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Funding Areas

Medical Research

Doris Duke was a significant supporter of medical research, making contributions to hospitals and research centers throughout her life. In her will, which guides our focus areas, she expressed her interest in advancing “medical research designed to effectuate cures of major diseases.”

The Doris Duke Foundation strives to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases by strengthening and supporting clinical research.

Three people in a lab wearing medical coats, one of them looks through a microscope

Why It's Important

Clinical research has the potential to enhance human health and reduce the burdens of illness for many. Clinical research spans everything from the study of diseases at the molecular level in order to identify cures and vaccines to insights about how to improve the delivery of medical therapies, clinical care and population-level health. While the full spectrum of clinical research plays a critical role in ensuring a healthy society, the vast majority of public and private funding for biomedicine tends to emphasize fundamental research on the mechanisms of disease. For this reason, the Doris Duke Foundation focuses on supporting a wide variety of pathways to medical innovation—especially those that receive relatively less attention. We believe scientific excellence through diverse forms of clinical research can help deliver valuable, transformative and measurable health benefits to all.

What We Support

Through its Medical Research Program, the foundation supports timely initiatives that accelerate the translation of biomedical discoveries, technology and medical insight into clinical applications that equitably improve human health. In particular, we focus on incentivizing early-career creativity in clinical research as well as efforts aimed at building a more equitable medical research enterprise.

Grantmaking Process

The Doris Duke Foundation makes timely strategic investments in support of ideas that advance our mission. We invest in both research and efforts aimed at influencing the culture, practice and policy of clinical research. When appropriate, the foundation issues a limited or open request for applications (RFA). Applications received in response to an RFA typically undergo rigorous internal review as well as external peer review by independent experts. While these grants often fund work conducted by individuals, the direct grant recipient is the associated institution.

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