issued. Relevant experience may include research experience (including industrial), teaching assistantship, internship, residency, clinical duties, or other time spent in a health-related field beyond that of the qualifying doctoral degree.

Does the CSDA allow budgeting for equipment?

Yes, allocations for equipment, defined as non-expendable, tangible property that has a useful life of more than one year and are needed to perform the proposed research, are allowed. However, equipment allocations are only allowed in the first year of the grant and must not exceed $50,000.

Other Funding

I have a National Institutes of Health K series award, which requires 75 percent research effort. Can I still apply for the CSDA?

An awardee must devote 75 percent of his/her professional time to research, but there is no minimum effort requirement for the CSDA project itself. Holding a K award or other career development awards does not preclude the applicant from receiving a CSDA grant.

I have been successful in obtaining other research funding. Will this hurt my chances in getting an award?

Reviewers are instructed not to penalize applicants for having other sources of funding. If concurrent sources of funding exist, there must be no budgetary overlap between the proposed aims of the CSDA research and those of other awards.

I am the principal investigator or co-equal principal investigator of a single or multi-PI National Institutes of Health R01. Can I apply for this award?

No. An award will not be made if the applicant has been or becomes the principal investigator on a single or multiple-PI National Institutes of Health, peer-reviewed, R01 or equivalent research grant on or before July 1, 2020. This includes but is not limited to: research projects that are part of a P01 program project, P50 center grant or a U01 cooperative agreement, DP1, DP2 R37, and VA Merit grants.

I became the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health R01 grant or equivalent that I inherited from another investigator since the start of the competition. Will this affect my eligibility for the CSDA?

Yes, having inherited an R01 grant or equivalent as principal investigator will make you ineligible for the CSDA.

I have a National Institutes of Health K series award or other research support. Can I propose the same scientific aims?

No. The aims proposed on your CSDA application must be distinct from those of other awards, with no budgetary overlap. To avoid conflicts in the event that your proposal receives a funding recommendation, we strongly suggest that you do not propose the same aims and budget in different grant applications.


What is DDCF's definition of clinical research?

Clinical research involves the scientific investigation of the etiology, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of human disease using human subjects, human populations or materials of human origin. Included in the definition are studies that utilize tissues or pathogens only if they can be linked to a patient. 

It is expected that the research protocols of grant applicants will require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Occasionally, the foundation has funded research that does not require IRB approval, such as research using de-identified patient populations. If a research project is being proposed that does not require IRB approval, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff to discuss whether the proposed research falls within the DDCF's definition of clinical research.

In keeping with the wishes expressed in Doris Duke’s will, experiments that use animals or any tissues derived from animals, including established cell lines, cannot be supported by this program.

Would the public access policy adopted by DDCF limit the journals to which I can submit my DDCF-funded work?

No. The policy only requires that you submit an electronic copy of your final peer‐reviewed manuscripts in the PubMed Central online archive immediately upon acceptance for journal publication. The manuscript will have to be made publicly available in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after the official date of journal publication.

When is Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or submission required to be in effect—at the time of the full proposal submission or before an award is forthcoming?

IRB approval can be pending at the time of full proposal submissions; however, if you receive a grant, we expect that you will have approval by the start date of July 1, 2020 or no later than October 1, 2020.

When is Investigational New Drug (IND) approval required to be in effect—at the time of the full proposal submission or before an award is made?

IND approval can be pending at the time of pre-proposal submission. However, it must be in place by the deadline for the full proposal, March 13, 2020. Full proposals for projects with IND requirements that do not have approval at the time of submission will be disqualified. 

My preliminary research has included research in non-human animal models. Can I include this in my proposal?

Yes. Preliminary research in non-human animal models may be included in your application. However, no DDCF funds may be used for experiments that utilize non-human animals or tissues derived from them. If you are planning non-human animal studies concurrent to your proposed CSDA research and mention these in your proposal, you must clearly state that these will be supported by other funds and include the source of these funds.

What is the success rate for CSDA applicants?

Based on previous competitions, we estimate that the success rate for 2020 will be approximately 10 percent.

How many awards will be made?

DDCF plans to award approximately 17 grants in 2020.

Data Sharing

Will I have to share my data if I am awarded a CSDA grant?

No, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Medical Research Program does not mandate data sharing at this time. Indicating a data sharing plan does not oblige applicants to share their data should an award be made.

My plan is not to share data that would be generated from the CSDA proposed project. Do I have to include a Data Sharing section in my research plan?

Yes, a data sharing section must be included in the research plan as instructed even if the data will not be shared.

A Data Sharing plan section was not required for past CSDA applications, why is it required now?

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Medical Research Program believes that sharing clinical research data has great potential to unlock and accelerate new discoveries for the advancement of human health. An additional grant funding opportunity for data sharing will be available to CSDA grantees wishing to share data from their projects.

Should the Data Sharing plan section include my plans to share resources expected to be derived from the project?

No, the Data Sharing plan must address the specific information outlined in the Stage 2 Application Instructions. Do not include information about how you plan to share other resources such as methods, tools or reagents.

Is compliance with NIH policies regarding data sharing an acceptable response to the Data Sharing plan section instead of addressing the questions outlined in the Stage 2 Application Instructions?

No, indicating that data sharing will be done as required by the NIH is not an acceptable response for the Data Sharing plan section. Please address the specific information outlined in the Stage 2 Application Instructions.