Collaborative Activity Awards

Funding Agency:
James S. McDonnell Foundation

The Foundation offers Collaborative Activity Awards to initiate interdisciplinary discussions on problems or issues, to help launch interdisciplinary research networks, or to fund communities of researchers/practitioners dedicated to developing new methods, tools, and applications of basic research to applied problems. In each case the focus of the collaborative activity must meet the program guidelines for one of the following program areas:

With the Collaborative Activity Awards, JSMF continues and formalizes a funding mechanism the Foundation has used since 1987. Over the past decade or so, the Foundation has from time to time provided grants to support study panels and research networks. This has proven to be an effective way to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking and research on fundamental questions. Furthermore, these activities have contributed to the development of programs both at the Foundation and at other funding agencies. Collaborative Activity Awards developed from questions or topics discussed at JSMF-sponsored meetings may be initiated by JSMF Advisory Panel members, particularly when the outcome of collaborative discussions assists with Foundation program planning.

NOTE: Collaborative awards will not be awarded in support of large, program-project style research proposals.

There are no deadlines for collaborative activity awards. Response time to letters of inquiry generally ranges from 2-3 weeks.

Before approaching the funder or submitting an application:

  • Prospective applicants from Duke University – contact Angela Crews in the Office of Foundation Relations, University Development at 919-681-0468 or
  • Prospective applicants from Duke Medicine – contact Anita Shirley in Foundation Relations and Corporate Giving, Duke Medicine Development and Alumni Affairs at 919-385-3117 or

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

JSMF Collaborative Activity Award applications are accepted via invitation only. The 21st Century Collaborative Activity Awards are awards for multidisciplinary and multi-participant projects that address questions and topics relevant to the Foundation's core and complementary program areas.

  • Strong preference will be given to applications involving multi-institutional collaboration.
  • There are no geographic restrictions on these awards and the Foundation encourages international applications.
  • The lead applicant must be sponsored by a non-profit institution as defined by Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Read More
  • The grantee institution must agree to administer the award and to waive all indirect and administrative costs.

Amount Description

The budgets for collaborative activities will vary greatly depending on the scope of the proposed problem or project and on the number of people involved. The Foundation recognizes that funding must be appropriate to an activity's specific scope and needs. It also recognizes that organizing and implementing such an activity can be exceedingly time consuming.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science