Working Groups in Evolutionary Medicine

We are looking to support innovative approaches to outstanding questions in evolutionary medicine, broadly interpreted to involve research that uses evolutionary and ecological perspectives to understand and treat disease in humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife.  Examples include, but are not limited to:  evolution of infectious or zoonotic disease; psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease; antimicrobial resistance; evolutionary issues in global health; evolution of aging; autoimmune disease and allergy; origins and ecological drivers of disease emergence; evolution and cancer; comparative medicine; and the genetic basis of disease. 

Working groups involve participants collaborating intensively on synthesis papers, analyzing existing data, or working intensively toward new grant submissions.  We expect that most working groups will foster new collaborations, and most will involve the analysis or synthesis of existing data, theoretical models, or both.  Participants should include a mix of senior and emerging researchers, including graduate students and postdocs.  The PIs and majority of the participants should befrom Duke, any UNC-System university (such as NC State or NC Central), or the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, with plans to meet at least monthly over the course of the year.  Funding provides travel support for additional members to participate, and for expenses during meetings.  Working Group applications will be evaluated on the extent to which they:

  • address an important and outstanding evolutionary medicine,
  • are “risky” endeavors but with a reasonable chance of success,
  • involve a mixture of senior and emerging scientists, including graduate students and postdocs,
  • reflect TRICEM’s scientific mission to advance research that addresses fundamental questions in evolutionary medicine by integrating methods, concepts, and data within and across disciplines,
  • are not be readily supported by other funding mechanisms or opportunities,
  • provide evidence that sufficient data are available to tackle the question,
  • provide evidence that appropriate analytical tools are available or will be developed during the project,
  • incorporate diverse group of scientists that go beyond existing collaborations and include multiple disciplines
  • generate products that typically fall into (but are not restricted to) four broad categories:
    • Synthetic papers and reviews,
    • Grant-writing,
    • Databases allowing others to build on your foundation,
    • Software or mathematical tools that solve a major analytical problem.

Before You Apply

All applicants are encouraged to contact Melissa Manus (, Assistant Director of TRICEM, for feedback on project ideas.  Proposals will be evaluated in terms of both the scientific value of the project and the qualifications of the applicant. Note that TriCEM funds do not cover indirect costs or Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs.

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals for working groups are short, not to exceed 3 single-spaced (12-pt type) pages.  Please also include a current CV for all PIs.

Proposals should be organized as follows:

  1. Program Track (please see our key research areas)
  2. Title (80 characters max)
  3. Short Title (25 characters max)
  4. Name and contact information for Project Leader, and any Co-Leaders
  5. Project Summary (250 words max)
  6. Public Summary (250 words max) – written for the public and visible on the TRICEM web site
  7. Introduction and Goals – A statement of the outstanding question in evolutionary science being addressed and a concise review of the concept and the literature to place the project in context.
  8. Proposed Activities – This should include a clear statement of specific data (include citations or urls) and analytical tools that will be required for the project.  
  9. Participating Fields and List of Proposed Participants-TRICEM encourages groups that go beyond existing collaborations and that include multiple disciplines, emerging scientists including graduate students.  Named individuals should be committed to participating in the project if funded. Not all participants need to be specified in advance; if unspecified, the type of expertise needed should be indicated. For each participant please include explicit information about career stage, discipline, institution, and institutional location. 
  10. Rationale for TRICEM support – Why can this activity be most effectively conducted through TRICEM? Demonstrate that this group of scientists has not met previously.
  11. Proposed Timetable – include Start Date month and year, frequency of meetings, and length of each meeting
  12. Outcomes – Proposals should include a clear statement about the expected outcomes of the working group

Proposal Submission

Proposals will be accepted in digital format only as a single pdf file, including CVs. Graphics should be embedded directly into the proposal document. Email proposals to Melissa Manus (, Assistant Director.