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2019 Request for Applications (RFA)

Applications accepted on a rolling basis for the January to November 2019 cycle

The Breakthrough Research initiative to Develop Global Entrepreneurs (BRiDGE) is made possible by a philanthropic gift to the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering and additional funds from the Pratt School of Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME).

BRiDGE engages Duke faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students to support the launch of new companies (NewCos) with the goal of developing a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Initiative Details 

The BRiDGE provides:

  • Physical infrastructure—Total space of about 2,000 sq. ft. has been allocated in the Chesterfield building in downtown Durham.
  • Intellectual expertise—Training in creating business plans will be provided in partnership with Mattson Family Director, Entrepreneurship @ Duke Engineering Bill Walker.
  • Educational program—Hands-on learning via summer internship opportunities in the NewCos located in BRiDGE for Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (MEng) students in BME and the department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS).

This initiative aims to achieve the following goals:

  • Accelerate the development of Duke spin-out companies by positioning them for equity investment by venture capital and angel investors.
  • Accelerate technology development to enable strategic partnering with pharmaceutical, medical device, or diagnostics companies.
  • Increase the odds of successful commercialization by combining the scientific rigor of academic inventors with the expertise of seasoned product development mentors.
  • Provide a blueprint for commercialization of biomedical discoveries and technologies, and disseminate and export this model to other institutions.


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Selected NewCos will enter into an up to 11-month license agreement with an option to renew for up to a total of three years. The current cycle goes from January 1st to November 30th, 2019. 

  • Companies will need to commit to at least one table in the wet lab and 1 cubicle in the cubicle area.
  • Occupancy cost will be $121.25/lf per table and $248 per cubicle, to be paid on a monthly basis.
  • This fee includes access to:
  • Common lab spaces: cell culture room, equipment rooms, and fume hood room
  • Common BRiDGE lab equipment: refrigerators, freezers, incubators (with sentinel temperature monitoring system), centrifuges, biosafety cabinet, microscopes, centrifuges, nanodrop, PCR machine, gel doc imager, water bath, microplate reader, Microfluidizer, cary machine, microwave, oven, DI water supply, bacterial shakers, pH meter, fume hoods, etc.
  • BRiDGE offices: to be booked by the hour.
  • Building amenities: autoclave, glass washer, cold room, housekeeping, wifi, and ability to book conference rooms on the 4th floor.
  • A laboratory administrator. This person will be in charge of: central ordering; developing and maintaining standard operating procedures (SOPs), perform quality checks to ensure the safety of BRiDGE space; equipment maintenance; hazardous waste; mail sorting.

BRiDGE has created accounts with Stericycle and air gas and can directly bill the companies needing these services.

Company founders who are Duke staff will sponsor non-Duke staff as Duke Affiliates, so that they can get Duke card IDs and secure short-term parking in the parking lot at 704 W Pettigrew St.

Renewal will be subject to an evaluation at the end of each occupancy term.

Factors to be considered in renewal include:

  • Progress towards technological and commercial milestones

  • Follow-on funding

If a renewal request is rejected, companies will be notified about 3 months prior to the expiration date.


  • Applicants must be NewCo founders. Founders include holders of common stock issued prior to licensing (ie. founder’s stock) reflecting their contribution to the invention or any named contributor on an IDF licensed to the NewCo. Employees of a company who have been or will be granted stock compensation as part of their employment must meet the prior criterion in order to be considered founders.
  • Applicant must be the NewCo founder who satisfies one of the following requirements:
    • Duke faculty 
    • Duke post-doctoral fellow
    • Duke graduate or undergraduate student
  • Established NewCo
  • A license or option from Duke, or proof of ongoing negotiations
  • Proof of funding to cover occupancy costs (i.e. VC/angel investment, awarded grant or with fundable score)

Review Criteria

BRiDGE Steering Committee will review applications, and the progress made by Newco members of BRiDGE towards milestones, and will make decisions on renewal or, if necessary, termination of NewCos from BRiDGE.

The Steering Committee will consider the following criteria when reviewing and scoring applications:

  • Significance—Scale of the market need being addressed, and competitive advantage
  • Feasibility—Defined and achievable milestones, and availability of funds to pay occupancy costs (i.e. through SBIR/STTR grants, North Carolina Biotechnology Center grants or loans, and/or angel/VC funding).
  • Quality—Of the team and external validation through SBIR/STTR grants, and/or equity investments, and/or strategic partnerships
  • Translational Potential—Stage of development, IP status, license/option, plans for first in human trial

How to Submit an Application

Please submit your application via Duke’s MyResearchProposal online submission system.

  • To apply, visit click on “Create New User” (or log in if you already have an account. If you forgot your password, please contact Proposals must be submitted under the NewCo founder’s fullfilling the eligibility criteria.
  • A step-by-step user’s guide for applying via the MyResearchProposal software is available - Please review the tutorial at MyResearchProposal tutorial
  • Enter Access Code “bridge”, then select the “BRiDGE ALL cycle 2_2019” program and follow the instructions.

Applicants will enter the following information via the web-based form (about 10 pages plus attachments): 

  1. NewCo information: name, date incorporated, founders, leadership team, primary contact
  2. Applicant name, contact information, and affiliation (applicant should be the founder)
  3. Information for team moving physically to BRiDGE: name, email, employer, position, role in the company
  4. Financial manager: name, contact information
  5. Intellectual property status: IDFs, patents, license agreements or options
  6. Sources of funding: ongoing, and planned/pending
  7. Regulatory information: IRB, IND/IDE, IACUC
  8. The application consists of the following sections:
  9. Anticipated needs: Term of occupancy, bench, and cubicles.


Award recipients will be required to complete a brief progress report on the 8th month of each cycle. A template will be provided.

Selected NewCos will be encouraged to accept at least one MS or MEng student in BME or MEMS as summer interns for an 8-12 week duration.


General questions not answered in the RFA about the proposals and the review process should be addressed to before submission.

For My Research Proposal questions, please contact Anita Brantley: 919- 668-4774 or