CTSI Population Health Improvement Awards Program

Fostering community-research partnerships

Level 1: Seed awards of $1,500

Level 2: Co-development awards of up to $25,000

Level 3: Advanced partnership awards of up to $25,000

Interested in applying? We hosted an informational webinar on January 25.
You can view the slides from the presentation or contact Eve Marion to request a recording of the webinar at emarion@duke.edu.

Program Description

Achieving significant transformation of community health outcomes requires an integrated approach that involves broad community and patient stakeholder engagement with the research enterprise to speed and optimize uptake of new innovations. Yet, community stakeholders, including public health, social services, community based organizations, caregivers, families, patient advocates, insurance companies, and payers have not been optimally involved in shaping research.  Lack of engagement impacts integrated, interdisciplinary collaboration, slows innovation, and may hamper development of creative opportunities for translation of scientific innovations to broader populations.

While many recognize that patient and community stakeholder engagement is necessary and optimal to stimulate the generation of innovative solutions to improve health and reduce health inequities, there are limited funding mechanisms for this important activity. Consequently, the Duke Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is launching the Population Health Improvement Collaboration Awards program to stimulate and foster community-research partnerships that advance solutions to improve local health and health care delivery. The awards also can be leveraged to provide the necessary funding to generate pilot data for future funding opportunities involving community-research collaborations.


The Duke CTSI Community Engagement Population Health Improvement Awards program aims to engage community and academic partners in collaborative research that promotes novel ideas to improve community and population health. Duke CTSI, home of the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award at Duke, will provide approximately $200,000 for direct costs to support pilot awards that can be used to either a) develop new community-research partnerships or b) foment already existing community and research partnerships that aim to develop and test effective solutions to improve community and population health. These partnerships and innovations can originate from community stakeholders or from Duke research partners but they must involve both community and research collaborators.  

The CTSI Population Health Improvement Awards program has a three-level funding opportunity designed to identify and promote the most promising community-research collaborations. These collaborations will work together to  develop solutions designed to address population health issues identified as priorities by the community and provide support for community-partnered studies to generate pilot  data needed to develop larger scale proposals, awards, and projects.

Key Dates for 2018

RFA publication date: Friday, December 15, 2017

Application Submission Deadline: February 22, 2018

*Rolling application deadline for $1,500 Seed Awards (Reviewed and awarded in February, June, September, December).

Level 1: Seed Awards: $1.5K

Provide small 1-year seed awards to community organizations and Duke investigators interested in developing partnerships for co-developing novel solutions that impact community and population health. Community organizations and Duke research partners interested in working with the CTSI’s Community Engagement Core will receive small planning awards of $1,500 and guidance on developing impactful community-research partnerships and planning collaborative population health improvement research proposals.

Download the 2018 Seed Award RFA


Level 2: Co-development Awards: $15k - $25k

Awards of up to $25,000 to stimulate new community-engaged partnerships that are initiated either by community organizations or Duke researchers. Applications must contain both community and Duke research collaborators. Funding will be provided to assist new community-research partnerships aiming to co-develop solutions designed to improve community and population health and address Durham County health priorities. Competitive applications aim to develop and pilot approaches to translate evidence-based discoveries into community settings or develop pilot data for a larger implementation program or award. 

Download the 2018 Co-Development Award RFA


Level 3: Advanced Partnership Awards: $10k - $25k

Awards of up to $25,000 to advance community-engaged research proposals with established community-research partnerships. Funding will be provided to assist with community organizations/groups and Duke researchers who have already developed innovations to health problems and are ready to advance testing these solutions through broader community-engaged implementation. Preference given to proposals which have an explicit plan for integration of evidence based practices into community settings with a plan for sustainability, and a plan to mobilize community assets and strengths to test feasibility of implementation strategies for population health improvement. 

Download the 2018 Advanced Partnership Award RFA


Applicants are encouraged to consult with the Community Engagement Core to facilitate connections to other CTSI cores that can assist with their projects (e.g. biostatistics, metrics and evaluation, project management, emerging technologies). Any projected assistance from these cores must be included in the budget. Technical Assistance is available to all awardees and includes a variety of engagement support services including capacity building, tools for sustainable and equitable partnerships, and ongoing feedback and input as needed.


Emphasis is placed on improving health and the ability to secure follow-up support. Priority will be given to proposals that address the following:

  • Health care priorities identified in the community through community level assessments such as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Town Halls on Health Outcomes that Matter, Partnership for a Healthy Durham, and the Durham County Community Health Assessment.  
  • Proposals that focus on an area of disparity including diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease/hypertension, mental health, cancer, and kidney disease.
  • Pilots that use previously gathered data in selection and tracking of outcomes
  • Programs that show promise and are committed to developing solutions that are sustainable.

Contact Information

General questions not answered in the RFA about the proposals and the review process should be addressed to eve.marion@duke.edu before submission. 

To learn more, attend our informational webinar on January 25.