Medical Research

CSDA Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-proposals are no longer being accepted for the 2019 CSDA grant competition. Please check back in the fall of 2019 for an update on how to apply for the 2020 competition.

Jump to FAQ's about: Budget and Allowable CostsData Sharing; Full Proposal Application; Mentorship & Institutional SupportMiscellaneous and Issues (including DDCF definition of clinical research, IRB requirements, public access policy, preliminary animal research and success rates); and Other Funding

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQs, email with “2019 CSDA” as the subject line. No phone calls please, as 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.

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 25, 2019. 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 percent salary support for each mentor?

No. Salary support for up to 5 percent 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 percent of a single mentor’s salary must be split between the mentors 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.

Does the CSDA allow budgeting for equipment?

Yes. Allocations are allowed 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. However, equipment allocations are only allowed in the first year of the grant and must not exceed $50,000.

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 to not 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.

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 where you can 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 roles both as mentor and as chair providing 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?

The original mentor(s) named in the first stage of the competition’s pre-proposal application may not be removed. The peer review of pre-proposal applications evaluates the ability of the mentor(s) who submitted the Mentorship Support form in the first stage of the competition to enable the research and career development of the applicant. For this reason, the original mentor(s) may not be changed. However, additional mentors may be indicated if needed.

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 mentor provide a letter of support?

Applicants with two mentors may include a one-page letter from each mentor or a single two-page letter written by both mentors. If more than two mentors exist, the mentorship team may write a joint letter no longer than two pages.


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. Studies that utilize tissues or pathogens are included in the definition 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 primary tissues derived from animals will not 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, 2019 or no later than October 1, 2019.

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 22, 2019. 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 primary 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 2019 will be approximately 10 percent.

How many awards will be made?

DDCF plans to award approximately 17 grants in 2019.

Other Funding

I have a National Institutes of Health K series award that 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, 2019. This includes but is not limited to: research projects that are part of a P01 program project, P50 center grant or 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.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQs, email

Please do not attempt to contact us by phone as you may not be able to reach the appropriate contact. We can most effectively address questions submitted via email.