Quantitative and Statistical Thinking in the Life Sciences

Funding Agency:
Burroughs Wellcome Fund

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund announces a one-time award program providing support for faculty time spent on developing improved approaches to training graduate students for a more quantitative and statistically-informed approach to thinking and a more model-driven approach to doing research in the biomedical and related life sciences.

Up to four grants of $150,000 will support faculty effort and relevant administrative support for up to two years of work on curricular development, and/or pulling together elements from multiple departments, and/or course and workshop development, as well as other efforts focused on building or substantially restructuring didactic elements of graduate training. BWC hopes to seed development of Ph.D.s who will be more quantitative, more formally prepared in experimental design, and more able to think with and from models and statistics.

An invited institution, including all of its hospitals, centers, and associated institutes may only participate in ONE application to this program.

  • Duke Internal Deadline: April 17, 2018
  • Sponsor Deadline: April 25, 2018

If the internal deadline has passed and you are interested in this opportunity, please email Anastasia Maddox at fundopps@duke.edu to find out if it is still open.

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The intention of this award is to free up a significant volume of faculty time so that a few institutions can focus more effectively on thinking about, then building, the kind of education described. In general, we expect the grant to support substantial effort from a small number of people. We do not anticipate funding proposals that would support small percent efforts from large numbers of people. Proposals may request modest support for an advisory committee, retreat, or other approach to getting faculty buy-in and feedback.

Biomedical science is a required core component of successful proposals, but proposals may additionally feature biology not focused on human health. Formal reasoning, quantitative analysis, and statistical thinking are also required core components. Proposals more focused on manipulating a quantitative toolset than on building a quantitative mindset will not succeed.



Funding Type





Environmental & Life Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* A draft of the application you will send in to BWF.

The application consists of five critical questions to be answered in a total of four pages:
1. What do you hope to achieve by developing a more quantitative graduate training experience?
2. How is the graduate education you hope to develop different from typical biomedical training?
3. What obstacles currently keep you from offering this type of education?
4. Why is this institution a particularly good place to invest this award?
5. What about the primary faculty involved makes them the right people in whom to invest this award?

* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN)  https://www.grantinterface.com/Common/LogOn.aspx?eqs=ApVvmgXCk2Uj7AzWyDE...

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: https://ors.duke.edu/sites/default/files/Applicant Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

April 17, 2018

External Deadline

April 25, 2018