Duke CTSI Swann Lee Awards for Prevention of Chronic Diseases using Diet and Nutrition

The Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) catalyzes science that improves health and achieves health equity—for individuals and communities—in our region and across the nation. We strive toward equity in science, medicine, and health. The institute is pleased to announce a new funding mechanism, supported by a gift from the estate of the late Swann Lee and bestowed to the Duke University School of Medicine. Funds for research are to be used “solely for nutritional and laboratory research focused solely on preventive care and health maintenance and not on the cure of a disease or medical condition.”

Program Description

The role of diet and nutrition as determinants of chronic diseases including coronary artery disease, hypertension, cancer, obesity, and diabetes is well documented. As such, diet and nutrition are integral in chronic disease prevention research and initiatives. This funding mechanism seeks to support translational projects, focused on diet and nutrition, that contribute to preventing diseases and promote health and wellness across the lifespan through equitable, data-driven approaches. Proposals must be innovative, transformative, with demonstrated community and stakeholder engagement and high translational potential.

Examples of research areas and projects responsive to this RFA might include, but are not limited to, the following (See the RFA for more details):

  • Research that employs community-based, participatory approaches for healthy nutrition interventions to improve health and wellness in high-risk populations, including low income individuals and rural populations.

  • Research at the intersection of health and health equity to develop dietary interventions that prevent or reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases among children and adults.

  • Mechanistic studies that examine the biological and behavioral mechanisms and pathways underpinning the influence of food insecurity on chronic diseases.

  • Role of the microbiome in regulating the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory responses in the digestive and immune systems.

An Information Session will be held on Zoom Thursday, June 20, 2024, 1-2 p.m. ET. Please follow the link below to register.


This funding mechanism provides two award levels:

  • Four awards up to $250,000 each (direct costs only) with an expected start date of July 1, 2025 and ending no later than December 31, 2026 (18-month funding cycle).

  • Two awards up to $500,000 each (direct costs only) with an expected start date of July 1, 2025 and ending no later than December 31, 2026 (18-month funding cycle).

Projects selected for funding will be assigned a support team for a run-in period of up to six months to deliver a proposed development path and detailed project timeline before funds are released.


  • Applicants must have Principal Investigator (PI) status per Duke’s written policy.

  • The designated PI must have a primary appointment with the School of Medicine. Duke investigators outside the School of Medicine are eligible to serve as co-investigators and collaborators. Collaborators outside of Duke University may not receive salary support.

  • Interdisciplinary research teams that include behavioral & basic scientists, nutrition researchers, clinicians, economists, policy, and /or systems scientists are strongly encouraged to apply.

  • Applicants may submit more than one application, but may not serve as PI on more than one concurrently funded award through this funding mechanism.

Key Dates and Deadlines

  • Information Session (held on Zoom): June 20, 2024, 1-2 p.m. ET.

  • Mandatory Letter of Intent (LOI): July 25, 2024, 11:59 p.m. ET

  • Mandatory LOI Consultations with Duke CTSI: June 20-August 19, 2024

  • Full Application Deadline: September 30, 2024, 11:59 p.m.

  • Oral Presentations: November 25-December 6, 2024

  • Anticipated Funding Decisions: December 13, 2024

  • Run-in Period: January 1-June 30, 2025

  • Funding Period: July 1, 2025-December 31, 2026

RFA and Application Instructions

LOIs and full applications will be submitted on the Duke MyResearchProposal (MRP) submission system.

Download the RFA and application instructions.

Additional Resources

Contact Information

For additional information on this funding opportunity, please contact Duke CTSI at CTSIfunding@duke.edu.